Mobster, wizard and petrified lady star in cemetery tour (NY)





Gather 'round, boys and girls, for a titillating Halloween tale: The Petrified Body of Lake Placid.

Mabel Douglass was the first dean of the New Jersey College for Women, which was renamed in her honor back in 1955. But in 1933, she was a retiree who went out in a canoe one day -- and simply disappeared.

Thirty years later, on a shelf about 90 feet down in the lake, her perfectly preserved body was discovered by divers. Her petrified remains were finally interred in Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery, where Mabel Douglass rests to this day.

Her grave, along with her story, are featured in the annual "Halloween at the Cemetery" tour, where Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman takes visitors on an eerie if entertaining trek through the graveyard where nearly 600,000 souls reside -- nearly double the population of Pittsburgh.

"This tour is driven by stories -- by murders, by spirits, by tragedies, all of that," said Richman, who started the end-of-October tours a dozen years ago. "Unfortunately for Miss Douglass, her story kind of lends itself to Halloween.

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