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Blood Stained Mausoleum





Over the years Saint Luke's Episcopal Church has attracted curiosity-seekers to the southeastern Tennessee city of Cleveland. But it's the marble mausoleum at the rear of the 1870s-era chapel that draws the visitors. Its white surface is streaked with crimson stains that some locals believe are blood seeping from the stone. The cause lies inside the tomb, where four members of the Craigmiles family were placed after their tragic deaths.




John Henderson Craigmiles made his fortune in the shipping business. On December 18, 1860, Joh married Adelia Thompson, the daughter of a local doctor, who gave birth to the couple's first daughter, Nina, in August 1864. The Family was absolutely devoted to the little girl, perhaps none more so than her grandfather, Dr. Thompson, who often took her on medical calls in his buggy.

It was during one of these outings that tragedy struck the Craigmiles family. On October 18, 1871, Dr. Thompson steered the carriage in front of an oncoming train, which threw him clear but instantly killed Nina. After the funeral services John built a church for the local Episcopal congregation in memory of his daughter. Saint Luke's was completed on the third anniversary of Nina's death.

Almost immediately the family began construction on a mausoleum for Nina at the rear of the church. With walls four feet thick and a marble spire topped with a cross more than thirty-seven feet off the ground, the tomb contained six shelves in the walls and a marble sarcophagus for Nina's body.

As time passed, the other members of the family followed Nina to the grave. The first was an infant son born to John and Adelia, who lived only a few hours. John Craigmiles followed in Januarty 1899, after death from blood poisoning following a fall on an icy downtown street. Close-up of blood stain After an automobile killed Adelia in September 1928 as she crossed Cleveland Street, she was laid to rest with the other members of her family in the mausoleum.
The stories say that the bloody stains began to appear on the Craigmiles mausoleum after Nina was interred there. The stains grew darker and more noticeable with the death of each family member. What may have caused the bloody marks, and why they refuse to be washed away, remains a mystery. Cleveland, Tennessee, is located in the southeastern corner of the state, a short distance north of Chattanooga.







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