Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spooktacular Saturdays: Why I Love a Good Cemetery... and Why I Hate Cemetery Haters!

Hi guys and welcome to October!  I don't know about you but it's pretty much my second favorite month.  All month long I'm going to be doing some little articles on Saturdays about spooky things like my personal ghost stories and other spooky (but not too scary) things.  Today I'm going to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart on many levels: cemeteries.

I grew up in the church that faced the oldest cemetery in my home town.  It was the one with all the oldest stones and all of the town founders are buried there.  It also has about my favorite tombstone engraving ever. I wish I had a picture of it.  The stone waxes poetic about how we all become food for worms.  Those Victorians, so romantic.  But this cemetery was the one that made me fall in love with cemeteries.  We went there during youth group and did rubbings of the headstones of the men and women who founded our church.  I loved the peace and tranquility there.  Seriously.  I remember lying under one of the trees there and just watching the clouds.  Yeah, I was a weird kid.  So what.

Please note that the ghost is covering my son, who was in the photo.
As an adult, my favorite cemetery is one that has major significance for my children and my husband.  My husband's parents live within a mile of a cemetery that is well off the main road and that few people know about because the road that ran by it is now just a farmer's access road.  My husband put flags out in the cemetery as a Boy Scout for the veterans buried there.  Little did he know that the Revolutionary War soldier buried in that long forgotten cemetery is actually his ancestor.  This little cemetery is proof that people who do the right thing can change history.  We'd have never have had a cemetery to visit if another ancestor of Samuel Osbun hadn't found the overgrown and dilapidated plot in the 1970's and taken the care and upkeep of it upon herself.  This ancestor repaired stones, made sure the information on those buried in the cemetery was published, that the veterans had the proper markers and she even left money to the township for the perpetual care of the cemetery.

Now, my rant on people who should be boiled in oil.  I think we all know one of these jerks.  And SHAME on you if you've ever been one.  1) "Ghosthunters"  - I like a decent ghost hunt like anyone BUT do NOT go into a cemetery at night to find ghosts.  It's dangerous and you could damage something.  A broken stone could have held the information that someone needs for their family tree.  I know a number of ghost hunters and psychics who swear ghosts don't only come out at night and that they don't often frequent their graves.  Food for thought people.  2) People looking for a scare- out here in the country teens seem to think that stealing headstones or generally hanging out in a cemetery is cool.  I disagree. Those headstones and that land- they belong to PEOPLE.  Would you want some jerk to run off with your grandma's headstone or the wreath on her grave?  Thought not.  Extend the courtesy to those of us who care about our ancestors.  DO NOT desecrate a grave.  3) Cemetery Destroyers- 2 of my husband's ancestors are buried in a small churchyard that the township owns but struggles to keep up.  Why?  because people believe that a "witch" is buried there and that that gives them the right to go to the isolated graveyard and tear it up.  The last time we were there, the ground was littered with beer cans, disemboweled animals and someone had broken all but the largest stones.  This makes me ill.  People like this need their heads checked.  So disgusting and just wrong.  Not okay at all.  4) Scrappers- I can not believe that people get away with this one but some people do steal the metal military markers from grave sites to sell as scrap metal to make a quick buck.  How someone gets away with this is beyond me but I have heard from other genealogists that it happens.

PLEASE DO NOT BE THESE PEOPLE, FOLKS!!!  Treat a cemetery like it should be treated.  I, personally, believe in the idea of karma.  If you do things like this, it is going to bite you in the butt someday.

These headstones once belonged on PEOPLE's GRAVES.  That's where they should be.  Not looking like a stack of rocks or used to build a barn or whatever.  This kind of stuff is not cool.  Would you want your headstone to end up here someday?!

Ok, rant over.  Go check out your local cemetery.  The day after All Hallows Eve is All Saints Day, the day designated in some faiths for the laying out of flowers on the graves of your relatives or ancestors.  Why not take some flowers out and pay your respects.

Next week's Spooktacular Saturday will involve my own personal ghost stories.  For real.  Things that have happened to me.  Please check back!  I'll also be reviewing lots of Spooktacular books this month! 


Mindy fangedmom said...

YOU ROCK my friend. You said this so well! I agree with you 100% honey!! How cool about the cemetery your husband used to put flowers on!! YAY!!!

Pabkins said...

My great aunt who lives in Ohio has a house right next to the oldest coolest creepiest cemetary!
Pabkins @ Mission to Read