- Updated On:
- November 17, 2022
Simms Cemetery crosses two ghost legends. One being Judge Simms who handed out hanging sentences to even the most common of offenses and the other being the Cemetery Pentagram (Athens; Hanning, Hunter, Mathany, Peach Ridge, and Simms).
This article is of Simms Cemetery which is located in Athens, Ohio. The cemetery itself is located off Peach Ridge Road but the exact location has been redacted due to it residing on private property whose owners have grown tired of strangers asking to stroll their property in search of the cemetery.
The cemetery is named after a local, Judge John Simms, legendary for his rulings of capital punishment. What would a good ghost story be unless the judge was extreme in his use of punishment? In this case hanging sentences handed to common/misdemeanor offense (especially African Americans). The judge executed his sentences from a hanging tree from within the cemetery. The tree still stands and the spots the ropes once hung are identifiable on the tree to this day. The tree was no longer used after 1890.
Spirits seem to rise only at night. Sometimes the judges hanging victims still hanging from the tree or the judge himself chasing you from the cemetery. Assuming you happen to find the cemetery as it frequently moves and changes its location. But orbs of light and whispers of shadows may signal that you are close or have found it. Few grave markers remain and some were mere rocks so it is not always obvious that you have found the cemetery. There have been no descriptions of what the hanging victims look like but the judge apparently sports a hooded shroud.
So far I have been unsuccessful in finding any historical articles which seem to confirm the judges heavy handed sentences. Also the rumor about the cemetery moving locations seems to be debunked by a nearby boy scout camp (long since closed) that has kept the location of the cemetery in the same place in reference to the camp.
* Image made available via Haunted Athens Ohio