Outside Looking In

To believe or not to believe

<p>The Early Settler&#39;s Cemetery just south of Taunton has been considered &quot;haunted&quot; by a few locals, even to the point of ribbing me for not believing. Legend has it that the apparition of a 12-year-old girl who died 109 years ago has been seen in a rocking chair next to her grave in the small cemetery 1/4-mile south of the STS, Cyril &amp; Methodius Catholic Cemetery in Taunton. I recently received an anonymous call from what sounded like an elderly woman, informing me that with Halloween approaching, I should check out the Taunton cemetery because she knew the apparition would appear. Five years ago, I was told by a couple of Taunton residents attending the Chocolate Affair in Minneota that they had seen the girl more than once. It was the first time I had met these two and I didn&#39;t know if they were teasing me or had been sipping a little too much Sauvignon Blanc. I looked at an online website that lists haunted areas in the state and, sure enough, there was the Taunton cemetery among all the others. I-n fact, there are several online sites this the Taunton cemetery is referenced. Being the huge skeptic that I am when it comes to apparitions or paranormalists, I decided to attempt to debunk this legend. One reason I am &quot;dead&quot; set against believing in apparitions is something that I found out about a Minnesota paranormalist who held seances in the dark basement of a business in a west central Minnesota city. He had everyone holds hands in near darkness, with only a dim light shining on a small house of playing cards. The paranormalist, who charged a hefty fee to those in attendance, then told one of those in attendance to name a deceased individual that they wanted to contact. A woman chose to contact her deceased husband. The paranormalist then said that if her deceased husband was in the room, he needed to show them a sign. Suddenly, the cards tumbled. A few weeks later, the paranormalists assistant became upset that he hadn&#39;t been paid, revealed that it was he who knocked the cards over by using &quot;magician&#39;s thread&quot;. That&#39;s not the only reason I am a non-believer. I was skeptical long before I heard about this guy. I don&#39;t believe in UFO&#39;s, mind readers, tarot card readers, people who claim to have premonitions, etc. Two celebrities recently claimed to have had close contact with a UFO; Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato. If these two musicians who have a history of substance abuse don&#39;t make you a believer, no one will. So what about the Taunton cemetery legend? The Early Settler&#39;s Cemetery was plotted in 1902, but because it sits in a valley, often became flooded. So the STS, Cyril &amp; Methodius Catholic Cemetery was plotted in 1920 on much higher ground. There were a total of 27 people buried in the Old Settler&#39;s Cemetery; eight of those were moved to the higher cemetery. Nineteen are believed to still be buried there, including 10 marked graves and nine unmarked graves. After researching ancestry.com of those buried in the Early Settler&#39;s Cemetery, there was no girl or boy buried there that died at 12 years of age. Of those 27 originally buried in the Settler&#39;s Cemetery, only six were females that did not list their age at the time of death. The other females with listed ages all died at infancy or lived to an elderly age. The six names were then looked up and it was discovered they are badly misspelled; likely occurring from poor penmanship when the hand-written names were recorded in early court and church records and later re-recorded. All six names were eventually found, although only one female was even close to 12 years old; that being 20-year-old Martha (Kubishak) Masonick, who was born in 1891 in Germany and died in 1911. On the memorial board outside the STS, Cyril and Methodius Cemetery, her name is misspelled as Marthia Marzanek, but records show her maiden name is Kubishiak and that her sister Elisabeth Kubishiak (misspelled as Kubisiak on the board) died in 1906 at age two months old. Martha died on Aug. 6, 1911 of organic valvular disease of the heart and rheumatism, according to court records. Was this the young girl people were referring to as rocking in a chair? After taking some photos of children &quot;Trick or Treating&quot;, I drove out to the old Taunton cemetery on Saturday. Accessing the cemetery is difficult on a bumpy and muddy road that is not well traveled. I took a few photos there, saw or heard nothing, spelled out &quot;Boo&quot; in the snow with stones to scare anyone else checking it out, and drove away. Maybe I should have brought a deck of cards and some magician&#39;s thread along with me.</p>

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