Lutheran Ridge Cemetery – Contribution

11/10/2005: Thanks to Tim Steinman and his father Larry for sharing this story about the legends of Lutheran Ridge Cemetery’s mysterious Copley tombstone in Carey. In 1958, Larry and two friends went to the cemetery to investigate the legends, taking the photos below. Did the legend hold true? Check out the story below.

The story goes that a wife, Dianah V. Copley, was found dead. She had been strangled. No murder charges were ever brought up because of the lack of evidence. Today, her husband, Irvin Copley, is also deceased and they are buried together under one tombstone that reads husband and wife. The solid marble stone is near the road. It’s said that if you park in front of the tombstone with the headlights on, there are “unnatural lines” at the top of the marble stone that depict the two individuals. They are facing each other and the husband’s hands are wrapped tightly around the wife’s throat. The tombstone has been altered more than once, but the image still returns. The cemetery (Lutheran Ridge Cemetery, Carey, Ohio) has also blocked off the area so that cars can no longer park in front of the headstone. There was a town legend about this tombstone that if you sat upon it or touched it, you would be cursed. However, no one knows what the curse entails.

In 1958, my father (Larry Steinman) and two of his high school friends found the tombstone that they had heard talk about, and the real, actual pictures were taken that day at Lutheran Ridge Cemetery. In the pictures, if you look at the tombstone on the right, there is a side silhouette view of Dianah V. Copley with her husband Irvin Copley on the left (side view also) with what looks like his hands around her neck just below her name on the tombstone. That day in 1958, my father and his friend both sat on the tombstone and touched it. Were they cursed? My father’s friend, with the last name from what he remembers was Baldwin, was involved in a fatal car accident a month later and died after having his head decapitated. As for my father, he thinks his curse was the past seventy years of his life, filled with greater than normal bad luck that has cursed him from sitting on the Copley tombstone. Growing up, my father always told us kids the story of the Copley tombstone, and we were quick to dismiss it because we always thought he was just trying to scare us.

Finally one day in 1989, we were up around Carey, Ohio, visiting family and we decided to try and go find the Copley tombstone. It took most of the day to try to find the cemetery because it had changed so much over the years, but we finally found it. Some of the changes made are now that you can’t drive up as close to it as my father once did back in 1958. You had to park in a parking lot and walk a ways to get to the entrance of the cemetery. Once there, we spent a great amount of time trying to find the tombstone and it all seemed hopeless, until we finally found it, and when we did, it was nothing like it used to be. In the picture from 1958, you can see that there are two small shrubs on each side of it laterally and in 1989, they were about fifteen feet tall and much bigger. The tombstone, over the years, was changed several times and the faces kept reappearing each time. In 1989 when I saw the tombstone, it was one that was hidden between shrubs and the tombstone was very small, about six inches by six inches, and so small that there was no room for nothing. No faces anymore.