CLEVELAND, TENNESSEE, USA -- If you venture into the cemetery behind St. Luke's Episcopal Church in the tiny town of Cleveland, Tennessee, you can't miss the grand white marble mausoleum. But look a little closer -- the marble isn't all white. In places, reddish-pink splotches mar the white marble. The stains have been a permanent fixture on the Craigmiles crypt since soon after it was built in the 1870's.
Local legend says the marks are bloodstains that commemorate a family history filled with tragedy. The sad story began in 1871 when young Nina Craigmiles died in a buggy accident. Her devastated grandfather built the elaborate mausoleum in her honor. Soon after her interment, the infamous stains appeared.
Sorrow continued for the Craigmiles. An infant son died within hours of his birth, Nina's grandfather John Craigmiles died of food poisoning and his wife Adelle succumbed to injuries sustained when she was hit by a car in 1928. As each member of the family joined the others in the crypt, the stains grew deeper and more prominent.
Locals have gotten used to the phenomenon, but it wasn't always so. In the early days they tried scrubbing them off and even went so far as to replace some of the pink stained marble blocks. It did no good, the stains simply reappeared.
If you're in or near Cleveland, take a side trip and see for yourself. St. Luke's Episcopal Church is located at 320 Broad Ave. N.W.
For more things to see and do in the Cleveland area, contact the Cleveland/Bradley Convention and Visitors Bureau at 423-472-6587 or click here to visit their website.