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Ghosts Among Gravestones: Keystone Cemetery’s Haunted Heritage

Nestled deep within the heart of South Dakota, the Keystone Cemetery serves as a distressing testament to the inexorable march of time and the lingering echoes of lives once lived. Yet, concealed beneath its tranquil exterior and idyllic surroundings lies a narrative that has, on occasion, sent even the most fearless individuals quaking with apprehension. Far from being a conventional burial site, the Keystone Cemetery has earned its notoriety as one of the most haunted final resting places within the entire state.

Its rich historical backdrop, intertwined with chilling legends and inexplicable phenomena, has this masked sacred setting in an aura of mystery and fascination that continues to captivate both the inquisitive and the courageous alike. In the following paragraphs, we will venture into the eerie accounts of history to uncover the chilling tales and supernatural occurrences that have forever marked Keystone Cemetery as one of South Dakota’s most haunting places.

Keystone Cemetery in South Dakota has earned a spine-chilling reputation as possibly the most haunted final resting place, and the locals have no shortage of stories to back this claim. The origins of these eerie tales trace back to the construction of the iconic Mount Rushmore between 1927 and 1941. The fact that none of the 400 workers who bravely dangled from ropes and scaffolding while handling nearly 450,000 tons of rock perished during this monumental undertaking is nothing short of miraculous. Indeed, the incredible survival of all involved in this grand endeavor is a marvel in itself.

However, the intrigue deepens as we learn that many of the workers who passed away after the completion of Mount Rushmore found their final resting place in the Mountain View Cemetery, thoughtfully situated to overlook the iconic monument.

Encircled by a weathered fence, the cemetery exudes an air of tranquility, belying the captivating stories held within its confines. This allure is particularly pronounced on All-Hallows Eve when daring visitors embark on eerie excursions. Numerous accounts tell of ghostly apparitions roaming the grounds, with some fortunate souls even claiming to have captured these spectral figures on film—although, I must admit, my search yielded no such evidence. Legend has it that the hills echo with the sound of laughter, leading some to wonder if it might be the spirited chuckles of “Wild Horse” Harry Hardin, known for his playful poses with his trusty mule when greeting visitors. Harry fancifully declared himself a “Custer Massacre Survivor,” yet a glance at his gravestone reveals he was born two decades after that fateful day. Could it be that he, in the end, has the last laugh in this enigmatic tale?

Could it be that the spectral figures are connected to the cemetery’s very first occupant? The remains of Catherine Haynes, originally laid to rest in the Harney Cemetery several miles distant, were exhumed and relocated to the Mountain View Cemetery. One can’t help but wonder if her spirit, too, roams these grounds, perhaps yearning for peace in the afterlife.

Yet, amidst these mysteries, one gravestone stands out as particularly intriguing—Bobby Buntrock’s. As a young boy, he portrayed the endearing character of Harold Baxter on the 1960s television series ‘Hazel.’ Tragically, his life was cut short in a car accident on the Keystone Bridge in 1974, an eerie coincidence given that his mother had met a similar fate on the same bridge just a year earlier. The enigmatic connection between their untimely deaths adds an extra layer of intrigue to this haunting tale.
A visitor to the cemetery commented:

“Friends and I went to this cemetery years ago. I took many pictures with my digital camera and found nothing on the pictures, but I took a video on my cell phone. Unfortunately, I no longer have the video but after reviewing the video there something big and white shot across the screen of my phone. Also, on our way out, all of our phones stopped working – said there was service, but when we tried to call out, our phone just shut off.” – Caitlin from B102.7

If you feel drawn to explore the mysteries of Keystone Cemetery, you can find it nestled just off Highway 16A, accessible via Cemetery Road. However, as you embark on this journey into the realm of the supernatural, it’s essential to remember that this place is, above all else, a final resting place for the dearly departed. As you traverse the hallowed grounds and ponder the tales of its ghostly inhabitants, do so with the utmost respect and reverence, honoring the memory of those who rest there in eternal peace.