The West Bentinck Cemetery has always been the meeting place to share ghostly stories and haunting legends over a case of beer. For the past 40 years, a visit to Isabella ‘Mary’ Rutherford’s grave has become more of a “right of passage” for local teenagers. Venturing out into the dark, gloomy night to see and touch the infamous grave, and to perhaps catch a glimpse of her spectral being gliding through the trees surrounding the yard.
According to the legend, ‘Mary’ Rutherford was considered to be an old maid in her 30’s when she finally became engaged. Through all her years, she had kept the one thing that remained the most sacred of all – her virginity, yet on the night before her wedding, she hesitantly gave herself to her husband-to-be. Her wedding day arrived yet her husband didn’t. He stood her up at the altar and skipped town. Distraught and overcome with heartbroken emotions, she committed suicide that same day by hanging herself in her wedding dress. It is said that she was buried face down (still wearing the wedding dress) in the cemetery in an unmarked plot.
Another rumour furthers the above mentioned legend by stating that ‘Mary’ Rutherford was a witch, and for the townspeople to stop her mystical and evil ways, they chopped her head off and buried it separately from her body. According to the curse of Mary Rutherford, it is said that anyone who touches her tombstone will break the bone they used to touch it with. The bone may not break until some time later, but it is supposed to happen in some mysterious and freak accident.
At the stroke of midnight, the ghost of ‘Mary Rutherford’ is said to appear. Some have seen the apparition of a “glowing essence” and a female figure can be seen near the gravesite. Several young men have reportedly gone missing during field parties held at the cemetery.
Similar to the Hermitage ruins in Ancaster, the Bentinck Cemetery is a popular location for cults and satanic rituals involving forms of animal sacrifice.