Hearse Legends and Lore – Separating Truth from Fiction

April 19, 2018 | | Comments 0

Hearses and funeral cars are probably the most storied vehicles in the history of our culture. Even before the modern-day hearses, the mystique of death and the horse-drawn carriage has always grabbed peoples’ attention. That’s why there are so many legends about hearses and funeral cars in our society.

We’ve brought together some of the most popular legends to find out how the stories came to be, and whether or not there’s any truth to them.

The Haunted Mansion Hearse (Disneyland, FL)

One of the most common legends concerning a hearse takes us to Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride. Before entering the ride, an old-fashioned horse-drawn hearse provides an ominous feeling to those wanting a thrill. According to legend and rumors, this is the same carriage that transported the body of Brigham Young, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His funeral took place in 1877, making this hearse more than a century old.

Although this is one of the most prominent hearse legends, it is not true. We know this because there was no hearse at Brigham Young’s funeral. Instead, pall bearer’s carried his casket to its final resting place.

The hearse at Disneyland could be an authentic hearse from the 19th century, but it’s also possible that it was recreated for effect to add a little extra thrill to the Haunted Mansion ride.


Hell Town (Summit County, OH)

Residents in this area of the Buckeye State claim that a ghost-driven hearse will chase you down if you get too close to a certain house on one of the area’s dead-end streets (how fitting, eh?) People who have been “chased” say a ghostly figure of an old man is in the driver’s seat as the hearse chases down unsuspecting passersby.

According to local historians, there was once a family that lived in the area that owned a hearse. However, they do not believe a hearse chases people down this road because it is too crowded with trees and cars are not able to go through.  Still, the stories persist.

Similarly, in Summit County’s Old Boston Township, visitors have reported being chased away by a “phantom hearse” as they entered the town. Other stories in this area include a road called “The End of the World” because it has a sudden stop after a steep and winding drive. There is also a legend of a bus in which all the children were mass-murdered many years ago.

Archer Woods Cemetery (Chicago, IL)

If you plan to visit this old cemetery at night, you may see a ghostly team of horses pulling a phantom hearse through the serene setting. Those who have seen it have become extremely frightened.

Sleepy Hollow Road (Louisville, KY)

With a name like Sleepy Hollow Road, you would expect a plethora of strange occurrences. Several modern-day ghost stories happen along this road, including one story of a ghostly black hearse that follows cars that pass by. The hearse not only follows the cars, but it also causes them to run off the road and over a cliff. According to sightings, the hearse begins following as soon as you enter the road. It then increases in speed, causing the driver of the car to lose control until it plunges into the 30-foot ravine that runs alongside Sleepy Hollow Road.

How do you feel about these legends? Are you a firm believer in them or do you just find them an interesting part of American folklore? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Filed Under: FeaturedFuneral HistoryFuneral Traditions


About the Author: Kelly lives near Columbus, Ohio with her wife and two children. She enjoys urban exploration, hiking and is an avid reader.

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