A huge stone ball that moves: or “choose to believe; it is more fun.”

Our new home is close to Ohio’s center, which makes day trips around the state easy.

Marion, Ohio Cemetery

We wandered up to Marion, home to President Warren G. Harding, and visited his grand tomb, the subject of a future post.

Across the road is the Marion Cemetery where one finds what might look like a monument to a bowling ball manufacturer.  It is actually the Merchant Stone which is famous in the area.

Charles Merchant was a wealthy Marion citizen involved in both industry and railroads.  His family marked his grave in 1896 with a pedestal topped by an approximately 5200-pound stone ball.

Then a legend developed: the polished Quincy black granite ball is said to move on its own revealing an unpolished spot where the stone originally rested on the pedestal.  Noticing the shift, the Merchant family had the giant stone lifted by a crane and placed back in its rightful orientation in 1898.  But the ball moved on.

In an article for Ohio Magazine, Jim Riedl, superintendent of the cemetery, said they had pictures from the early 1900s with the unpolished spot near the top.  He said during his 40 years there, it had only moved four or five inches.

There has been much speculation on why and how much it moves, some attributing it to water and ice formation, others to seismic or gravitational forces.  It is a cemetery; some even suspect ghosts are involved.

In 1929, it was featured in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”  Many say “not.”

“The Pennsylvania Ramble,” a blogger, believes the stone was “probably just set incorrectly in the first place.”  She points out there are no scratches that would have formed by movement on the polished surface.

Some feel it is just a long-standing joke by the groundskeepers.

In every photo I could find including one dating back twenty years, the spot is always in the same place.  I’d like to see Riedl’s photos.

But it was a beautiful day and a beautiful place for those not bothered by cemeteries; we enjoyed it seeing it.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Date of our visit: 30 Aug 20

About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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7 Responses to A huge stone ball that moves: or “choose to believe; it is more fun.”

  1. Great post, Ray! I lived in Ohio as a kid and this destination was one of our school field trips. Interesting to see how much it has moved. ~Terri

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A watched kettle never boils; a watched stone never rolls

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosemary Lakin says:

    I visit pioneer cemeteries on occasion. There is one in SE Portland that dates back to 1800’ s. When people formed a team to “clean it up” etc it unearthed a Chinese burial spot that was forgotten. Probably from the subscription days ( Astoria OR canneries etc)
    Portland’s underground dwellings(tours are given), Wah Chang in Oregon near the Painted Hills area and so forth throqughout America. Used laborers for mining, canneries, other menial jobs and had strict housing areas they had to live in. After
    paying the subscription time, they were free to leave or stay etc.
    interesting times. These workers were not slaves but needed to
    pay their dues”. Many never leftAmerica to return to China. They had families in China, who
    they kept in contact with. There’s a museum there and preserved living quarters andChinese herbal medicine shops. I knew the history somewhat but only visited with friends on an friends get together over several day trips in the area.
    Your post reminded me of
    that trip. (About 4or so years ago). Thanks again. I enjoy your travels because there is a glimpse into places I will ever see in real-time 😊👍🏻
    Rosemary

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    Liked by 1 person

  4. neelstoria says:

    That’s interesting. There must be some explanation to it. And, if there isn’t even better and that’ll amaze us all the more!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue Slaght says:

    Loved the post Ray!
    A very intriguing phenomenon happening in that cemetery. Any moss on the ball? A rolling stone doesn’t gather it😊

    Liked by 1 person

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