2537 Turlock Road,
WeirdCA.com received the following email from Wendy Vining-Nichols about the Hopeton Graveyard:
I came across your website and thought to myself, THIS IS PERFECT! Finally a place I can share this crazy story!
My Fiancee and I have a hobby of going to local Cemeteries late at night. Kind of a Central Valley Ghost Hunters meets Dumb and Dumber, to be honest. Just us stumbling around giggling and taking pictures, reading tombstones, taping ourselves asking questions and cracking completely inappropriate jokes.... you know, the things completely sober people normally wouldn't do. (But we DO NOT drink. EVER) We have gone to all the Cemetaries in Merced and Winton, and were looking for something close by, but different.
Lonny, my fiancee, heard from a coworker that there was a tiny town about 30 minutes drive down Highway 59, toward Snelling. The Coworker told him that the town had once had an operating cemetery but it had closed in the 1800's. The Cemetery was still there, but abandoned and falling down. She said that even in the daylight it was creepy and foreboding, she couldn't imagine how much worse it would be at night. She gave him some vague directions, we Map-Quested it, and went on Friday night.
The place is located on a farm now, and to get there you have to drive thru a gate. On the left side of the gate there is a newish looking sign that reads "Forlorn Hope Population 300 Renamed in 1866 to Hopeton", and the opposite side lists the name and address of the farm. When we pulled up, our Cell signals that had been strong suddenly cut off completely. We saw something in the middle of the road and I wondered what it was. It's head rotated COMPLETELY around and we saw that it was a huge grey barn owl, just sitting in the direct center of the road. Staring at us, not moving. We kind of started at it and it stared at ud for about 5 minutes then it flew off. I have to admit it kind of set the tone for the rest of the night.
We drove about a half of a city block down this roughly paved road, and to the left there was suddenly a lone Marble tombstone, shaped like the Washington Monument, but probably about 6 feet tall. we slowed and saw the chain-link gate and a wooden sign, about as new as the sign at the gate, that read "Hopeton Cemetery" and a date from the 1800's. (I forgot what it was!) As we drove a few more meters, there was a gap in the fencing that you could drive thru and drive up into the Cemetery. You can tell from the way it is worn that many other's have driven this way before. We parked and grabbed a flashlight, a walking stick, and some ciggies and set off.
Looking around the place, the only standing tombstone was the Obelisk, and it was set apart from all the other remaining tombstones by about 20 feet or so. The locals had just finished clearing away all the weeds and detrius that had been on the ground, because there was a large pile of foliage and branches in the back, and the ground was all dusty clay-like hardpacked dirt. there was a barbed wire fence around two sides, and a canal formed the right fence, with a small area to drive over it, where we came in. There were maybe four or five tall old Oak trees IN the Cemetery, but outside the fence on the left side and behind it was completely overgrown with weeds, grass, bushes, trees both old and new, and dead branches and other trash. We had kicked up a lot of dust when we drove in, so what with the lack of Moonlight and the inability of the Flashlight to penetrate the dust and foliage, we couldnt see what might be watching us in the overgrowth. We tried to walk over to the Obelisk, but kept hearing movement of something large in the leaves. Since that grave was right near the fence, we changed our minds about walking over to it, but did notice that there were several flowers around the base and candles and vases, and that the date you could read on the side of it was 1884.
We tried to take a few pictures, but our cell phones lost complete power sometime after we got into the Cemetery. Lonny decided that since that might be Mountain Lion Country, we were going to stay IN the truck and drive around instead of walking around. We drove around a bit, and there were roughly 8 to 10 graves, all of them had fallen over somehow, and most were completely broken into pieces. Except for one small grave. A grave for a 28 day old infant named Lisa or Lucy. We noticed that the whole time we were there that it felt like someone was standing right behind us, Mad-dogging us (Giving you a hostile dirty look and attempting to provoke you into a fight) We both felt like the residents of the Cemetery wanted us GONE, right now. I urged Lonny to stop at the infant's grave, and got out. it is in the middle of a large open area, all alone. I lit a candle and some insense and left an apple, the whole time whispering over and over "We arent here to violate you, we arent going to disrespect you, we just want to honor you, we just want to see you. We want to leave you in Peace." After I did that, I swear we both felt like the hostility was a bit less, and we were a lot less anxious.
When we left the graveyard, we stopped and looked back and there was a blueish glowing mist, really low to the ground, that we could see thru the dust, sort of near the back of the graveyard. it was NOT the candle I had left, because that grave was near the middle and the mist was closer to the brush pile then the Baby's grave. When we left, there was no owl, no problems with the Truck or anything, but as soon as we got back on Highway 59 our phones turned back on again, and there was a cell signal. We both got what we wanted that night, a little scare and a lot of nervous laughter.
But I thought that this story might make you laugh too. Here is the Wikipedia on the City of Hopeton.
If you have any questions, contact me here. thank you!
Amusing side note Hopeton use to be called Forlorn Hope and Hopetown.
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- Jo Beth Vannatta of Monterey , Ca on 2018-11-24 said:
- To anonymous California. My great great great grandparents buried there. They are the Silmans. I'm from Rachel Silman Johnson line. I would love to meet someone from this side of my family!
- Anonymous of California on 2017-03-05 said:
- Our family were the first families in the town of Hopeton - There is nothing weird about the graveyard - The town is gone now - except for the Church - Our family built it - which was a Cheese Factory in the beginning- please respect the graveyard -its next to a local dairy
- MELISSA of LAKEWOOD, COLORADO on 2016-10-10 said:
- WE LIVED ON THAT FARM WHEN I WAS YOUNGER AND HAD TO WALK BY THE CEMETERY ON MY WAY TO THE END OF THE LANE TO CATCH THE BUS. MY MOM USED TO WALK US KIDS DOWN TO IT AND CLEAN OFF SOME OF THE HEADSTONES. THE ONLY THING SCARY ABOUT IT WAS THE BULLS THAT WERE IN THE PASTURE WHO WOULD WANT TO CHARGE YOU WHILE YOU WERE PICKING BERRIES. I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED OLD CEMETERIES. THERE ALSO USED TO BE WOODEND HEAD STONES THERE. MOST OF THE HEAD STONES HAVE BEEN DAMAGED BY FARM EQUIPMENT. WE WOULD TRY AND PIECE THEM BACK TOGETHER AT TIMES.
- Linda of Crows Landing, California on 2016-06-24 said:
- I have been to the cemetery and remember nothing weird about it. It is old and if I remember correctly, there were Cowboys buried there like Wild Bill or Billy the Kid. Or someone with the same name. It is Historical not weird or scary.
- Anonymous on 2013-11-21 said:
- Hopeton cemetery is not weird or anything strange, it is the final resting place of my grandfathers and my mom. Please treat it with respect.
- Joshua J Esparza of Fresno, CA on 2013-10-21 said:
- I'm going to go visit the Hopeton graveyard within the next few days, should be fun. thanks for the location
Last Edited: 2012-10-24