Article from the Hardin County News Enterprise
Grisly finds at Hardin County cemetery prompt investigation
Grandview Cemetery sits at the end of St. John Road. Weekend visitors discovered the carcasses of several dogs and other animals.
Two members of a Louisville ghost research group checking on a supposedly haunted cemetery in Hardin County a burial site also known as the Gates of Hell made a gruesome discovery over the weekend.
Pamela Brooks and Angela Amerine, both members of the Kentucky Society for Ghost Research, found the remains of three dogs, a puppy, two cats, a calf and a deer scattered around Grandview Cemetery, which also had been vandalized for the second time since July.
They also discovered a bloodied 20-pound dog food bag at the property, which sits at the end of a gravel road 18 miles west of Elizabethtown.
The Kentucky State Police investigated for possible animal cruelty. But Trooper Roger Waters said no signs of animal sacrifice or cruelty existed.
He said the site appeared to be a dumping ground for the deceased animals.
"I could see where it would appear that way," Brooks said, "but the bones did have ash and char marks and they were torn apart pretty good."
Waters didn't see it that way.
"(Animals) normally have their throats cut or their heart or other organs removed in these cases," he said, adding that criminal littering, like animal cruelty charges, are misdemeanors that could result in a fine up to $500 and up to a year in jail.
Brooks thinks there's more going on, though. Many people, she said, believe the place is haunted or a gathering spot for satanic groups.
"We feel like there's enough evidence of satanic groups. Every time we go out there, we find black candles," she said. "There have also been satanic spray painting on the road leading into the cemetery and on the trees."
Waters said he found no black candles and viewed the graffiti he saw a swastika, a body outline and yellowish-orange cross as "not satanic."
Brooks said the animals "were mutilated pretty good; possibly skinned and burnt. Mostly what's left is bones, but it's not like it was decayed.
"We also found black electrical tape, which was possibly used to tape their mouths closed."
From the remains, Brooks said it appeared two of the dogs were Rottweilers, while the other two were beagles, one of which appeared to have its skull crushed.
The calf was found by a burn-barrel Brooks said was "used for animal sacrifices two or three years ago."
"Even if it's not sacrifices or ritualistic things, this is not a place to dump animals," she said. "There are families with people buried there. If they came to visit, they would have to see this and that would be awful."
The constant vandalism is something she hopes will not be seen again.
"They keep coming back and destroy what we fix," Brooks said. "Eventually, the cemetery might be lost and we don't want that to happen because our interest is to investigate the legend."
So far, those investigations have led to some eerie discoveries.
"We do believe there has been paranormal activities there," Brooks said. "There has just been some strange unexplained experiences."
For example, when the KYSGR was cleaning the grounds last July, the whole group experienced a "negative feeling they couldn't explain," Brooks said.
For many years, Brooks said the site has been a destination for thrill-seekers looking for a scare, some of whom have been scared off themselves by her group and others like it.
"We want to stop the abuse of the cemetery and stop the abuse to the animals," she said. "It's just not right."
Known as the Gates of Hell for 15 or 20 years, Brooks said, at some point, Grandview was called "the killing field."
"And after going out there (Sunday)," she said, "I can see why."
William Wilczewski can be reached at 769-1200, Ext. 238, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.