Sunday, April 19, 2015

Saltillo's Headless Angel of "Death"

Nestled in a peaceful pocket amidst the quiet hills and forgotten back roads of Ohio's Amish country lies a small, rural cemetery. The cemetery itself would seem unremarkable to most, except that it is home to what you could call a local legend. As you approach the cemetery, it comes into your field of vision atop a hill, alongside a country road that is mostly marked by Amish buggy tracks. The sign for Salem Cemetery is worn from years of Northeastern Ohio weather:

As your gaze meets the cemetery, most of the stones are small and humble, a hallmark of rural Holmes County cemeteries. Soon you will see a most out of place, prominent pillar, a memorial for the Conrad family, on which a ruined but glorious angel rests. The angel's head, wings, and hands have been smashed; she is zigzagged with green spray paint as well: 

A flurry of legends surround the angel, who is often referred to as "The Angel of Death". If one is brave enough to gaze upon her at the stroke of midnight, she is said to turn her head and look in the eyes of the unfortunate person who is fated to die next. After her head was broken off, the story evolved to say her head materialized to give you the stare of death. A full story can be read here:

On my visit, I noticed nothing out of the ordinary. The wind whistling through the pine trees may have been a little eerie, but there was no angel flying to greet me on that gusting breeze! An addition has been made to the original marker to depict how the angel originally looked:

The whole cemetery is in sorry shape, with a large tree having toppled over most of it and been left to lie on broken tombstones:

Feel free to make your own visit to the cemetery and the angel of Saltillo, and make your own conclusions.