Girl in Blue

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in cemeteries, ghosts and all things macabre. In middle school I remember pouring over Haunted Ohio books, and day dreaming about visiting all the spooky places Ohio has. Many years later I’m still interested in these types things except with a little (okay, a lot) less emphasis on the haunted, I’m a big fraidy cat. But I still love cemeteries. I love looking at all the old headstones, figuring out how old people were and pondering what they were like.

I found Heather’s blog Mortuary Report a little while ago when she commented on a photo of my mine on instagram. I was instantly smitten with her blog and read through a lot of it. While browsing I found a post about the girl in blue.

“For sixty years, the young lady who had been hit by a train near aboarding house in Willoughby was simply known as “The Girl in Blue.” No one knew who she was, where she was going or who to contact about her death on Christmas Eve 1933. She carried no identification, only 90cents and a ticket to Corry, Pennsylvania. She wore a blue dress andblue shoes.

McMahon Funeral Home adopted this young lady’s funeral arrangements. Local donations paid for a headstone and flowers. More than 3,000 local residents went to McMahon Funeral Home to bid farewell to a girl they never knew.

Her identity remained amystery of national interest until a local newspaper story commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of her death sparked a reader to contact a title agency that researched records from the sale of properties in Warren County, Pennsylvania. State authorities determined that Josephine Klimczak was The Girl in Blue. Lake County records, however, have not changed the death certificate; she is still listed as The Girl in Blue” -from findagrave.com

When I read where this headstone was – I had to visit! Willoughby, Ohio is only a short jaunt away from my house! I set out that week to find the girl in blue. It was so stinken hot that day! I had read on some review site (yep, people review cemeteries!) that the headstone was in one of the far corners of the cemetery. I hunted and hunted for it until finally realizing I couldn’t spend all day out in that heat looking. I got on my phone and found a photo of the headstone and picked some identifying features around it so I could try and spot those. After a few minutes I found a tree with three trunks and sure enough right under it – there she was!

Judging by the pennies, and mint I’d say she’s well visited! I see in other pictures of her headstone that there used to be flowers but when I visited there were none. I’d like to go plant some soon!

I wonder how I went so long without knowing how close I was to something so neat! I went to the book store afterwards and grabbed a big stack of books about strange things in Ohio to plot some trips to make in the future. I’m so excited to visit all the other awesome things I didn’t even know that my state housed.
xoxo

Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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  • That's really neat! I'm also a big fan of cemeteries; I actually celebrated my anniversary in a former relationship at Toronto's oldest cemetery, the Necropolis. The town I'm living in now has lots of old burial grounds and does ghost walks at night, but I haven't gone on one yet.
    –Erin
    http://www.predictionspast.blogspot.ca

  • I love this post so much! I clicked over to Heather's blog and found a new and quirky favorite. Also, my husband and I have been interested in graves for years. We live near Salem, Ma, so the graveyard where many of the people prosecuted in the Salem Witch Trials is a place we've visited. On a less touristy note, we hunted down the grave of G. G. Allin in a small New Hampshire town, and were definitely not the only visitors. He doesn't read blogs, but I know he'll love reading about The Girl in Blue. Thank you for sharing such an interesting little day with us!

  • you should visit edinburgh, scotland one day. known for all things haunted. Lots of ghost tours! ecpecially mary kings close. -Fee p.s huge fan of your blog btw! xx

  • I too have a fear and fascination with the spirit world. I have many ghost stories of my own to tell. And I love the quietude and beauty of cemeteries. Lately I have been watching a whole lot of Celebrity Ghost Stories. I watch it late at night and then I'm totally spooked when I go to bed and have to click off the light and run upstairs as fast as I can! And yet, I keep doing it night after night (silly me)! The Girl in Blue is a great story 🙂

  • I am so glad to know I'm not the only one who loves cemeteries! And this is such an interesting story, that so many people have come to pay their respects for her. It's sweet, in a way.

    If you ever get a chance to come down to the Gulf Coast of Texas, there is an amazing cemetery in Galveston that has graves dating back to the late 1800's. There are so many beautiful statues and gravestones, as well as a few mausoleums. It's especially great for photography projects – I ended up doing the entire photography portion of my portfolio for college there! Definitely a must-go spot for cemetery-lovers in the area.

  • Oh my goodness, why must I discover more things we have in common?? I love ghostly things and cemeteries!!! I love this story, things happening in the early 1900's are so fascinating. I'm sure there are some interesting things I should look up that has happened in Texas.

    I do know a great story about I believe it was a courthouse in Waxahachie, Texas. I've been there once and took photos, I don't know if I still have them. The story goes that a man building the courthouse was in love with a certain woman, there are all these stone faces along the entire building, starting out looking like cherubs, and as you go around they start looking distorted and like monsters because the lady broke the mans heart, the last one looks like a vagina. They are all high up and I was young and had a crappy digital camera at the time, I really should go back so I can get a better look at them. Now I need to google this story and see what I can find…

    xomando

  • How interesting, but also quite sad. I got a little misty eyed over the fact that for so long no one knew who she was.
    I love the flowers etched on her tombstone and all the change around it. I am so glad that she wasn't forgotten!!
    Beautiful post!! xo

  • my husband and i just got married in a cemetery two weeks ago and it was amazing 🙂

    have you ever done a "ghost tour" around cleveland or near you? they are pretty neat and usually happen around halloween. i went on one that took us to sites where the torso murder left body parts (!!!), lakeview cemetery (with several supposed haunted graves, including the haserot angel and a momument for a school fire that killed dozens of children) and even the basement of the agora concert hall!

    also, have you ever done the mansfield reformatory tour? its something i've been meaning to do for years — i'd like to do the one where you get to stay overnight!

  • That's really cool. I love cemeteries. My mom used to take me on walks through them when I was little so they've never freaked me out or anything. I love exploring and looking at the headstones -the older the better. And sometimes I just like to sit on a hill and read.

  • When I saw the photo of all the headstones I got goosebumps.
    I don't know why, but I can't visit cemeteries. I feel terrified, but I read this story and I really enjoyed it. I think it's lovely people are still visiting the girl in blue. I would too, if I could!

  • kaylah, what a fascinating story! i'm a big fraidy cat too, but i do like cemeteries. where we used to live, we would walk in one near our house. it was so peaceful & pretty. i would like to make up stories or think about the people there who once lived. 🙂

  • I adore to take strolls in cemeteries, specially when I'm travelling outside Puerto Rico because they are all so different and the sun hits less. Is so very nice to read you found her tomb and it would be awesome to see her surrounded by flowers again.

  • Cool! It's nice that she has such devoted visitors so long after her death. I like to visit old cemeteries too – when I lived in Chicago, I had to visit Graceland and the legendary "Inez Clarke," a statue of a little girl who was supposedly struck by lightning, and in storms the statue "disappears" inside it's case: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6343132
    I love stuff like that!
    If you're ever in Chicago, definitely take a walk through Graceland. This creeptastic thing is there too:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Silence_(sculpture)

  • I love cemeteries, I used to spend hours in the local one with my old "aunt" who told me stories about my relatives, and looked at all the headstones. This has been with me in adulthood too. I also love visiting them while travelling. One of the most interesting ones is Pere Lachaise (http://www.pere-lachaise.com/) in Paris, bur when I was in Paris I also stopped by a very small cemetery, which apparently was the local hangout place for cats, on a lot of the headstone there was cats… it had such a great vibe, and I wish that I had a camera or at least the name of the cemeterie so I could go back.

  • Awesome and interesting post! Cemeteries are such beautiful and peaceful places, I really admire the work people do to keep them that way. Would love to to leave a penny for the girl in blue!

  • Wow, that is so neat! I love things like this also but I am definitely more of a 'haunted' person! I have done about 3 ghost hunting events and I would love to do more but those things can be kind of pricey! Can't wait to hear more of your adventures on this topic!

  • What an interesting story. It's amazing that so many people came out to pay respects to someone that they didn't know. Kind of puts faith back in humanity.

    After living in a "haunted" apartment for a while I've become interested in ghosts and all that stuff. I go back and forth on the whole idea. You took some lovely photos of the cemetery, thanks for sharing!

  • Oh my, I have got a little thing for cemeteries as well, there's one amazing with catacombs in Birmingham, UK. Some amazing gravestones there! The Girl in Blue is just a breathtaking story! PS-I used to read your blog ages ago and now I found it again! I used to have it bookmarked on my old computer, now I've got my blog as well I can actually follow you, yay! xx

  • Lovely post, I'm obsessed with cemeteries too! I love walking round them, I find them romantic and peaceful. A few years back I visited Highgate Cemetary in London, the oldest and prob most famous in UK. It was AMAZING! it's SO old and a lot of the graves are ruined and it's all overgrown. Just wow! If you are ever in the UK it's a must, but for now, check out their site… http://www.highgate-cemetery.org

  • How fascinating! I'm glad that they figured out who she was. Would love to know where she was going when she tried to get on that train. There has to be another equally fascinating story behind that.

  • I couldn't figure out why the heck I was getting some much traffic until I stopped by for my daily afternoon check of your blog! Thank you! Obviously we need to figure out some sort of wonderful cemetery excursion.

    This headstone is as lovely as it looked in that photo I posted. I can't believe how many people showed up and helped cover the costs of her services. Death really brings out the best and the worst in people, and the humanity in this story makes my heart happy.

  • So strange, yet so intriguing. I wonder where her loved ones were and how they coped with losing her. I hope they could be comforted knowing that the girl in blue was taken care of respectfully.

  • You should check out the song Graveyard Girl by M83, I think it captures this post pretty well, not to mention it's a darn good song.

  • I live in the Dayton area where the Haunted Ohio author is from! There's a big, beautiful old cemetary here that I love to visit and take pictures. Nice to have a kindred spirit.

  • Wow, this is so cool! I love exploring cemeteries and finding lots of interesting headstones and grave markers. I recently found one in my area that is a headstone for two friends…from like the 1950's. It says "Friends Forever" and there are two ladies names next to each other. It was so sweet to stumble upon.

  • Hello! I have lived in Ohio my whole life. Currently I live 10 minutes away from Columbus, but I am FROM Granville, Ohio. In Granville we have a haunted hotel called the Buxton Inn. Apparently certain rooms of the Inn are haunted and there have been reports of ghosts. Maybe if you ever find yourself closer to central Ohio you could pay them a visit!

  • DEFINITELY check out Waynesville, Ohio! I was obsessed with the Haunted Ohio books as well growing up and was lucky enough to grow up in Waynesville, "the most haunted town in Ohio". In those books we always got our own chapter which was well-deserved because my childhood is filled with spooky stories!

  • How interesting. I'm glad she was identified so that she was remembered. 🙂 Exploring graveyards can really lead you to some interesting stories. The graveyard near my grandparent's house in Iowa was definitely a memorable experience.

  • I love this story, I used to oogle over haunted ohio books so so much, and I have numerous cemetary pictures, its so serene in a cemetary, yet almost chilling. I love it!

    xo-meg
    guppyandwhaleshark.blogspot.com

  • What an amazing story, especially the fact that the town donated for her burial. If you are in the mood for a road trip you should head to the UP of Michigan and see the Paulding Light, it's a pretty crazy experience!

  • I always find it touching when people come together to remember someone unknown, to honor them as a person when they don't even know who they are. How neat that you got to see that story in person!

  • So cool! I grew up in Willoughby and spent many-a-day after school hanging out at her grave, doing homework. (when I was supposed to be at the library) Im a weirdo…

  • The Haunted Ohio books were a frequent read of mine as a child, too! I loved them so! When I was around nine, I actually got the opportunity to meet the author, Chris Woodyard. She spoke at my school. I won a paper airplane decorating contest and was awarded a front row seat. Definitely one of the highlights of my childhood.

    Visiting these sites is a wonderful idea! I think you've inspired me to do some Ohio ghost hunting of my own!

  • I grew up right in front of a cemetery and my back yard nestled against the woods leading up to it. So I have a special love for cemeteries too! My family used to go on walks in there, I learned how to ride a bike in there. This post REALLY makes me want to visit this gravesite. —Totally random note— 🙂 Have a great day