By Tom D'Agostino
The Old Burying Yard in York is actually the second cemetery that was implemented by the town. The first one was near York Beach but that became quite full over a short period of time. The graves date back as far as 1700 but it has become the burying ground of chief significance because of its historical content and of course, its ghosts. One of which is Mary Nasson’s.
Mary Nasson was a noted and respected herbalist in the community. It was because of her knowledge in healing with plants that she became known as the “White Witch.” This moniker has followed her through the centuries. She was born in 1745 and grew up in the York village. It was there that she married Samuel Nasson and settled down to a life of helping others in the little hamlet. It is said that she also was a skilled exorcist who rid many houses of demons and inflictions in her time. Her time was rather short though as Mary died on August 18, 1774 at the age of twenty-nine.
According to records, Mary had no children. Her ghost now roams the area where she is buried. Not only has her spirit been encountered in the burial grounds but across the street as well. Many mothers have sworn they have seen their children being pushed on the swings in the playground near the cemetery by an unseen force. When asked, the children say it is a nice young lady named Mary who is playing with them. Any local will tell you there is nothing to fear in the spirit of Mary Nasson. Perhaps she has stayed behind to play with the children she always wanted.
Her headstone is of strange interest as well. Not only does her portrait adorn the top of the marker, there is a great granite slab between the headstone and footstone. Legend has it that the townsfolk put it there after she died to keep the “White Witch” from rising out
of her grave. If that was the true purpose it may not have worked as well as they had planned. Actual records show that all of the graves in the burial ground were covered with a large granite slab due to the fact that the cemetery was close to farmland and the wandering livestock tended to dig up the interred. Some time later, a wall was erected to keep the animals out and the great slabs were taken from the graves and used to line the top of the wall. It seems that only one slab was not taken to build the wall. That was Mary’s. It is easy to spot as it sits alone in the far corner of the small graveyard. Perhaps being far away from the other stones, the builders of the wall sought the closer ones first then were finished before they could remove hers. I tend to believe they may have left the stone there because her husband was moving to Sanford. Each family was in charge of the upkeep of their graves and being so far away, he would not have been able to care for the grave so the townsfolk left the stone there to keep the livestock from uprooting her remains. It is presently the only grave in New England of such nature. People who visit the stone say it is warm to the touch. Many have sworn they could feel the temperature rise as they put their hands upon her obelisk. When we touched the grave it was warm despite the cool shade of a large maple tree.
- Wednesday, 19 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Tales from Beyond