In life, she was known by the name Mary E. Hart, but today most people in New Haven, CT, know her as Midnight Mary. The story goes that Mary was accidentally buried alive after a swoon. One of her relatives then had vivid nightmares about Mary and had her body exhumed. Upon doing so, the exhumers found grisly confirmation that Mary had been buried alive. Of course, there’s no documentation that this ever happened, but the story seems to have started from her epitaph.
Inscribed on the giant brick of pink stone that marks her grave is the following: “At high noon just from, and about to renew her daily work, in her full strength of body and mind, Mary E. Hart, having fallen prostrate remained unconscious, until she died at midnight October 15,1872…born December 16,1824.” A single line of bold, black text above the rest states: “The people shall be troubled at midnight and pass away.”
The phrase is from book of Job in the Old Testament and, in context, is just a statement about being resigned to fate. However, over the years, locals and spook story spinners have interpreted that phrase to mean that Mary hated the world enough for burying her alive to curse it with her final epitaph. Anybody caught in the graveyard after midnight or who desecrates her grave would die shortly thereafter.
The grave can be found in Evergreen Cemetery. Mary’s tombstone is at the back of the cemetery, on the path that parallels the iron wrought fence that separates the graveyard from Winthrop Avenue. Adapted with Permission from: The New England Grimpendium by J.W. Ocker