Woolyburger Cemetery

There are plenty of haunted cemetery stories, but have you ever heard of a haunted cemetery with not one, not two, but three completely different set of tales about it?  The Woolyburger Cemetery in Darbydale, Ohio, is just such a place.

Darbydale isn’t really a town; it’s an extension of the extreme west of Columbus, just past Hilliard.  In fact, one of Hilliard’s high schools is “Hilliard Darby” and there is a Darby Elementary.  Ohio is filled with these little “towns” that don’t really exist, or are nothing but two or three houses and a road sign.

The cemetery in question is actually named the Little Pennsylvania Cemetery, and is also known as the London-Darbydale Cemetery.  It’s located on London-Groveport Road, about a mile or so from Georgesville Road and the shopping centers there.  However, since it’s on the extreme edge of the Columbus metro area, that short distance transforms the road from normal urban travel to full rural back road.

Teenagers from Hilliard and the West Side tend to vandalize the place, mostly due to the various stories, no doubt, and it’s not in the best repair, but it’s a fairly interesting place to visit.  It’s mostly family plots, laid out long ago, with many of the plots bounded by decorative cement edging.  The cemetery is fairly old for the area, with the first burials beginning in 1834.  It’s still in use, but only rarely, with most of the headstones dated in the 1930s or earlier.

So why the fuss over this cemetery?  The answer is that there are three unconnected legends surrounding it.

The first involves not the cemetery itself, but a house supposedly built across from it in the mid to late 1800s.  The house, said to be located at 665 London-Groveport Road, was the home of Mr. Willy Butcher and his family, which included at least one young daughter.  The Butchers were well known and respected according to the legend, but the house was considered creepy.  Something was wrong about it, but people couldn’t say what, precisely.  Willy ignored the comments and lived happily with his family…until one night he apparently went insane and took a knife to his wife and children, then killed himself.

The nearby villagers discovered what happened and either the house burned down on its own or they burnt it down, depending on the version of the legend.  However, it was the talk of the tiny village, and many thought that Butcher’s madness was caused by the cemetery, thus leading to them calling it the “Willy Butcher Cemetery” and eventually this morphed into the “Woolyburger Cemetery” over the years.  People claimed to see Butcher’s daughter walking alone in the cemetery from time to time, and to hear the screams of the family in the night.

I’ll point out that this story bears more than a passing resemblance to Mooney’s Mansion, another Ohio legend I’ll tackle in a week or two.

The problems with the legend are that there’s no proof there was ever a house as described across from the cemetery, and no evidence of a Willy Butcher and family living in the area.  There is a William Boucher buried in the cemetery, but he died in childhood.  Also, for the name of the cemetery to go from “Willy Butcher” to “Woolyburger” doesn’t seem to really work.

The second legend is what I like to call “the mystery cult” myth.  There’s dozens of cemeteries and other locations that share similar myths.  The legend goes that a satanic cult (it’s always satanic, isn’t it?) used to use the cemetery as a meeting place in the 1940s-1960s.  The usual concoctions of sacrifices and orgies are associated with this supposed cult.  Where the Woolyburger legends depart from the usual convention is that some of the stories aren’t about a satanic cult, but rather about a real life cult, the KKK.  It’s no secret that probably every state has had and still does have members of the Ku Klux Klan as residents, but the idea that the cemetery isn’t haunted by ghosts but by hate-filled men in ghost-like sheets is pretty intriguing.  It certainly seems more plausible than the standard “satanic cult” stories.

There’s no actual evidence that the Ohio Klan ever met at the cemetery, though maybe there was a burial there for one of their members at some time.  I can’t say this particular legend isn’t plausible, though it’s highly doubtful that Klan members use the site today for meetings.  Also, this set of legends doesn’t explain how the cemetery got its strange name.

The third and final legend does give the cemetery its name, and does so in the most direct way possible; it’s all about a creature called the Woolyburger.  According to the stories, the Woolyburger is a Bigfoot-like creature that inhabits the forests near the cemetery.  Despite the fact that this legend is the best direct link to the nickname of the cemetery, it’s also the one with the least evidence.  There have been no actual reported sighting of the beast, only stories of stories, meaning the whole thing could easily be a reverse engineering of a legend based on the funny name of the place.  That in and of itself is interesting, as it shows how people will create myths to fill in the gaps left by incongruous information.

The actual reason for the name of the cemetery is unknown, though a Woolyburger is a type of lure used in fly casting and there is a small river nearby.  It’s unlikely anyone will ever know exactly how this place got its name or why there are three separate legends surrounding it.

44 thoughts on “Woolyburger Cemetery

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  1. I live right across from trapper johns. Everytime i go up there i ride my bike. Me , my boyfriend and my little brother went up there a few weekends ago. We all rode our bikes. We brought flashlights. We went all the way to the back of the cemetery and all the way torwards the back to your left is a small path that drops off. We took this path which led us to a rock quary. Stories say people have died in their and their bodies are still in there. Right when we got to the rock quary, my boyfriends flashlight turnt off and right at that moment we heard a faint scream. So of course we took off like anyone would do being in a haunted cemetery with a dead flashlight. We reached the cemetery and no one was there. As we left the cemetery i told my boyfriend (matthew) to turn his light on and it worked all of a sudden. Weird eh?

  2. i had a very unpleasant visit there that has affected me a lot. i sat next to a grave stone to smoke a cigg with my friends which i had went there with. my leg was grabbed….i must have been 18 or 19. i went back 5 years later and i had real bad vibes. i feel like what was there i took home with me. i was forced to leave my apartment because i was so scarred. i still to this day think about it. im not saying the stories and legends are true, but something resides there that i know.i dont recommend this place for anyone.. post me back if u believe me or if u have a similar story

  3. this place is to weird I was there about 2 days ago, n me and my friends seen something, and we took off running, we had heard a loud humming sound then a black shadow, the man had no face. as I was running I was being pulled back, and all of a suddon my legs were lifted off the ground and I fell. messed my knees up bad. and theres no way I could bust my knee open. its unexplainable. I had a weird vibe when we got there, n I was gonna walk back to the car. im glad I didn’t tho, because I would have been by my self. but what ever it was, it was pissd as soon as wegot out of the woods we heard a duck get killed. then a loud noise. it was crazy. and I think it fallowed me home because the whole night I was back at my place I heard the humming noise. .

    1. :O what!! I just went there last night but nothing happened but how late was it when you where there me my cousin my bro and my cousins bf went nothing happened tho it was like midnight nothing happened?? I hope you are better how old are you btw im 11. im sorry to hear your story

  4. My boyfriend lives 2 min from the woolyburger cemetery and him and his uncle was telling me stories about it I didn’t believe them until they showed Me pictures from 95 when Willy house got burnt down so I got interested in it and told my bf to take me there so we got in the car and drove down the street we got out of the car and Walked into the entrance I suddenly felt sick to my stomach but that Didn’t stop me.. We kept walking I saw something from the corner of my eye I turned and seen a black figure of a tall man standing in the woods by a I turned to tell my bf and when we turned around it was gone!! So me being a daredevil I walked to that grave and it said Willy Butcher!! Then I got really cold and my head started hurting so I said to my bf im ready to go and he said ok and we started walkie back to the entrance and we heard screaming and strange laughing we both ran to the car and left…

  5. I went to woolyburger cemetery about a year ago with my uncle, my mom, my cousin, and my brother. As we entered the cemetery, there is a path to the left and a path to the right, and we took the one to the left. a little ways back is a pond, and we noticed it was sort of a glowing greenish color, not really normal for a pond. Anyway, on our way back to the car, my uncle started to feel tired. I read that spirits tend to feed off of human energy. we didn’t encounter any ghosts that I know of, but I have yet to go back, and I want to observe and see if I can get something mysterious on camera!

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  7. There is another story that was told to me by my mother. she’s in her early 60s now, but she and her friends were told that the cemetery got it’s nickname because they had found a man dead there in his car or something like that. I’m not sure if anyone has actually been found there, but that is one of the many stories surrounding the place. I recently moved back to the area this year after being away for several years, it still makes me uneasy when near that place. I’m not sure if it’s just the stories getting to me or if there’s really something causing the uneasiness.

    1. There is actually a burned, old car if you follow the paths far enough back into the woods. There isn’t a body or anything the resembles a human body inside, but still it does exist. I doubt it’s why it got its name.

  8. So the other day I went there during the day with my two friends. While we were there we just stood there and stuff started to fall on our heads… More than likely it was something falling from a tree but we looked up and couldn’t see where it was coming from. It just appeared from the sky. So we walked around a little bit and nothing happened and we left. But the night before my friend went there with a few of his other friends and as they were leaving they all said they heard a girl scream. Which was weird because no one was there but but the 6 of them. I didn’t think much of it until the story above talks about hearing the family screaming. I don’t know if I believe in ghost but I’m sure not gonna mess with them

  9. I haven’t really experienced anything when I went there. (Paranormal like). But I have heard from a ton of people that when they were teenagers, they would got all the way back to the paths, to a giant field, and almost back to the woods and they would see a mansion or just a big house with a pond or lake. My aunt said when she was younger about 15 years ago, her and her friends have wondered back there to the mansion and while on her way back walking through the field, there was about 10-20 Devil war shippers chasing them with chains, knives, axes, whatever you can think of. Of course they took of through the paths, than down that little area by the entrance, to there cars and left. Yesterday, me and my friends had went in search of this mansion to see if that really had happen. We had got passed the field and halfway in some small trees until we started hearing weird noises and we had decided to leave. But on our way back to the field we were still looking for that mansion and my friend had glanced over an saw a structure looking thing. We couldn’t tell if it was a building or what due to all of the trees out there. When we were looking at this structure, we got a bad whiff of something that smelt dead, but which was also weird is that, my aunt had told us that, “after the War shippers had sacrificed their animals, they would throw them into the mansion’s pond. We were walking in one of the trails to get back home and my mom said “WTF is that”? We looked and it was a decapitated dog with all of its Fur shaved off. That had really creeped us out. We had left that place but our search is not done yet.

  10. I have some pictures that one of my friends took while we were at woolyburger that are pretty creepy if anyone wants to see them.

  11. I’ve been there a few times…. the first time… well lets say i was the calm one the whole time. My bf lives right next to the dang place and he ran like a lil girl. thing was we were up there for like half an hour nothing happend… so we started to leave when we got to the edge of the cematary i seen a girl in white floting there i poked my bf and he looked over then looked at me….grabed my arm and we ran like lil bitches. the secound time i went was with him my bestfriend and her gf. me and my bf heard a scream my friend got push…..that was about it for that time.

  12. Been here several times over the years, normally in search of that mythical cabin out near the pond. Was here a few nights ago with new people. They were all very open to the idea of spirits, I never have been. We got blazed up at the top of the cemetery and after a bit one of the guys started taking pictures off in the distance and then behind some of the rest of us. A bunch of the far off pictures had these random orbs in them. Surely there’s a logical, optical, explanation for these, but still a little strange. When the guy started taking pictures of me, he pointed out that there was not only orbs directly behind me but multiple shifting auras. Again, logical explanations surely exist, but it was a little off putting. One of the other guys started getting nervous and talking about demons so we headed out a little early before we got to check out the pond again.

  13. A small group and I are thinking of going there. Has anyone thought to look up in the trees for a possible microphone, or evidence of human interaction to play jokes on people? What about the issue of tresspassing? Is there a risk of getting into trouble with the law?

    1. There is, actually. You can be ticketed if the police find you there, and if they find your car in the parking area they may ticket for trespassing, or go to find you. I’ve been there a few times and haven’t been ticketed, but I’ve passed the place before to see a few cars there being ticketed, cops still there.

  14. I have been there deep along the trails. They seem to dance throughout the woods surrounding the cemetery back where hunters hunt quite often. These are actual hunting lands sanctioned by the state or county I believe, so they see quite a lot of activity. Which could be confusing to people visiting.

    The cemetery itself is pretty quaint and actually not alarming when visiting within the daytime. It is rather serene. At night however, it is very dark as it is pretty much surrounded by trees. The walkway from the road is enveloped by trees until you reach the cemetery. And the cemetery itself is hard to navigate with your vision because of the surroundings.

    On the trails that go way behind the little cemetery is where all the strange sensations, strange sounds and peculiar feelings take place. I have never seen the pond, but I am fairly certain that the trails lead to farm properties. I have heard some very loud tractor, chainsaw noises in the middle of the night on the trails, and even more oddly, tropical sounding birds and animals.

  15. Willie Boucher was the brother of my great grandfather and died as a small child. His parents George and Sarah moved to Kansas. I find it interesting this story about my ancestors and family and would love to visit this place sometime. Please, no one vandalize this area. These are people’s family. Ghost hunting yes, by all means.:) I would love to say updated about this place. Thank you!

    Kristie Boucher Moore.

  16. Ok its been about 6 months ago since the last time i posted on here. I enjoyed reading the stories all of you have posted on here they’re very interesting. I still have yet to go back to the cemetery but i plan on going this summer again to further my ghost search.

  17. I went here a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to have a fun friend, Brian Marquis with me. I didn’t know my pants would glow in the moonlight, but it was a great effect a half hour in or so when a group of teens showed up. I hid behind the tree for a minute, remembered my pants, and silently slipped into the open and started walking down the hill. (Black shirt and hair, all they could see was my glowing blue pants) I thought they’d all have a heart attack! Finally I got right up to them, they were pretty brave and didn’t run, and introduced myself. Brian started laughing at their faces and they almost bolted, but I told them it was a friend of mine, and we had a blast looking around and such for a while.

  18. i went there about 2 years ago with my aunt my mom and my aunts friends and they were all drunk so my aunt went to pee and she dropped her wallet without knowing and we left and the next day the police brought it to us in an evidence bag. creepy huh!!!

  19. I just went there last night with 3 of my friends. Note: We do not destroy property we are respectful to living and dead. I don’t trust in legends at all but I do trust in paranormal events that have happened to people there. I love exploring the paranormal it has always interested me. While we were there for about an hour or so and I heard a few things. I heard a couple screams from 2 different directions. Not at the same time though maybe 3 min apart. We didn’t turn onto any other paths we just kept going straight. (first time there at night didn’t wanna get lost) We go to a field area and we stopped to explore a little bit and as I was standing looking around I heard faint footsteps coming in my direction from the way we came up the trail. Whatever it was walked towards where I was and then I heard nothing again. We also heard dogs running around or maybe just coyotes. The noises were very close though and we saw nothing moving around nor did we see the animal. I don’t trust the legends about this place but I do know for a fact that people would do witchcraft there. There have been babies, young children even adults killed back there. Many people say that the paranormal is bad or dangerous but most people that go around a place like this or any other are just screwing around and happen to have a bad experience with the paranormal and think its all bad. What many people don’t understand is if you respect the area and the “people” in it you’ll be just fine and may even have good experiences or none. If you go to a few places and have nothing happen that doesn’t mean no one is there it may just mean they know you’re being respectful and don’t want to bother you or feel that they don’t need to scare you and make you leave. Just know that there is always someone keeping an eye on you. I think this place just has many untold stories and these “people” are just trying to tell theirs.

  20. I went to Woolyburger a couple months ago and again tonight. I live right down the street so i’ve been there a couple times. Well a couple months ago i went and i felt really weird about it i never felt that before. But i didnt want to be alone so i went with the guys. I was the camera person and held the lights. When we was leaving my lights turned off and my face started burning. I couldnt move and my body started burning too. When we got back to the car everyone freaked out but wouldnt tell me. I had scratches all over my face, neck and back. Theres no reason i should have had scratches. When we got back to my house i started coughing up blood and my arm had a really deep scratch. I dont remember anything after i left but my boyfriend said i kept telling him i was going to kill him and they took pictures of me that turned out very scary my eyes looked almost completely black. I still get that feeling when ever i drive past. I still have all the pictures but after about a week they ALL turned into like a rainbow and looked like my phone was broken but my older pictures looked the same.

  21. Hi, my name is Brooklynn and I lived in Grove city Ohio all my life. I have been to Wooleyburger cemetery a couple times,like 3 or 4 trips. The first 3 trips was okay, I never experience anything paranormal besides getting run out by a few creepy hunters hunting on the land. My last trip though was a bit scary for me and my friend Maddy who came with me. It was summer 2014 in the mid month of august. It was a beautiful warm evening, not to hot nor cold. My friend, Maddy and I where hanging out bored and so we decided to take a drive and just go to the cemetery to read the stones and get a little freaked out like before. This time me and maddy wanted to walk on one of the paths. We tried to do so before butot freaked out over the hunters so we left. We decide to take the trail that is far back left of the cemetery that takes you down to the creek of Trapper Johns. We walked all the way to the back left cemetery where it was only me and maddy there. We came across this little headstone that was well taken care of. The stone was not damaged at all and seem to have membersof family who came to keep it in good shape. Me and maddy stopped to admire the well taken stone where it had a few nick nacks on the ground surrounding it. Someone placed a little snowman figure, flowers and a heart against the stone. We then walked past it and started heading down the trail, I was leading and maddy was behind me. As we are walking down the trail I begin to have a feeling of a uneasy presence I then turned to maddy and said maybe we should go, maddy agreeing we turn around and start heading back up. Once we got back to the cemetery I started heading back to the car when maddy says “Brook” I turn around to see maddy was behind me hovering over the stone I said, yeah? she says ” come here”. I walk over to see that three shiny coins with no writing or symbols on them where laying on top of the stone above the name. In shock we realized that someone placed these coins which we never seen before walking down the path because we would have noticed it the first time we looked at it. Knowing that we where also the only people there we begin to freak out. So we left and started heading home, when maddy decides to go back. At this time it was night fall and I said if where going back we ar getting our friend Tyler because two females should not go alone at night to places like that. Maddy wanted to go back to see if the coins where still on the head stone because she was completely in shock as I was to but had no desire to go back. We picked up our friend Tyler and explained to him what happened. Arriving,we all three walked to the very back of the cemetery where we come upon the three shiny coins still sitting there. Tyler wanted to pick them up and take them home, but I have heard that ghost/demons can attach themselves to a item and if the item is moved they will go with it and I didn’t want to risk that. While we where there I wrote down the name, the name was Marry D. We went home to do some research to find that marry was about a year old when she died and her death certificate said she was hit by a car. She soon died later of the injury’s, her parents are also buried there at the cemetery and owned land as farmers. While we where doing research we came across ayoutube video where someone was recording there trip to the cemetery and was by her stone. In the video the man says “nice grave, very nice” after he says that he captures a voice of a young girl saying “yes”. Me and my friends where completely freaked out and shocked. After doing more research we found that most of Mary’s family has passed, we have no explanation for the coins on the stone appearing out of no where. I seen reports of people claiming to see a young girl walk in the back cemetery wearing a all white dress and I strongly believe its the littler girl Marry. So that’s my crazy story of my trip to wooleyburger.

    Brooklynn -1/18/2015-

  22. Obviously this “writer” has never been to Woolyburger. I know I live a mile away on the same road and have for years, have been there many times.
    First it is NOT an extension of Columbus they have Grove City addresses which by the way also has a school named Darby. Its the name of the creek that runs through the area dufus . It is 20 minute drive to Hilliard, ten minutes to the shopping on Georgesville Rd. Kids in Hilliard and Columbus have their own ghostly places they visit.
    It was an incorporated town until 1985 and has well about 100 homes.
    There is clear proof, the remnants of the Boucher house which sat across the road are still there.
    The house you cant find proof of burnt down decades after the alleged murder/suicide.
    The cemetery sits inside of a park that measures over 7,000 acres much of which is public hunting lands might explain some of those mysterious sounds/sightings. Yes it is hunted illegally all times of year and day.
    In the 40-60s people in the area were not cultists, they were either farmers or people from Columbus buying a little summer place near the creek.
    The actual reason for the name is, well people are just stupid. Its changed over the years.
    Please at least do a little research.

    1. Alfred, could you email me more info? My great grandfather’s brother was the Willie who died as a small child. Was it really the Boucher house that burned down? And do you know the real story behind this? My great grandfather was Charles Boucher and his parents were George Boucher and Sarah May, parents of Willie. They ended up moving to Kansas in the 1870’s.

  23. Went there often as a rebellious teen, never had anything remotely close to any of these stories happen. Worst case scenario me and my buddies got a lil high and then moved on. I found the cemetry to be peaceful and much prefered to be there on my own actually. I went in there with a respectful and open mind to any occurence. I met a few squirel hunters and that was about it. Very scenic though

  24. My friends and I went to the cemetery at midnight on halloween night 3-4 years ago. I don’t believe in all that crap but we thought it would be cool to visit. Well, it was pretty normal at first. Then we ran into another group that showed up and all was normal. Suddenly police showed up and there were like 6 police cars lights on, shining from the street through the trees. We heard the sounds of viscous sounding dogs coming from where the road was. Well that scared the crap outta us and we thought the police sent dogs out to get us! Lol, well after the police left, we began to walk back to the road and suddenly the sounds of a pig being slaughtered came from the woods. The police returned and sat at our cars. They were nice enough to let us off with a warning. WE think the police put on the sounds of the dogs…..for what reason? we don’t know. But the pig was definitely coming from the woods

  25. I live about 2 miles away and have only been there once. I went there with my sister on Friday the 13th at 3:15 am and I do not recommend anyone doing that. Not sure if we were thinking about it to much but we saw full bodied shadows and the most bone chilling voices but one of my friends is a park ranger for metro park and says the cemetery is now closed to the public cause of vandalism and anyone caught there could serve up to 5 yrs. I would love to have seen professional ghost hunters go there.

  26. I am a paranormal investigator with the Central Ohio Paranormal Society (COPS) I am currently investigating Woolyburgers Cemetery. What I try to do as an investigator is try to prove places are haunted and so far the Cemetery is throwing me evidence left and right.
    Check out my Website
    tavioneyerman.wordpress.com

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