Teacher Erin Crowther at Saratoga Central Catholic High School had seven of her students participate in a Halloween-oriented writing challenge: exploring the mystery of Eliza Walsh's untimely death generations ago and her ultimate resting place in the Ballston Spa Village Cemetery. The students wrote about what may have happened and read their work at a village event Oct. 29 that included an explanation of the cemetery's history and guided tours. Here are a few of their creations:

"The Crypt"


Sarah Burtis Ladew raised Eliza Hoffman
Eliza's mom died very early
Nobody can find her, she's not in her coffin
her coffin lies open very clearly
For generations the story's been repeated
with all buried behind a vault
though it seems the family is there, it's not completed
we cannot tell if anyone is at fault
Has someone broken into her crypt door
she may be lurking around
a narrow-pointed iron bar lies on the floor
Eliza may never be found
Better keep your eyes peeled
for she may be lurking behind you concealed

"The Grave"

by Katie West

Do not stand on my grave and weep
I am the mystery that your grandparents could not solve
My grave is the haunted house that is empty
My body may be gone but my spirit prances around this town
Like a little girl dancing around in a brand-new dress
You could never kill my soul.
I think I killed my mother
She died in my name.
My sister was only 10
when she was put in the ground next to our mom.
My whole family is resting in their grave together
Except me
My soul is made for the freedom
I will forever run free



Mr. Walsh now lies here,
money was all he held dear.
Around the crypt he roams,
all the while he moans.
For a new life he would trade,
all his money he would pay.
A chance to fix his great mistakes,
for this his heart aches.
However, his crazy wife
disapproved his life.
She formed a plan
and hired a hit man,
to end her husband and his addiction,
to be freed was her conviction.
The night of the deed,
she cried to him of his greed.
He left after they fought,
to never see him again, she thought.
Although outside was his friend,
who knew of Walsh's end.
His friend he tried to protect,
instead all lives were wrecked.
The friends will die,
and there's a missing bride.
So listen closely on this night,
just before there is light.
You shall hear all them cry,
right before the sunrise.
The wife seeking revenge,
the friend to avenge,
and the husband wanting another shot,
trying to prevent the deadly plot.

"Eliza's Story"


Church bells pealed jubilantly as the new Mr. and Mrs. Walsh exited the church. A crowd of all the top families of the town clamored to express their best wishes to the bride and groom. Two people stood apart from the throng. Their faces expressed joy, but their eyes were haunted. The parents of the groom had a secret.

One year earlier...

A man of average height and build with dark hair sat slumped in an enormous leather wingback chair in his study. The room was darkened by thick drapes that prevented the late summer sunshine from penetrating inside. He wore his best dark suit. A fashionable hat lay discarded on the table beside him. He had been sitting in that chair since the funeral the previous day.

A knock at the door caused him to raise his head. His butler spoke thickly and with difficulty: "Mrs. Walsh's body is missing, sir." "What do you mean, missing?"

"The foreman at the cemetery thought something was amiss, said he had a bad feeling. He decided to check the crypt and found Mrs. Eliza's body was gone."

The man sprung from his chair and began pacing and muttering. The butler quite believed that his employer had cracked under the stress of losing his wife in a tragic carriage accident.

Finally, the man said, "I must see this myself," and staggered out of the room.

At the same time, an older couple sat deep in conversation...

"Are you sure this was the right thing to do?" asked the woman tearfully.

"It was the only way to ensure his future. Do you want our idiot gambler of a son in a debtor's prison?" the man responded.

"Of course that's not what I want."

"What's done is done. We must follow through. They must wed as soon as the mourning period is over. I'll arrange for a dinner party with the Philips as soon as possible. We will be hearing wedding bells before you know it."

"But what shall we do with her?" asked the woman barely above a whisper.

"What do you mean?"

"Where do we put her? Someone like her cannot be buried with our family."

"Of course not. I have made other arrangements. A well-placed banknote has persuaded the cemetery foreman to bury her in an unmarked grave with the rest of the orphans."

Also at the same time, two women sat together chatting over a cup of tea in a lavish parlor. One who was clearly the mother of the other said matter-of-factly, "You must see about snaring Mr. Walsh once mourning is over."

"Mother, what a horrible thing to say!" exclaimed the girl.

"Terrible, I suppose. But everyone knows you should have married him instead of that orphan."

"I liked Eliza. She was always polite and sincere." said the girl.

"Well, it's of no consequence now," replied the woman not unkindly, as she took another dainty sip from her teacup.