Seems like a lot of fuss for a simple piece of stone in a small New England forest.
We were after the Isaac Nelson Death Marker, a gravestone-like memorial planted on the spot where a 19th century gent was killed by a tree in Upton, Massachusetts.
As I said, information on this marker wasn’t anywhere on the web. The only reason I knew about it was because a local OTIS reader named David generously dropped it on me back in the summer of 2015. I dutifully logged it into my personal map of oddities for the next time I found myself near the site.
But I never found myself near the site.
I sent him a long list.
He zeroed in on the Isaac Nelson marker. Probably because I caveated that I couldn’t personally confirm the site. He thought it would be fun to film me, well, personally confirming the site.
I said sure. I’ll never say otherwise for an oddity.
Eventually, after a few wrong turns, I pointed my gloved hand and said, “There it is.”
The stone was smaller than I thought it would be. And extremely easy to miss due to its size and the fact that it was only feet away from a tree trunk that did a great job of hiding it. It looked like a classic New England gravestone, minus any of the usual memento mori like winged skulls or coffins. The inscription was difficult to parse through the lichen bloom on the old, crumbling stone, but it wasn’t illegible:
is erected in Memory of
Mr. Isaac Nelson
who receiv'd a Mortal
Wound on this Spot
by the fall of a Tree
on the 28th of Dec.
1812 in the 58th year
of his age.
And what’s on that stone is pretty much the whole story of that stone, from what I’ve been able to gather to this point. An ace-researcher friend of mine told me that Isaac Nelson was the son of one of the early settlers of the area, but couldn’t find why they marked the site of his death.
Since the show aired, I’ve received daily requests for directions to the site, so I’m going to give you exactly what David gave to me: Approximate GPS points and a Google Maps screenshot. Here are the GPS points:
And here is the screenshot (the red dot marks the oddity):
You have to go a bit beyond the GPS points, and stick closer to the development side of the forest than the railroad tracks side of the forest. But you should be able to find it easily with this much direction.
Speaking of Isaac Nelson, remember Nelson?
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