Up in the hills of Placerville, lies the Pioneer Cemetery. The beautiful multi-colored trees and scenic views of the landscape belie the dark power that lurks amongst the graves. Over the years, many people from all walks of life have breathlessly spoken of the “lady in burgundy”.
Gliding gracefully through the cemetery grounds, a tall woman dressed in a burgundy dress seems to ignore people who call out to her. If approached, she drifts behind a tombstone and vanishes without a trace.
Nobody knows for sure who she is, but it seems clear that she is not of this Earth.
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Origins of the Placerville Ghost
There is a great deal of speculation as to who the Lady is and from whence she came.
Placerville has a great deal of history in the California Gold Rush, and one family that was very prominent in those days was the Schieffers.
Quite successful and wealthy in those tumultuous days, the Schieffers could easily afford plots in the Pioneer.
The patriarch Charles Schieffer is buried there today, alongside his daughter Catherine and another daughter named May who died tragically young.
Dark Secrets of the Gold Rush
Unknown, though, is why one of the Schieffer girls seems to have been buried alongside one Eliza Taylor. Who is Eliza, and why does she share a grave with Catherine?
Historians and townsfolk are undecided as to whether Eliza was a close friend, an illegitimate daughter, or perhaps even a lover.
Many believe, though, that it is Eliza’s spirit who now stalks the Pioneer Cemetery.
She has never done harm to any living being, so most agree that she is simply mourning her lost family.
Or perhaps she is watching over their graves, protecting their souls.
Or, most chillingly, could she be waiting for them to join her in life beyond death?
As one of the tombstones is inscribed, “Sleep on dear May. You are not forgotten.”
More Ghostly Manifestations in the Pioneer Cemetery
Visual manifestations of Eliza aren’t the only spooky happenings in the Placerville graveyard.
Cold spots are commonplace all around the cemetery.
At the Schieffer gravesite itself, the reverse often occurs. Visitors paying their respects on a cold day will suddenly feel quite warm, even uncomfortably so.
The most dramatic occurrence was in the early 1990s. A family cutting through the cemetery after a dinner out was surprised when the mild weather suddenly turned bone-chillingly cold.
The normally constant noise of crickets stopped dead, and a mist rolled in unnaturally fast.
The family hurried home, and thankfully made it unscathed.
Other Ghosts of Placerville
Directions to the Placerville Pioneer Cemetery
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