From 1925 to 1967, Druid Ridge Cemetery was home to a creepy and mysterious statue, named Black Aggie. She is so named because of her dark color and the name “Agnus” carved into the pedestal on which Aggie sat.
What’s the story?
There are many legends surrounding Black Aggie. During her time at Druid Ridge Cemetery, it was said that anyone who spent the night in Black Aggie’s lap would be haunted by the ghosts of those buried in that plot. There is another story that claims that those buried in Druid Ridge Cemetery would annually congregate at the Black Aggie statue.
Legend says that no grass would grow on the ground where the statue’s shadow would lie during the day and that Aggie would come alive during the night. Many have claimed to see the statue moving around the graveyard. Others have claimed that her eyes glow red at the stoke of midnight.
Many believe that Aggie was a real person. It is said that she was a nurse at the turn of the century. She was very well liked, but her patients always died under her watch. Suspicion grew and she was eventually lynched for murder. The day after her death, it is said that she was found to be innocent and the Black Aggie statue was commissioned in her memory. However, Aggie’s vengeful spirit remained attached to the statue, haunting it to this day.
What’s the history?
The history behind Black Aggie begins in 1885, with the death of Marian “Clover” Adams. Distraught, Clover’s husband Henry (grandson of President John Quincy Adams) commissioned an elaborate monument for her grave site. Augustus St. Gaudens sculpted Grief, which was placed in the Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington in 1891.
In the early 1900s, Eduard L.A. Pausch created an unauthorized copy of the original monument. General Felix Agnus purchased this copy in 1905 and placed it on his family’s cemetery plot shortly after. It was not until General Agnus died in 1925, however, that the legends surrounding the statue would surface.
The statue was donated to the Smithsonian in 1967 after the Agnus family became worried about vandals. Black Aggie currently stands behind the Dolley Madison House on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.
What do I think?
Whether or not the statue is haunted, I can’t say, since I’ve never been to see her. Given my research, however, I do believe the story about Nurse Aggie is fake. I do believe that the fact that no grass grew in front of the statue was due to the fact that the ground was not receiving enough sunlight and grass could not grow.
On the subject of Black Aggie’s movements, I hope the legend isn’t true. Statues are scary enough, I don’t need them to move on their own.
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