July 2, 2020 11:18 am
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There are terrifying airport runways, and there are terrifying airport runways.

While runway 10 at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia may not be a particularly difficult or scary landing, it does involve touching down on a pair of graves.

The graves of Richard and Catherine Dotson sit on the edge of Runway 10.

Like many airports, Savannah/Hilton Head was built on former farmland. Farmland often comes with ancient burial sites and family plots, and most airports deal with it by moving any graves they find to nearby cemeteries.

But when the Savannah airport needed to expand during World War II, it was met with resistance from descendants of the Dotson family.

A family plot that was part of the land in the expansion was estimated to have had about 100 graves, including those of slaves, and all but four were moved to a cemetery.

Believing that their ancestors wouldn’t have wanted to abandon the land they worked so hard to cultivate, the Dotson family insisted on keeping the matriarch and patriarch put. The graves of Richard and Catherine Dotson, the farmers who originally owned the land and died in 1884 and 1877, sit on the edge of runway 10 and 28, while two more graves, of their relatives Daniel Hueston and John Dotson, can be found nearby in the brush.

Richard and Catherine’s graves feature markers — his says “At rest,” while hers says “Gone home to rest,” according to The State, a newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.

The airport says these graves are “the only ones in the world embedded in an active 9,350-foot runway.” And, of course, they’re not without their spooky stories.

“It’s said that if you are coming in to land just after sundown, two figures will appear just along the north side of the runway,” a regional airline captain, Lisa Ruedy, wrote for the website All Things Aero, according to The State.

Family members are allowed to visit, though they are not permitted to leave flowers. It is, after all, an active runway.

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This post was written by Nadia Vella