The Mystery “Guardian” of Livermore Cemetery

Did a man who later claimed to be affiliated with Livermore Cemetery actually pursue several trespassers during a late night car chase in Derry Township, Westmoreland County? Did the Livermore Cemetery “associate” actually shoot at the trespassers and also try to force them off of the road as he chased them down?

I ask this because I actually heard this story on “The Dirtbag Diaries,” a national podcast for outdoor enthusiasts sponsored in part by the clothing company Patagonia. Each October, this podcast releases its Tales of Terror. On Tales of Terror Vol. 8, released in October 2017, contributor Joe Shearer claimed the following:

Shearer recounted that he and his friends admittedly trespassed in Livermore Cemetery.  They arrived in two cars. They walked through the cemetery. Shearer did not admit to causing any vandalism. He claimed that he and his friends merely visited the cemetery in order to spook themselves. The following happened as the friends returned to their two cars:

1.) A “mystery man” who did not identify himself allegedly pointed a gun at the group and told them to put their hands on one of their cars.

2.) Half of the group was actually still in the woods, so this half of the group ran out of the woods to their second car.

3.) The entire group was able to jump into cars and drive off.

4.) The “mystery man” with the gun allegedly got into his own auto and pursued one of the cars as he shot at them.

5.) This “mystery man” also allegedly tried several times to force one of the cars off of the road as he pursued it.

6.) Both cars managed to get away from the “mystery man.”

7.) The group riding in one of the two cars eventually managed to locate a state trooper on the main highway. They convinced the trooper to accompany them back to the Livermore Cemetery.  They located the “mystery man” at the cemetery. The “mystery man” allegedly identified himself as being associated with the Livermore Cemetery. The podcast then referred to the “mystery man” as an “overzealous grave keeper.”

8.) According to the podcast, the state trooper convinced both sides to shake hands and drop the matter.

If you want to listen to this specific podcast episode, here is the link on the podcast’s website. This specific story begins at 3:32 in the episode. This is the very first story told in Tales of Terror Vol. 8, and you can go to 3:32 to skip the show’s introduction.

Today, the local media website Triblive.com posted a story by Jacob Tierney about Livermore Cemetery. Tierney interviewed several people associated with the cemetery about issues surrounding vandalism and trespassing. I am very curious as to whether the officials at Livermore Cemetery are aware of this podcast episode about this alleged incident.

If the incident in this story did actually happen, I am sure that the self-identifying “cemetery associate” has a completely different perspective on what happened that night.

I’ve personally never been to Livermore Cemetery. I have picnicked many times at nearby Conemaugh Dam and Tunnelview Historic Site.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, the actual town of Livermore no longer exists. Most of Livermore is actually under the Conemaugh River.

Livermore is (was?) near Blairsville and Saltsburg.  In the 1950’s, the US Army Corps of Engineers built the Conemaugh Dam on the Conemaugh River. This created the Conemaugh Lake and flooded Livermore. The town’s cemetery remains above the river bank.

Have you ever visited Livermore Cemetery?

6 thoughts on “The Mystery “Guardian” of Livermore Cemetery”

  1. Hi Jenny, I am going to listen to this while I wrap Patrick’s birthday presents today. I really enjoyed Snap Judgement Spooked so I think I will like this. Also on my way home this week I listened to a few episodes of Bear Brook, which I want to listen to the rest of. Did you listen to that?

    1. Hi Katie: I have never listened to Bear Brook! I will have to give this a listen. Also, are you familiar with “Reply All?” Well, if you are familiar with “Reply All,” then you should check out the recent episode of “Radiolab” that is titled “Breaking Bad News Bears.” The first story in this episode is about some homeowners who had trouble keeping a bear out of their backyard and their apple tree. They learned that the bear would be scared away by human voices. So, they set up an old ipod in their backyard to constantly play episodes of “Reply All.” This scared away the bear!

  2. Funny I just found this. Well, I know the family that cares for the cemetery and used to be married to one of them. They do still live in that area. There are other members from the cemetery association (I guess that is what they are called) that care for the grounds with mowing, stone repair, setting flags, etc, but I don’t believe those additional people ever actually patrolled the place. I haven’t lived there in over 15 years, I call BS on the story and haven’t heard a word any drama surrounding it coming from my ex.

    Fact 1 – the man that used to sit up there almost nightly passed away years ago (uncle #1). He was a big guy that scared kids that came there to party with his size alone. Before I ever met my ex, I heard all the tall tales of that guy his truck, and that place. Imagine my surprise when I finally met the legend – those stories were greatly exaggerated.

    Fact 2 – my ex took over opening and shutting the gate during holidays for gravesite visitors and has never carried a gun after uncle #1 passed. Sometimes I would help when he had to be out of town, Fact 3 – his other uncle has never babysat the place with the exception of Halloween nights when a bunch of the family would wait up there for the thrill-seekers. I don’t know who else might actually sit up there to watch – except maybe one of my former brothers in law – I don’t them carrying guns – BUT – it is dark up there at night and people repeatedly take THEIR OWN guns up there to shoot at the cemetery gate and signs. If someone was up there at night to watch the place, they might have a gun for their own protection – and that is merely my own speculation. I CAN see him chasing the visitors’ cars around the Livermore Loop, however.

    The state police have been called out there more times than I can remember, so they KNOW the place and they KNOW who watches it and calls on them to deal with the trespassers. It sounds to me that this is a partially plausible story that was greatly embellished like the “one that got away” tall tale, IMO.

    I will be sure to share this page and information with my ex.

  3. Additional information after listening to the episode:

    1) Livermore didn’t exist in the 1600s

    2) There are NO buildings under the water, no rooftops, no church steeples, nothing. The entire town was purchased in the 1950s and razed to make way for the Conemaugh Dam water control project for the Army Corp of Engineers. My former mother in law grew up in that town, as did most of her family. THESE are the people that care for that cemetery.

    3) The cemetery is NOT abandoned. There are NOT a number of stones with the same death dates on them (this is easily verified at Findagrave.com) and there were NOT 8 freshly dug graves when these idiots visited. The cemetery averages about 1 burial every other year.

    4) First the cemetery “associate” had a truck, then it was a car, then it was a truck…hmmmmm – However, the description does sound like my ex-husband’s brother, Jim. LOL

    5) Fishtailing each turn on the dirt road as they approach the railroad tracks?? I’d like to see that since the road is straight. You can see it here: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/40.4588151,-79.3358243/40.4557043,-79.3379262/@40.4572757,-79.3390631,696m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!4m1!3e2
    That is where they would have had to park since the locked gate is at the bottom of the road to the cemetery – and the end of that is where the railroad tracks are located.

    Supposedly, this happened in 2005. Did they get chased – probably? Did they get shot at? Unlikely. If this was 15 years ago, don’t you think the whole family would know about it by now?

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Gina! I am really happy that you reached out to me on this. I greatly appreciate this opportunity to hear another perspective. By all means, please share this anyone who has an interest in this historic place.

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