McDowell County

Martin Cemetery Mystery

Photo courtesy of Susan Rentz

From the time I was old enough to sit up and look out my grandparents bedroom window until I entered the military at age 19 in 1963, these events happened  infrequently. My family (4 of us) lived less than 50 yds from my grandmother and g-father's house (the first and second house in Sandy Huff after crossing the rail road tracks). My grandparents house was directly below the graveyard (Martin Cemetery) and had a complete view of the whole mountain side approximately 100 yards away and just above the county road.

On certain nights when my g-father felt the time was right he would let us know to come to his house to watch the lights come out of the ground. We would go to their house and sometimes have popcorn while waiting for the lights to appear. The lights didn't always appear, but many times they did. What we were seeing was orbs of light. Some as big as basket balls and some as small as a soft ball. They would emerge from the ground slowly and begin to move from place to place inside the graveyard area. As we would watch it would seem that they were actually frolicking and playing as they circled each other, sped toward each other but never touching one another. Only the smaller orbs seemed to be playful, the larger ones just moved around each other so as to give a sense of visiting or communicating--maybe they were or maybe they weren't who knows?

Only once did we see one of the orbs of light seem to leave the immediate area of the cemetery, it headed in the direction of the school. I told my g-father where it was going and he said he had never seen one of them leave the area, and that there must be another grave out there where the orb had gone to. They next day my g-father and I went upon the mountain to search where the orb had stopped "seemingly off the area of the cemetery" and there we found an unmarked grave in that area that no one knew about.

When I was around 16 or 17 and we were watching the lights one night. I was the only one sitting at the window and watching, the others were playing cards and would only occasionally glance out the window. I was told never to open the window while the lights were in the air or they would go back into the ground. I decided to see if I could open the window while watching so I lay my arms on the window and leaned toward it and ever so slightly eased the window up. As it opened no more than a 16th of an inch my g-father told me to "close that window".

He could not see the window was open from where he was sitting but he could see out the window and see the lights going back into the ground. I hadn't seen the lights going back into the ground as my concentration was on opening the window without being caught.

Around that time I really got curious, wondering if the lights actually had any intelligence. After watching all those years it seemed they did have intelligence. I tried different times and strategies to see if they could be communicated with but to no avail. Over the years I tried many different ways to get close to them, even going and sitting inside the cemetery before dark and waiting till after dark for them to come out "but while I was there they never showed up".

There was a situation concerning one of the small orbs that was pretty comical to all of us except my g-father who seemed to be very protective of the lights. One evening just before dark my grandparents, my aunt, my mother, step father and uncle were sitting and talking when my mother said she needed her other pair of shoes and asked where they were. My grandmother told her they were in the closet under the stairs.

Mom and my aunt melva went into the other room and opened the door to the closet. They both screamed and came running back out of the room pushing and shoving each other in their haste, Melva being crippled and using crutches was behind mom and forgot the step down at the door, fell and grabbed mom and landed on top of her as they entered the room yelling at the top of their lungs "daddy there's one of those things in the closet. g-pa asked "what things"? With mom and my aunt both still excited they blurted out "one of those lights". g-pa asked me to go see what they were so excited about. I slowly went into the room and to the closet, I was a bit leery myself but I had tried many times to get closer to those lights with no luck. So I was not about to wait for someone else to be asked to go.

When I got to the closet and pulled open the door there was a light in the back left corner, a round ball of light the size of a grapefruit. It was just sitting there. I turned around, raised my voice to tell g-pa there was indeed a light in the closet. He said to close the door and come back into the room with the family. I did as told and we waited about 20 minutes and g-pa told me to go and see if the orb had gone. I re-entered the room and looked into the closet and nothing was there.

As I started to leave I glanced around the large room I was standing in and saw an orb up in the top of the left corner of the room. I stood watching for a time and noticed the orb was shimmering, sort of oscillating. I told mom and melva my aunt what I was seeing, Mom had gotten a bit of bravado from somewhere and came into the room to see. Then a loud voice said

" get the he-- out of there you are scaring it"which we immediately did, cause when g-pa spoke we knew to heed his advice.  That was as near as I ever got to those lights that glow in the dark but do not give off any light onto any other thing and do not shine on anything, they just move all over the cemetery, but if watched when they go back into the ground they will go back to the same place as they emerged from and then enter the ground, this is done very, very, quickly.  And they are gone.

I asked my sister rose did she remember those lights and she said she did but not to the extent of myself. I was into them much more than any of the rest of my family.In the 60s after my g-parents passed away, the old homestead was sold to a teacher and family friend who still lives there, I have wondered many times if she may have through the years witnessed any of the playful orbs? We tried at different times to show those lights to other people outside of the family, we would have them come to g-parents house and remain inside, but the orbs never came out when other than family were present.

Today none of my family who witnessed these happenings are alive to verify that these things existed except my sister and myself M.H. (Mose) Kelley born: 1943 and rose Kelley Ashley born: 1946. I wanted to tell this story to find if any others may have experienced the same thing. This is not a story made up or hearsay this was my own story as I experienced it. If you have experienced the same things, please contact me, Mose Kelley at "



McDowell County