In the bright summer village of Lake George you find the old Caldwell Cemetery. It holds the tombstones and the ghosts of the place’s bloody and disease ridden past. 

The village of Lake George is named after the lake with the same name who is also nicknamed The Queen of American Lakes. It is a beautiful northern village today and a popular place to visit in the summer. But this summer colony has a bloody past that is said to haunt the place to this day. 

One of the supposedly haunted places is at the local graveyard. The Caldwell Cemetery is an old cemetery with over 200 years the place having been used as a burial ground in Lake George in Warren County, New York. 

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It is an eerie looking graveyard even by day and the tombstones you find north of the cemetery are almost disappearing into the woods. 

Smallpox Victims from Fort William Henry

It was here in Caldwell Cemetery the victims of smallpox from Fort William Henry were buried. There was a big outbreak of smallpox there and it is the Colonial soldiers that are said to haunt the place. 

Cemetery
Haunted Cemetery: Caldwell Cemetery in Lake George is said to be haunted by more than one ghost. Source/find a grave

It is not only Caldwell Cemetery that is said to be haunted by soldiers in Lake George mind you. Now it is mostly known for being portrayed in the novel The Last of the Mohicans. But before it served as a place in the novel, Fort William Henry was also a place where many battles took place as it was on the route between the French and British colonies during the French and Indian War. The fort itself has a very haunted rumor as well as being a stop on the haunted history tour in the area. 

Smallpox used to be an extremely deadly virus. In America it is estimated that it killed up to 90 percent of the indigenous population. This was something that the commanders in the British forces took advantage of as an early biological weapon. The commander in chief, Lord Jeffry Amherst handed out smallpox-infected blankets to the natives in 1763. 

But also the soldiers of the British forces were not immune to it. And although the vaccine for it had already been used for a while, it was still claiming lies during the outbreak at the fort. Some sources place the outbreak in 1810, something that seems highly unlikely. 

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Historical Accuracy of the Fort William Henry

If it ever was an outbreak though among the soldiers is a bit clouded, as the Fort were said to be abandoned after the Siege of Fort William Henry in 1757, and left in ruins for over 200 years before being rebuilt in the 1950s. Meaning that the fort you can visit today is nothing more of a replica.

TBT: The Siege of Fort William Henry
Under Siege: Depiction of the Siege of Fort William Henry in 1757.

Also, as the U.S got its independence from Britain in 1776, there would not have been any British colonial soldiers at the Fort in 1810 anyway. 

What about the smallpox victims in Caldwell Cemetery then? Even though the years and dates from most sources date the smallpox outbreak to 1810, it could very well have been much earlier. Fort William Henry before the siege was known to be in bad condition with frequent outbreaks of smallpox. 

So who is to say really, that there weren’t really any soldiers victim to the disease from Fort William Henry that are still roaming Caldwell Cemetery? 

The Ghost Soldiers in Caldwell Cemetery

The haunting rumors appear to have very military details to it as it is said to be mostly the soldiers of the fort that are haunting the grounds. Those who claim to have experienced something paranormal at the place tell about smelling burnt gunpowder as well as hearing the sound of musket fire when entering the graveyard. The ghosts that are spotted are often reported to be wearing a soldier uniform. 

And considering both Fort William Henry as well as the place around Lake George itself, the lingering presence of the spirits from the soldiers dying in the battles over the years makes sense. 

The Grave of the Founding Father

There is however, not only soldiers from colonial times that have created paranormal rumors and ghost stories in Caldwell Cemetery. And that is where the founding father of the place comes in. 

Before being renamed, Lake George was known as Caldwell, named after the founder of the place in 1810 (which might be why 1810 keeps showing up in accounts of the hauntings of the graveyard).

According to the author Lynda Lee Macken who writes books about haunted places, she tells her own story of a paranormal experience. When she was a teenager she was investigating Caldwell Cemetery with friends when one of the burial vaults started to glow orange.

The next day when she went back to further investigate she found that the tomb belonged to the founder of Lake George, James Caldwell, an Irish Presbyterian buried in a Catholic churchyard. 

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References

The haunted places of Lake George Village

Haunted Lake George, New York – GhostQuest.net

The Rise and Fall of Smallpox – HISTORY

Siege of Fort William Henry – Wikipedia

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