Friday, April 10, 2015

Elizabeth Polly’s Grave

Blue Light Lady

A cholera epidemic hit Fort Hays in Central Kansas in 1867. Elizabeth Polly lived at the fort with her husband, Ephraim Polly.

Fort Hays

Elizabeth worked in the hospital with her husband, who was an Army Hospital Steward.

A legend states that Elizabeth was a trained nurse. But other stories indicate she was just a Good Samaritan. Regardless, many believed she was God sent for she nursed and comforted the sick and dying during this epidemic.

Working day and night, Elizabeth’s only respite was an occasional stroll atop nearby Sentinel Hill.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth fell ill with this disease herself in the fall of 1867. Her dying wish was to be buried on top of Sentinel Hill. At her funeral, she was given full military honors to recognize her courageous efforts.

But her dying wish was not to be, for Sentinel Hill is made of solid bedrock, so she was buried at the base of this hill instead.

In 1905, Fort Hayes was closed. All the soldiers’ bodies were moved to Fort Leavenworth. The civilians were placed in Hays City Cemetery. But Elizabeth’s body remains.

Starting in 1917, there have been many sightings of Elizabeth’s ghost.

A farmer, John Schmidt, reported seeing a woman dressed in blue walking across his back pasture. He followed her as she headed toward Sentinel Hill. He watched as she entered one of his sheds.

When he arrived and inspected the area no one was there.

In the 1950s, a highway patrolman stated he hit a woman wearing a blue dress and white bonnet, with his patrol car near Sentinel Hill. When he got out to look around the woman he hit was gone, and his car was not damaged.

Elizabeth was buried in a blue dress and white bonnet.

Other witnesses state that when Elizabeth is seen, she emits a glowing blue light. Because of this, her ghost has been nicknamed Blue Light Lady.

Her ghost is frequently seen wandering atop Sentinel Hill--the place she loved best.

In the 1960s, Elizabeth finally received her dying wish. Her body was reburied at Sentinel Hill’s summit. A marker placed on her grave reads “The Lonely Grave.”

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