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Old October 22nd, 2001, 10:32 PM   #39
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Louisville area
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These next two stories are from the same cemetery in Terre Haute, Indiana. Both originated in the early 1900's

The Story of Stiffy Green

They say that there is nothing unusual about hearing a dog barking in a cemetery at night, unless you happened to be in Terre Haute, Indiana. If you are anywhere in the area around Highland Lawn Cemetery at night, and hear a dog bark, you may just be hearing the legendary voice of Stiffy Green, Indiana?s favorite graveyard ghost.

In the early 1900?s, Stiffy Green was a familiar character around Terre Haute. He was the constant companion of a man named John Heinl, an elderly gentleman who was well-liked in town. He too was familiar figure as he strolled about the city each day in the company of his little bulldog. Stiffy Green was so named thanks to his unusual, stiff-legged walk and the fact that he had startling, green-colored eyes. The little dog was friendly, yet fiercely protective of his master, never allowing strangers to get too close.

In 1920, John Heinl passed away. While his death was a cause for sadness in the community, no one was hit harder by it than Stiffy Green. The poor creature was heartbroken and he refused to leave his master?s side, even during the funeral services and after Heinl was entombed at Highland Lawn. Eventually though, two of Heinl?s friends decided to take in the dog and care for him. They took him to their house in Terre Haute and introduced him to his new home.

Within a few days, Stiffy Green had gone missing. He was found a few hours later lying in front of the door to the Heinl mausoleum, silently watching over his master?s burial place. John?s friend placed a leash on the dog and took him back home again but less than a week later, the dog was missing once more. He was always discovered again, several miles away, in the cemetery. Over the next month or so, this became a standard routine. If the dog could not be found around the house anywhere, his new owners always knew where he was. Eventually, they just gave up and let Stiffy Green take up residence in the graveyard. They brought him food and water and allowed him to stay there.

Not long after this, they began to realize that the dog was not eating. He paid little attention to the bowl of water either, preferring to sit nearly motionless at the entrance to the tomb, barring anyone from entering it. He stayed there in the rain and cold and never shirked what he seemed to feel was his duty. And it was there, on the cold stone step, that the body of Stiffy Green was eventually found.

As word of the loyal dog?s death spread, Heinl?s friend pondered what to do with the animal?s body. They certainly didn?t want to simply dispose of their friend?s constant companion but they weren?t certain he should be entombed as a human would be either. Finally, they reached a compromise. A fund was established and the dog?s body was taken to a local taxidermist. The dog was then stuffed and mounted into the sitting position that he had maintained outside of the tomb for so many months. His eyes were left open and his bright green eyes were replaced with glass ones that managed to capture the gleam of the originals. When the task was completed, Stiffy Green was placed inside of the Heinl tomb, right next to the crypt that held the remains of his beloved companion.

And seemingly, this would be where our story ends... but it?s not.

Several months after Stiffy Green?s death, a caretaker was leaving the cemetery on a warm evening. Just as he was opening the door to his car, he heard the bark of a dog from the direction of the Heinl mausoleum. Thinking that something about this seemed odd, he decided to go and have a look. As he neared the tomb, the sound got louder and then he suddenly realized why the bark seemed so strange, and so eerily familiar. He had heard this dog barking before. It was the bark of Stiffy Green!

But that was impossible, he realized, the poor animal had died many months ago. The bark must have been his imagination, he decided and walked back to his car. He would think no more about this until other people started to report the same barking from the area around the tomb.... and they would report something else too.

According to the legends, many people have heard the barking of a small dog in Highland Lawn Cemetery in the evening hours. It always seems to come from the direction of the Heinl mausoleum. A few of them have also reported that Stiffy Green does not wander the cemetery alone. They also claim to have seen the figure of an elderly man strolling along between the tombstones, sometimes smoking a pipe and sometimes just smiling as he looks away into the distance. While the old man?s description sometimes varies, the witnesses never disagree about the fact that he is always accompanied by a small stiff-legged bulldog... with piercing green eyes.

Every Soul is a celestial Venus to every other soul...Love is our highest word, and the synonym of God. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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