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Saint Mary's Cemetery is located at the northwest corner of Vernon Heights Boulevard and OH-423 in Marion, Ohio (Marion Township, Marion County). It is across the street from Marion Cemetery. The coordinates are 40° 34' 30" N, 83° 7' 36" W.
Saint Mary's Cemetery is a large Catholic cemetery that is still active. The cemetery is extremely well taken care of, there are hardly any broken gravestones. Not only is it an interesting place to visit because of the many old gravestones, but it's supposedly haunted by a Gypsy Queen!
Here is the legend: Queen Cleo Ann Judge was traveling through Marion County with a band of gypsys in the early 1900's. She died during childbirth on March 20, 1905, and was buried in the non-Catholic section of Saint Mary's Cemetery. She was supposedly buried in an upright position (standing up) with her coffin encased in concrete...this was a gypsy burial tradition. Her grave is marked with an old wooden cross, as well as a new stone marker. Today people claim to see her restless spirit wandering throughout the cemetery, especially near her grave. Also, it's very bad luck to vandalize her grave...she supposedly puts a curse on anyone who does!
Now for some facts regarding Ann Judge (with many thanks to SJ Koblentz of the Marion County Historical Society):
- Her legal name was Ann Judge, not Cleo Ann Judge. Ann Judge was a dancer who appeared on stage at the Saint Louis Worlds Fair in 1904.
- As reported in the Marion Star, Judge entered into a relationship with another performer who left her when he discovered that she was pregnant.
- Alone, she turned to another group of performers (Roma/Gypsy) at the fair, one of which declared that she wasn't Simply Ann Judge, but that she was also "Queen Cleo." She began touring with this band of travellers.
- While this band had been through Marion County before (prior to having Judge join them), they were allowed to make a winter camp in Big Island Township by a farmer who befriended them.
- Ann died from complications following childbirth - the baby did not survive either.
- The "gypsy" clan sought a local undertaker who would allow them to prepare the body of Ann and the body of her infant for burial. Telegrams were sent to other bands, and the body was displayed in the window of the undertakers until the mourners arrived in town. Then the clan removed the body and placed both remains in a coffin - the undertaker was not permitted to see this process - for burial and the excursion to the Catholic Cemetery proceeded.
- Ann is buried in unhallowed ground not because she was a gypsy, but because the baby was conceived out of wedlock and wasn't baptized in the Catholic Church.
- LEGEND has it that she was buried "standing up", but we can find no documented evidence to corroborate this.
- For several years following her death, the clans would covene in Marion on the anniversary of her death, but haven't done so (with public acknowledgement) for many, many years.
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