June 22, 2022
Montpelier, US 67 F

Haunted Vermont, Folklore & much more…

Do you Dare? Black Agnes – Sit on Her Lap and You Might Die!

black-agnes-montpelier-vermont

Creepy Places of New England: Black Agnes (Green Mount Cemetery), Montpelier, VT

Black Agnes, the cemetery statue that kills those who dare sit on “her” lap???

Black Agnes Curse Vermont legend
“Come on over and sit a spell”

A copper statue located at Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier, Vermont is that of a male figure, sitting with closed eyes looking upwards, his head covered with a shawl. Like many similar legends, “Black Agnes” supposedly is cursed with the power to some pretty vile things to those who may be tempted to sit on his lap. The list of not so wonderful circumstances include a certain death within seven days and a range of just plain, bad luck.

Dude looks like a lady! Black Agnes despite the name, is not really a woman!

Joe Citro, the Vermont expert authority on ghostly and just plain weird explains it in the video below:

One thing remains a fact. The statue is bestowed with the title “Thanatos” (Greek for the word “death”). John Erastus Hubbard (1847 – 1899) was a Montpelier businessman with enough wealth to have the statue created and watching over his final resting place.

John Hubbard was a business man in the Montpelier area in the 1800’s. It was said that he contested and inherited a sizeable amount of money from a wealthy aunt, (who had originally left the city of Montpelier a virtual fortune). He set about the task of building a public  library for Montpelier, but at about 1/3 of the cost his deceased aunt had intended. Needless to say people in the area considered him greedy and mean spirited.

black-agnes-montpelier-vermontDid greed influence sinister activity in the afterlife?

John passed away in 1899, at age 53, after obtaining his inheritance. The executors of John Hubbard’s will were responsible for providing a monument to adorn his grave in Green Mount Cemetery. William Paul Dillingham, governor of Vermont from 1888 to 1890,  took on most of the responsibility for finding someone to construct the odd monument, now known as “Black Agnes”. It was created by Austrian sculptor Karl Bitter, who had run a studio in New Jersey.

black-agnes-montpelier-vtThe inscription on the wall framing the figure from the back, contains lines from William Cullen Bryan’s poem “Thanatopsis” (“Thoughts on Death”), known to most all literate Americans of the 19th century:

Thou go not like the
Quarry slave at night
Scourged to his dungeon
But sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust.

Approach thy grave
Like one who wraps
The Drapery of his couch
About him and lies down
To pleasant dream.

The lines suggest that Hubbard did not die in shame, but met his death with a clear conscience.

No doubt that the “legend” is merely that, but the fact is that many people will not tempt fate and sit on the lap of the mysterious “Black Agnes”.

black-agnes-montpelier-vermont

Some of the reported odd occurrences surrounding “Black Agnes” included glowing red eyes at night, blood curdling screams and other creepy noises. Some people believe that the statue was haunted due to the misdeeds and demeanor of Hubbard, while he was still alive. Stories were told about a number of people who dared to sit in the lap of Black Agnes only to be found dead later.

However, in the following video, someone apparently isn’t the least bit worried about the curse and does indeed sit on Black Agnes’ lap. I wonder how her luck has been since then?

With thanks to Joe Citro, Paul Heller and Wikipedia for references used in this article

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