When you think of haunted sites, the last place that might cross your mind is a serene and quiet botanical garden.
But with a storied past like that of Desert Botanical Garden, which opened in 1939, there is bound to be a few spooky tales.
In fact, several botanical gardens across the United States have a few hair-raising stories to help you get into the Halloween spirit this year. Read some of them below if you dare.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Photo credit: Courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens. © Scott Dressel-Martin
Did you know Denver Botanic Gardens sits atop an old cemetery?
That’s because the beautiful area that covers Cheesemen Park and Denver Botanic Gardens was a cemetery when Denver was founded in the 19th century. It was where the most affluent members of society were buried.
There are still a number of bodies under the park. A few years ago, bodies were discovered by a construction crew who were working on some electrical lines.
Around 1950, 9,000 bodies were removed from the area, according to the Denver Post. The city and developers might have moved the headstones, but they never removed the bodies.
It’s no surprise garden staff and visitors claim to have heard, smelled and seen unworldly phenomena in the area, especially during tours.
During one tour, a wheelchair rolled out in the middle of the pathway and stopped. The tour guide and visitors were terrified. They thought someone was playing a trick. But the wheelchair turned suddenly toward them and tipped forward as if its invisible passenger had leapt out and was heading toward them, according to the Garden. The tour guide called the gardens to complain that someone was trying to sabotage his tour, but the staff was unable to find the wheelchair.
Wahiawa Botanical Garden
Wahiawa Botanical Garden is known for its lush green tropical flora. But ask locals in the area, and they will share the legend of a ghastly sight.
There is a local legend that the area surrounding Wahiawa Botanical Garden is haunted by the “Green Lady.”
Depending on who you ask, the Green Lady is said to be covered in gross and green mold. Others claim she has jagged teeth, seaweed covered hair and green scaly skin.
According to the legend this woman and her children would often visit the garden. While taking a shortcut one day through the nearby gulch, the woman became separated from one of her children. Unable to find her child, the woman died of heartbreak and disappeared herself. Today, locals claim she wanders the area and is said to snatch up any child she finds playing in the gulch in an attempt to replace her own.
Desert Botanical Garden
Chairs moving loudly. Eerie noises. And objects unexplainably moved.
These are some of the ways staff members at Desert Botanical Garden describe chilling encounters they’ve had both inside buildings and on the trails.
At Webster Auditorium, which is named for co-founder Gertrude Webster, several staffers say they experience paranormal activity. Working alone in the office late, one person claims they heard the sound of chairs rattling. They stood up to inspect the noise, and simultaneously a printer and a standing oscillating fan turned on.
The Garden has a building on its grounds called the Desert House, where several executive directors have resided, including current executive director, Ken Schutz. It is now used as an office space, and staff members experienced unusual things while working after hours. One staff member felt something push against them while working alone in the building. Another heard objects moving and typing, when again, they were alone in the house.
Have you visited any of these botanical gardens? How about a night? Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these chilling stories will help you get into the Halloween spirit.