Goodhue, Minnesota

The tales of a ghost in the cemetery near Holy Trinity Church, plagued the little town of Goodhue during the years of the 1920's. Do spirits still haunt the place, has the ghost faded away with time, or was the spirit simply the result of an overactive imagination?

A man named Tunis Parkin was the first to see the ghost. He was the town painter, a respected and upstanding young man, and he was walking past the graveyard one night on his way to the home of a young lady that he had been courting. As he approached the apple orchard beside the church, he froze with fear. He was being followed from the cemetery and he caught a glimpse of his pursuer... a glowing apparition that was shrouded in mist. He walked quickly but the ghost seemed to follow. Finally, Parkin broke into a run and didn't stop until he reached the home of the town Marshall, T.W. Taylor. He hurriedly told his tale to the lawman and while Taylor expressed some doubts, he went and investigated the churchyard. But found nothing to lead him to believe the place was haunted.

In the morning, every resident of Goodhue knew about Tunis Parkin's ghost. Most mere skeptical, saying that he had been spooked by his shadow. But many were taking no chances... young ladies in town were told to not be unescorted near the churchyard after dark.

Two weeks later, another man, Thomas McNamara, had his own encounter with the ghost. He was walking home from a dance and passing the orchard when the apparition appeared and approached him. He panicked and ran from the area.

Tom Riley also met the ghost in the graveyard. He was walking along the edge of the cemetery when the pale form appeared among the tombstones. Riley ran all of the way to the main street of town, yelling that he had seen the ghost, although some claimed that it had only been s white cow owned by a local farmer. Nearly every day brought new stories and encounters with the spirit, although some of them were easily explained away as nothing but high spirits, anxiety and just plain foolishness.

Finally, S.W. Taylor decided to act. He was the man responsible for law and order in Goodhue and he planned to settle the ghost business once and for all. His plan was a simple one.... he and Tunis Parker would hide in the apple orchard and capture the ghost.

Unknown to Taylor, as he and Parkin hid in the bushes, Parkin had also alerted all of his friends to the ambush and they too waited close by with all of the guns they could muster together, also waiting for the ghost to appear.

The evening was dark and quiet and Taylor and Larkin sat silently side by side in the trees. Nothing was happening and no ghost had appeared. A couple of hours had passed, and then suddenly, a terrifying scream pierced the darkness. Taylor was ready! He sprang forward and grabbed the culprit..... two apple tree branches that were scraping together and causing the wailing sound whenever the wind blew. Across the orchard, the ambush party also went into action when they heard Marshall Taylor running through the trees. Thinking he was the ghost, they attacked, but luckily no shots were fired.

Finally, when dawn came, Taylor and the deputies gave up the search, finding nothing to make them believe the churchyard was haunted. Apparently, their efforts did have some effect though.... the ghost was never heard from again.

Goodhue, Minnesota is located in the southeast corner of the state, not far from the Wisconsin border. The tale of the Holy Trinity Churchyard ghost is an often repeated legend of the area.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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