; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Building Homes Over Intact Graves

Those readers who remember Steven Spielberg's 'Poltergeist' film will recall the main premise of the story...that a residential neighborhood was constructed on top of a cemetery in which the graves remained. Well...this may have actually occurred according to an article from Spokane, WA:

SPOKANE, Wash. - In this week's edition of "Haunted Fridays," KREM2 looked into the history of Browne's Addition. Specifically, we looked into whether developers at Browne's Addition broke the first rule of horror movie history.

Rule number one, never build property on top of an old graveyard. According to records, that is exactly what happened. One apartment complex in Browne's Addition used to be the site of a burial ground.

When starting a new housing development, problems can arise if the area you are building on was originally a burial site.

Spokane native Craig T. Nelson found that out the hard way in the movie "Poltergeist." Then, in the movie "The Shining" the characters learned that a Native American burial ground is the last place you would want to develop.

However, according to records, a Spokane developer may have done just that in 1987 when three skeletons were unearthed while constructing a new condominium in Browne's Addition.

"It's kind of creepy," said Edward Shafer who lives near the apartments.

Some local experts said the skeletons were Native American remains, but historian Tony Bamonte has his doubts.

"I immediately knew it wasn't correct," Bamonte said. "Prior to 1883, there was definitely a cemetery there."

As strange as it sounds, the earliest settlers claimed the cemetery was already there when they arrived. That could explain why that was not the first time skeletons were discovered on Coeur d'Alene street. In 1910, two other coffins were unearthed while crews were digging out a sewer line, according to records.

"You could safely say that the people buried in the Browne's Addition Cemetery were undoubtedly the first residents of Spokane," Bamonte said.

Though most of the remains were relocated in the 1880s, it is impossible to tell how many were left behind. At least until the next construction project breaks ground. - Apartments built on burial ground


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