Most of claims of paranormal activity at the Darby-Lee Cemetery come from the residents of an area called Delhi Township. It’s 10 square miles border the mighty Ohio River, as it meanders through hills and ravines cut by the river itself over eons. Within Delhi Township are about 30,000 residents. They enjoy many parks and public green spaces with hiking trails that abound along the scenic river. Once such trail can be found off of Bender Road, then up a steep driveway to a retirement community. If you keep to the right and park your car in the back lot, you’ll see utility building. Walk on past it and you’ll soon discover a sign reading Darby-Lee Historic Cemetery. A small trail head leads into a wooded area, and the short path lands you at the epicenter of this legend. Here, is an historic, overgrown and dilapidated 18th century graveyard. It contains only 17 registered plots. Through the years, many passersby have reported hearing forlorn fiddle music coming from this spot. Many have spotted a small green light hovering above the tombstones. All this unexplained activity has persisted for nearly two centuries as the Ohio River streams by 1600 feet below.
Just what kind of strange stories exist about this tiny, overgrown cemetery? Most of the accounts come from unknowing passersby, like residents and visitors of the retirement community, or those hiking lower trails, closer to the river’s edge. These unsuspecting people report hearing the disembodied music and seeing a hovering green light that resembles a handheld lantern. Both the music and the light fade into nothingness as they move forward to inspect it. Upon finding the cemetery, the music and the light extinguish, leaving these searchers in a state of confusion and wonder.
At one point, these claims had become so well known, that ghost hunters made a habit of looking for the experience themselves. They sojourned to the cemetery, with the hope of capturing the music and the light on their recording devices. It’s not an easy task to navigate the narrow, wooded trail in the dark. They had to be careful not to trip on deadened leaves and branches, as their flashlights pierced the darkness, the beams finally landing on centuries’ old tombstones. Sadly, both the music and light are known to refuse showing themselves to those who go looking for them. It’s as if the fiddler prefers the secrecy of the shadows. Perhaps he wishes to communicate his message from afar. Perhaps he has reason to.
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Historic Darby-Lee Cemetery in Delhi Township, Ohio. Final resting place of the Darby family.