We all have local urban legends: haunted cemeteries, unsolved murders, roads with mysterious, ghostly hitchhikers. One of the more prominent ones we have around here in small town Missouri is the legend of the Elvins Vampire.
And I decided to hunt for his grave.
It changes from time to time, depending where you hear it from. This is the version I’ve most commonly heard:
In the early 1900s, a man moved to Elvins. According to the myth, he was a Hungarian miner, and never left his home during the daylight. He was reported to be a very cruel and evil man. Not long after he came to town, the children in the area began mysteriously dying. Once he died – murdered by the angry townspeople – the deaths stopped.
They buried him in Gibson Cemetery, surrounded by the graves of the children that also died. To ensure he didn’t return from the grave, they built a fence around his resting place and adorned it with crosses.
Yesterday, my best friend and I decided we should see this resting place for the undead, ourselves. It isn’t marked, nor simple to find.
But we found it.
Had I not had Brittaney with me, I probably couldn’t have tracked it down. I will not be directing anyone to the cemetery in this post, however.
Once we figured out the particular area of woods we needed, we set out. It was almost eerie how the tombstones emerged suddenly as we walked off the path. As I said to Brittaney – it was almost beckoning to us, inviting us to see what mystery it held.
The cemetery is in ruins. Most likely from disrespectful teenagers venturing there to check out the legend for themselves. But there is definitely something unsettling about the forgotten graves. No one to care for them. All these babies left alone in the woods.
However, we both felt peaceful, carefully looking at each headstone, wondering about the lives that had been lost.
I always enjoy looking at old cemeteries, and have been to some of the most interesting in the country – Salem, New Orleans, etc. But this felt so different. This wasn’t a dark tourist destination available on a map, or with a guided tour. We were on our own. We ventured until we found them.
Just buried bodies, purposely forgotten out in the woods. A dark past everyone wants to tuck away.
As we continued to look, I worried we wouldn’t find the infamous grave. After all, there had been rumors of the fence being destroyed all the time. But every time we wanted to turn back, sure we had found all of the grave markers, we’d suddenly spot another, leading us deeper into the woods.
One very unnerving part of it all, was the number of sunken graves, where it looked like a hole had been made where some of the bodies had been. Brittaney was particularly worried that we’d see a corpse coming up from the dirt.
While Brittaney was looking at more graves, I scanned the area around us. Sure enough, I could spot the fence, just a little ways farther into the woods. I had made many comments on our journey, about this sounding like the beginning of a horror movie – two girls wandering the woods, looking for an urban legend.
As I approached what remained of the grave, the thought crossed my mind – if there was something bad, we had wandered deep enough into the woods for it.
There it was. The resting place. Complete with some jackasses putting a creepy doll head on the fence post. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the center is sunken in. This was the only time I felt truly uncomfortable, and only because it felt like someone was watching me.
Our visit was cut short, because Brittaney removed the doll head, and we discovered it was the current home to many angry wasps. So we carefully made our way out of the woods and went on, discussing our theories and versions of the story we have heard.
Was he likely a vampire? I have my doubts. I assume fear took over the townspeople when a disease started taking their children from them, so they blamed an outsider, a Hungarian albino that surely – to them – looked like a vampire.
Have you heard the legend of the Elvins Vampire? Have any interesting local legends of your own? Want me to investigate more spooky myths? Let me know in the comments!