The running legend was that the place had been inundated by Satan worshippers who conducted rituals on what was called the "alter" (which is reality is just a barren, flat outcropping in the actual cemetery). Their rituals, coupled to the suicide of a young man from a tree in the cemetery (which of course never took place) was enough to taint the sacred grounds and turn them into a pathway to Hell.
What I was told was that there were eight gates, all with eerie spider web visages worked in iron, and that when you entered the cemetery you would have to pass through each gate in succession to reach the various parts of the place. As you would pass through each gate, the place would take on a creepier and more demonic atmosphere. Of course it all depended on the person telling it and how much they would embellish, but the last gate, the eighth gate, always had the same outcome for the poor soul who passed through it.
It was said that the eighth gate was the "Gate to Hell", and that when one passed through this gate there was no return. Even if they were to make it back out - which of course it was told nobody ever did - that the demons would follow them, and they would be thrown into an irreversible madness for the rest of their days.
In reality, this quiet and obscure cemetery is a peaceful place nestled in the woods near the Worcester Airport. I'll let trustee's own words speak the rest (from the website Spider Gates presented by Daniel Boudillion.
Visitor Policy & Trustee's Statement
Spider Gates has acquired quite a bit of Internet attention over the last several years. There are now numerous website devoted to its myths and rumors. Indeed, there is even a movie being planed that is said to be based on the rumored events of the cemetery. (www.dreamengine.com/Posters.html - see movie poster above) This high level of interest and subsequent unauthorized visitations of the cemetery have resulted in a correspondingly higher level of police surveillance of the area. In regards to visiting Spider Gates cemetery legally (it and the surrounding area are heavily posted with No Trespassing signs), I requested and received the following visitor policy on August 13, 2003 from the owners:
Policy Regarding the Friends Cemetery in Leicester Massachusetts
Worcester-Pleasant Street Friends Meeting Trustees Committee
14 November 2005
• The Friends Cemetery is a private cemetery, currently in use, owned and maintained by the Worcester Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
• Anyone may visit the cemetery during daylight hours. We ask that all visitors act in the same manner they would when visiting the burial place of their friends and relatives. The cemetery is closed during the hours of darkness.
• Photographs may be taken for personal use. Photographs, video, film, sound or other types of recording require prior written permission if they will be used on the Internet or for publication of any kind. Investigations of the paranormal are not permitted.
• Bicycles and motorized vehicles are prohibited.
• The cemetery is surrounded by the City of Worcester Reservoir property, which is posted with No Trespassing signs. The area is regularly patrolled. Violations of posted area may result in arrest.
In recent correspondence with the Trustees Committee of the Worcester-Pleasant Street Friends Meeting about the cemetery, they made the following points:
"The Friends Cemetery in Leicester, also known as ‘Spider Gates’ is still an active cemetery. We Friends have been somewhat amused, and, at the same time, somewhat concerned about recent publicity concerning supernatural phenomena at the site. Frankly, we view the site as the final resting place for our members. I have never experienced any supernatural phenomena there, nor has any member of the Meeting ever related having experienced such phenomena.
We ask that visitors to the site recognize and respect the fact that it is still an active cemetery and refrain from activities such as but not limited to: use of alcohol or drugs, parties, séances, sexual activities, vandalism and investigations of supernatural phenomena.
Satanists absolutely DO NOT have permission to use the site. We would consider any satanic type activity there to be totally inappropriate to the purpose of the cemetery. We would never give permission to any occult group to hold meetings there."
If you wish to visit Spider Gates legally and without hassle, it is my suggestion that you abide by the above rules, and also announce your visit to the Leicester Police Department. Otherwise, even though you may be there legally according to the above Visitor Policy, you will probably still receive a visit from the police if you are there.
For those interested in further information about Friends Cemetery, please direct your questions to:
Worcester-Pleasant Street Friends Meeting
901 Pleasant Street
Worcester, MA 01602.
I am planning my first visit to the cemetery soon. There is a nearby stone chamber that is of more interest to me as it parallels another stone chamber here in my hometown, but that's for another post.