Gypsy Cemetery - Union Township Cemetery

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This small gypsy cemetery is said to be haunted by a gypsy queen, who is guarded by a murder of crows. Legend has it that in the 1800s gypsies came through here often with their wagons. If any member of their group was sick and dying, they would simply bury them here, alive. Many ghosts have been seen here, and it is said that those who walk on the hallowed ground beyond the small fence will be cursed.

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Geographic Information

Union Township Cemetery
Algona, Iowa
United States

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43.14150733023897, -94.26161073366012
Kossuth County, Iowa
Nearest Towns:
Burt, IA (4.4 mi.)
Algona, IA (5.1 mi.)
Lone Rock, IA (6.3 mi.)
Sexton, IA (9.6 mi.)
Irvington, IA (9.8 mi.)
Whittemore, IA (10.0 mi.)
Fenton, IA (10.1 mi.)
Bancroft, IA (10.7 mi.)
Saint Benedict, IA (12.3 mi.)
Titonka, IA (12.9 mi.)


Please note: It is your responsibility to acquire appropriate permissions before investigating any location listed on this site. Private property should be respected at all times, as should all posted signs concerning trespassing, hours of operation and other local regulations. Many "ghost hunters" have been arrested because they failed to contact property owners and/or local authorities ahead of time.

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Comments (17)

  1. This is not Romani! Please remove it as a ‘gypsy’ graveyard! Many take offense to it and it is disrespectful to tramp through a cemetery at all! Let people rest in peace!

    • Are you stupid? These people are DEAD. They quit caring about anything a long damn time ago. Believe me, they don’t give a rat’s ass who is tromping around 6 feet above their head. Plus there is nothing they can do about it. As long as people don’t go out there and completely trash the place, there is nothing wrong with ghost hunting a supposedly haunted cemetery.

      • If you are any sort of an investigator, and a I doubt you are due to your lack of respect, you would understand that the FAMILIES of the deceased DO give a rat’s ass about who is being disrespectful within the gates of their family cemetery. And YES, there are descendants.

        Because of disrespectful ghost hunting and false reports of burying people alive and other garbage, there has been a great deal of damage done to this cemetery. The “Gypsy” cemetery has been dug into and grave goods taken. The tree in the corner, planted as a memorial, has been damaged because someone started digging when they thought the graves were empty. Other markers in the cemetery have been badly damaged.

        The place isn’t haunted. None of the stories that would make anyone think it is haunted are true.

  2. And the Romani never buried anyone alive! There is a certain ritual for laying someone to rbest in which they would never break. Death is sacred to the Romani!

    • Yes! My granny was Roma would be shaking her head at this. I have been to the cemetery and I do not think it was Roma/Romani. There is a little girl named Mina Kuthsara who could by a longshoremen be Romungro/Hungarian but I doubt it. I do believe these are German settlers. However, Roma did follow the Des Moines River and Plum Creek and made camp in that little valley in the late 1800’s. It’s a pretty place, but I don’t think it’s “Gypsy.” We would never EVER bury anyone alive. There is a story about a family passing through named Gutzell that buried someone who had passed there and caused a big stink with local authorities because they were cheap and just left his body lying on the road on a mattress back at the turn of the century. And let me tell you that cheapness has been passed down. These Gadje out here are stingy as all get out!! 😛

  3. Don’t believe anything that this article says. I live near this cemetery and it actually has an interesting history. In case you are not aware, gypsies back in those days did not bury their dead in cemeteries but instead threw them in the ditch along side the road. However, one day, a farmer in this area saw them doing this to their dead and thought is was horrific. He then went out and bought a plot of ground and made them bury their dead on that ground for the time they stayed. That cemetery has since become Union Township Cemetery. There is more to the story, but I would encourage someone to look it up in the Kossuth County Upper Des Moines for the true article on this piece of history in our area.

  4. As a Romani and a researcher, I’ve been investigating the site for years. I’ve met the descendants of the Jefferies, one of the families buried here. Let me clear a few things up…
    1. The word ‘Gypsy’ should be capitalized. We are a nation, no different than Cherokee or Americans.
    2. Romani is the preferred word, as that is the name we have been calling ourselves all along. Non-Gypsies thought we came from Egypt and through the years the name has gone from Egyptians to Gypsies.
    3. Romani bury our dead. Before the young man passed away in Algona, he was carried on his mattress to a willow grove where the family waited with him to pass away. When he died, they mourned for him as our traditions allow. But we may not touch a dead body, as that is an unclean act. The body was left with respect on a mattress, not ‘thrown in a ditch.” Throwing a deceased loved one in a ditch is just as disrespectful to Romanies as it would be to any other culture.
    4. The farmer who owns the field where the willow grove was located found and recognized the young man and went in search of the family. The family purchased the lots within the cemetery.
    5. The cemetery was already in existence.
    6. Other family members were buried there.
    7. The headstones were removed in the early 1930s.
    8. The headstones were found in a cemetery in Emmettsburg, just a few miles west of Algona.
    9. The record for the Emmetsburg cemetery does NOT state the bodies were moved, only the headstones. There is no reburial permit, no permit for exhumation, no undertaker listed.
    The bodies were most likely buried in linen as the family was very poor and could not afford a coffin. Few people could. The bodies would not have been dug up for this reason.

    The Jefferies, the family who traveled with the Gutzels, were Romani. I have met with a representative of their family. They believe the Gutzels were Romani as well, though there is no proof.

    In other words, this story is bogus. The place isn’t haunted. I’ve been tending the site for nearly five years. Please treat the site with the same respect you would any other grave. And think about the things you read, not just about the cemetery here, but anything. Use some logic and common sense. And do some research before you take the local ghost stories as facts in history. This is totally ridiculous.

  5. I’ve been to this cemetary. It’s not haunted. I am highly sensitive to spirits and trust me, this is no different from most other cemetaries.

  6. I heard the gypsies who traveled through town and died of a disease on the way.. the scariest part of that area is the owner of the property who will come out with a sack gun and shoot you off his property. But we played the Ouija board out there and talked to a spirit that wasn’t happy with everyone coming to the cemetery disrespecting it. It was about ten years ago so idk now if I believe in that stuff but it felt very real.

  7. I remember my mother said that the Gypsies would bring young horses down from Minnesota and trade with people as they worked their way South. She said everyone waited to trade for these horses. I have been to the cemetery and it is beautiful and peaceful. There is a murder of crows and seems as spiritually active as most cemeteries. There is some kind of protecting the spirit that is felt.
    If you visit please respect. They were traders, travelers, and family.

  8. My cousins go to daycare at the house next to the gypsy cemetery… it’s not haunted I’ve been inside the gate nothing happens

  9. I found a wand in the pillars with the two trees about 3 years ago, I took the thing home. It was a bad idea…. I wish I had a picture of it. I TOOK IT BACK!! But this place is for surely inhabited by a black cloud that flew over my shoulder. The crows did come into play, when I was reading on the story’s tale in my dads house months after. It was perfect timing to make my skin crawl, reading that the Murder of Crows watch over and hearing it outside of my window!!
    My life wasn’t that good before this, but I was a fool for taking the pentagram engraved mineral stick from their garden… it was almost instantly after I took it back, that things were becoming less downward to my life.
    Signed ET
    P.S., dont take Abe Lincoln for granted! Lol

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.