Morgan-Monroe State Forest
6220 Forest Road
Martinsville, IN 46151
The Stepp Cemetery has many different stories attached to it and it’s the center of many local urban legends. The complete history of this cemetery is not exactly clear but it is known that the land this cemetery now sits on was originally owned by a man named Reuben Stepp. Stepp purchased the land in 1856 and sold the property when moving his family to Texas in 1884 to a man named Will Peterson. In 1929, the state of Indiana purchased the property and today it’s maintained by the Trustees of Benton Township.
According to local lore, the cemetery was used by a small cult at one time which was known as the “Crabbites”. People claim The Crabbites conducted ritualistic ceremonies on the cemetery grounds including the sacrificing of small animals as well as ceremonies based around strange sexual practices. Some believe that these rituals brought demonic spirits to the area which now roam the cemetery.
One of the local legends about the cemtery claims that the children of Reuben Stepp had a disagreement while dealing with the property which eventually lead to the death of one of the children. People believe that the descendent of Stepp who lost their life haunts the place today.
Another legend is about a distraught mother after the loss of her small child. She was so distressed over the loss of her daughter that she went to the cemetery and dug up her body after it was buried there. Being overwhelmed with extreme grief and suffering over losing her child she decided to take her own life. Her apparition has been seen sitting near where an old stump used to be – the stump rotted away years ago, but she is still seen there dressed in black and weeping over her daughter’s grave.
There are many other legends about this small rural cemetery. Some locals believe it is still haunted but others just use the property as a local hang out and maybe a place to spook someone. Today, the cemetery is blocked off by a small gate so in order to visit it, you have to get out of your vehicle and hike up to the property. There is also a curfew in place to prevent vandalism.
Hopefully any thrill seekers visiting the area will respect their surroundings. If you feel like venturing into the cemetery to try to catch paranormal evidence, please respect the area so those of us who visit in the future can also try to have an experience with ghostly visitors from the past.
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