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The Dark Angel of Maple Grove Cemetery

Visitors to Maple Grove Cemetery in search of the Dark Angel statue are often disappointed to find nothing but an empty pedestal. Some begin to even doubt that the statue even existed at all. But the truth is that at one time, the enormous statue did indeed stand atop the now vacant slab. But before we explore exactly what became of the statue, it's important that we discuss the two popular legends that led to this statue becoming one of the most infamous monuments in all of Ohio.

Insane with Grief

The first version of the Dark Angel legend centers around a woman named Alice and her small daughter. For reasons that are never explained, Alice is said to have taken the life of her daughter. Some said it was murder while others claimed it was an accident. At the daughter's funeral in Maple Grove Cemetery, Alice was said to have appeared in a state of shock. Shortly after the funeral, Alice had a larger-than-life-size statue of an angel erected over the child’s grave. Soon afterwards, Alice was said to have gone insane with grief and died. She was buried next to her daughter in Maple Grove.

Almost immediately after Alice’s death, locals began reporting that their livestock was being slaughtered. Others noticed that the angel statue had what appeared to be blood on its hands and mouth. It was deduced that the evil spirit of Alice was inhabiting the statue, causing it to leave its place in the cemetery at night and fly across the countryside attacking and killing farm animals. It was decided that the hands and wings of the statue should be cut off, thereby preventing it from causing any more destruction.

After the hands of the statue were sawed off and its wings were clipped, there were no more reports of livestock being killed. In addition, it is said that what looked like tearstains appeared on the angel’s face, supposedly caused by the spirit of Alice weeping for her sins.

Cholera Epidemic

Alice also plays a major role in the second version of the legend. Although in this version, she is a kind spirit…at least in the beginning.

It is said that during a cholera epidemic in the early 1900s, bereaved parents would bring the bodies of their children to the cemetery and place them in the arms of the statue, asking that the angel take the children away to heaven. According to this version, a local preacher convinced his congregation that placing their children in the arms of the statue was blasphemous.

As a result, the hands of the statue were sawed off. This evidently angered Alice’s spirit and it is said that from that point on, anyone desecrating or tormenting the statue would meet an untimely death. Attached to this version of the legend is the fact that if you visit the cemetery and bring a tape recorder, Alice’s spirit will speak to you.

And Now for the Facts

To begin with, a simple visit to the cemetery will dispel a majority of both of these legends. The base of the statue clearly states that it was erected in memory of two sisters, Alice and Lydia Fischer. And while it is true that there is a young girl, Betty, buried at the site, she is the daughter of Lydia, not Alice. We thought for a moment that perhaps the legend had incorrectly named Alice as the one who inhabits the statue when it was indeed Lydia. But a review of the tombstones quickly showed that could not be the case if we accepted the rest of the legend as truth.

In essence, Betty’s tombstone shows that she was born and died in 1918. When you consider that Lydia, the mother, was born in 1876, she would have been roughly 42 years old when she gave birth to Betty. Taking that into consideration, it is not that far-fetched to believe that perhaps Betty had died during childbirth. And the fact that Lydia was 50 years old when she died in 1926, a full eight years after her child, seems to dispel the rumor that Lydia went "insane with grief" shortly after she murdered her child.

As far as the second legend is concerned, once again a review of the tombstones shows it is highly unlikely that the events took place. The second legend claims that in the early 1900s, a cholera epidemic swept across the area, killing many children. Parents of the departed children allegedly placed their children’s bodies in the arms of the statue. Not only was the cholera epidemic over long before the 1900s, but since the statue was placed in the cemetery as a memorial to Lydia and Alice Fischer, it would not have been in place in the early 1900s. This is due to the fact that Lydia and Alice did not pass away until the 1920s.

So Where'd the Statue Go?

Despite the claims that the Dark Angel statue just spread its wings and flew away one dark and stormy night, the truth is that Maple Grove officials chose to put it in storage. While original reports were that the head, hands, and wings were going to be restored, it now appears as though it will remain in storage indefinitely. Of course, if you believe that the Dark Angel did take flight, there's really no telling where it will show up next.

Weird Ohio

 

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