It is believed that at night the children buried in the nearby cemetery claim the park for their play.
The Children Come Out at Night...
Many locals know the playground, located in Maple Hill Park, as the 'Dead Children's Playground' due to the reportedly high level of ghostly activity that has been experienced there. Children playing, children calling out to each other, mothers calling their children's names, the playful footfalls of running children... all of these events have been experienced by many people who enter the playground after dark. It is believed that the most active time is between the hours of 10pm and 3am, as the children reclaim the park from the living, so they too can enjoy their play.
Maple Hill Cemetery
Later the cemetery was expanded to encompass the nearby private cemetery of the Pope family. Many of the new burials at this time were of Confederate and Union Soldiers who died during the Civil War. Over the years the cemetery grew and grew with new land purchases in order to keep up with the growing city.
The cemetery still needs new land and in 2007 it made the attempt at taking over the local park resulting in the public outcry.
The Dead Children's Playground, aside from its reputation of a haunting ground for deceased children, also has another macabre tale attached to it, though this one probably falls more into the realm of urban legend.
Horrific Crimes or Urban Legends?
Come the 1960's a unknown person made use of the old quarries and the thick plant growth for their own dark opportunities.
A series of child disappearances began to be reported in Huntsville, and, with none of the children turning up, it was soon feared a child murderer was prowling the neighbourhoods. These fears were soon given substance when a small skull was found by someone walking through the abandoned quarries. On investigation several skeletons were recovered, along with the small corpses from fresher murders.
It was never determined who the murderer was but it was discovered that the children were not simply taken and killed, they rather they showed signs of a long detainment, with malnourishment and partly healed wounds found on the bodies of the more recent victims.
With the discovery of the bodies the disappearances stopped and the tragedies all but removed from the memories of those who lived in fear for their own children.
Many of the childrens remains, being local, were buried in the adjoining Maple Hills Cemetery. In 1985, twenty years after those terrible events, the quarries and surrounding land were turned into Maple Hill Park and the original play equipment was erected.
Or so the legends say...
Come 10pm you might be lucky enough to witness the vestiges of play, the swings move as if occupied and mothers calling out the names of their lost children.
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