Sanksville, formerly known as Bakersville, is just outside of St. Augustine, to the west. Nobody is sure when Bakersville was first established, but many agree that the Bakersville Cemetery was proposed shortly after the Civil War. The earliest marked headstone dates back to 1869, although many grave markers on the property are unmarked.
The Post Civil War Cemetery of St. Augustine
Bakersville Cemetery was the final resting place for both blacks and whites within the community. Peter Sanks was the first of his family to settle in the area, first as a slave, in 1819. His lineage continued, and his son, a free man, purchased land in Bakersville, including the cemetery.
The Sanks family continued to take care of the cemetery and it, and the surrounding area, was renamed Sanksville, in their honor. Recently, residents of Sanksville have begun whispering about how the cemetery is haunted. Nobody seems certain when these hauntings began, or why they are occurring.
Tyler’s family owns a restaurant on St. Augustine, and he was busing a table one afternoon when he overheard a conversation about the supposedly haunted Sanksville Cemetery. Of course, St. Augustine has its fair share of haunted locations, but Tyler never took much stock in these rumors. St. Augustine is perpetually riddled with tourists, and he had never experienced anything remotely paranormal while living there.
The Hunt for Evidence
He guessed that if one wanted to see a ghost, visiting the small, secluded cemetery would be a better answer. “I could be mistaken, but there are so many screaming kids and traveling families all over St. Augustine, that it never feels like the type of place where a spirit would make itself known,” Tyler said with a nonchalant shrug. “So I made a plan to visit Sanksville Cemetery.
“I set out just after sunset. I knew my parents would just heckle me about it, so I borrowed my mother’s car and just wrote a note as to my whereabouts. I brought my phone out and started recording a video as I walked around the cemetery.
“It was definitely spooky…but at first I wasn’t sure if it was a genuinely creepy place or if my reason for being there just made it so. But that’s when it started to feel like I was being watched. It felt like there were a dozen people, watching me from the shadows,” he said with a small shiver.
“I began to hear faint whispers coming from the farthest corner of the cemetery. ‘I can hear you!’ I shouted. ‘If this is some kind of joke, I don’t find it at all amusing!’
“But the whispers never stopped, and nobody came out laughing,” Tyler murmured. “I was scared, but part of me was so sure it was nothing but a group of dumb teenagers. So I followed the voices toward the back of the cemetery.
“Right when I thought I was near, the voices suddenly stopped. I looked all around but couldn’t see anybody hanging out behind the trees or behind headstones. ‘Is…is anybody there?’ I half whispered into the night.
“’We are here!’ a low voice said in front of me. It was terrifying, and I immediately took off running towards my mom’s car. I could see it when I felt something catch my foot, making me fall.
“I looked up to see a bright light flood the cemetery. All around me were these shadowy figures, slowly closing in on me. I threw my head down and screamed in terror,” he nodded.
“But suddenly the light was gone, and so were the shadowed figures. I heard a car door slam, and my mom calling my name as she ran towards me. The lights had been the headlights from my father’s car.
“I’ll never forget that evening,” Tyler said. “Everyone talks about St. Augustine being haunted, that they forget about the spirits that live at Sanksville Cemetery.”