Cleveland’s Bleeding Mausoleum

St. Luke’s Church, photograph from the Tennessee State Archives.


Nina Craigmiles was a vivacious and precocious 7-year-old in 1871, as most children of her age and lifestyle are. She went riding with her grandfather in the family carriage on October 18. She loved to go as fast as possible. Her grandfather got off the wagon to make an adjustment and she grabbed the reigns. The horses bolted at her command. They ran faster and faster, but she lost control. They ended up flying across the train tracks and the wagon collided with the train’s engine. Nina was killed instantly.

She was buried in a regular grave while her father built an elaborate church and mausoleum for her. When it was completed, they exhumed her body and placed it in the center of the newly erected structure. The beautiful white marble mausoleum didn’t remain pristine. Red stains the color of blood began to appear.

They tried replacing the marble, but the stains reappeared. Her father, John Craigmiles soon died from blood poisoning. He was placed in the same structure and the stains darkened. Soon after that, her mother, Adelia, was hit by an automobile. She was also placed in the crypt and the stains again darkened. The mausoleum was bleeding.



Colonel John Craigmiles is very real and so was the death of his daughter. Nina was his only child at the time of her death. Col. Craigmiles used the portion of his wealth he’d set aside for her to construct both her elaborate mausoleum as well as the beautiful St. Luke’s Episcopalian Church, in Cleveland, Tennessee. The couple is believed to have another child, stillborn, that was also placed in the mausoleum.

The family deaths are likely simple coincidence. Col. Craigmiles died in 1899 from blood poisoning he developed after a fall. Adelia, Nina’s mother, was killed by a car in 1928. All of their deaths were unusual, but occurred decades apart from one another.

The stains on the mausoleum are another story. They are still there and very noticeable.





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