One of Indiana’s most haunted hotspots has been scaring off midnight visitors and road workers alike for hundreds of years, but now the mysterious Grave in the Middle of the Road has gotten even stranger after the discovery of not one, but seven bodies under the single headstone.
For the better part of a century, road crews in Indiana have been terrified of disturbing a single grave that sits, to this day, in the middle of County Road 400 in Amity. They’ve been so scared, in fact, that rather than flatten the plot out and move the remains, they’ve opted to split the lanes and pave around it. You might wonder why a lone burial plot would be such a source of fear, and for the answer, you have to go way back to 1808.
Well before road crews began painting white lines on fresh pavement, the town of Amity, Indiana was just a small village that popped up near Sugar Creek. In 1808, fourteen-year-old Nancy Kerlin married William Bartlett, popped out eleven kids, and then passed away just twenty-three years later at the age of thirty-seven. Her dying wish was to be laid to rest on her favorite piece of land overlooking the creek. Nancy was the first to be buried on the hill, but she was soon joined by enough locals that an official cemetery was built around her grave.
Fast forward several decades and the county had decided that it was time to pave a new road. Unfortunately, the developers hadn’t planned for the small cemetery to be directly in the path of their new route, and eventually decided that they would just pave over it. That didn’t exactly work out so well for them.
Nancy’s grandson Daniel G. Doty, so incensed that the remains of his family would be disrespected, cocked his shotgun and set up camp on his grandmother’s plot, threatening any worker who dared to approach the mound. Daniel defended the patch of land for several weeks until the county threw in the towel and agreed to leave Nancy’s grave untouched. Having already paved the road up to that point, they had no choice but to split the lanes down the middle and work around the the plot. In August 1912 Nancy’s grave received a historical marker, officially cementing its place in the legends of Amity, Indiana.
For over a hundred years, the site has sat relatively untouched, but that hasn’t stopped it from gaining a reputation as one of the most haunted cemeteries in the state. Late night visitors have reported everything from phantoms appearing in front of their cars as they approach the mound, to disembodied voices whispering in the night, to electrical problems with their cars. It’s almost as if Nancy can’t get any rest with the traffic so close by.
Well, looks like the spirits in the middle of County Road 400 are about to get even more restless as archaeologists have disturbed the site in order to make room for wider lanes. But in doing so, they’ve made a startling discovery: at least seven other bodies buried in the supposedly solitary grave.
“If Mr. Doty’s story is correct,” Schmidt told Indy Star reporters, “he didn’t just protect his grandmother. He also prevented all the graves from being moved.”
The stray bones are currently undergoing DNA testing with Nancy Kerlin-Barnett’s living relatives to determine just who they belong to, after which they’re set to be placed in new coffins and buried at their original site in the middle of the road. Until then, County Road 400 will remain closed, with no date for reopening currently set. Here’s hoping that now, the spirits occupying Indiana’s Grave in the Middle of the Road can get some rest.
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