Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Scary Cemeteries: Exploring Their Secrets

Cemeteries after dark. Why are we so scared by the concept? I mean, it is a place for human remains and memorials, not necessarily anything dark and scary and we know the soul would not want to linger, right?

Part of that has to do with the fact they are parks of a sort, and after dark no one attends. They are silent and still.

But, still they unsettle us as a reminder of mortality, the sadness of having an actual eternal resting place, and then there's Hollywood's influence on our general uneasiness.

Some cemeteries, however, have very haunted backgrounds with multiple witnesses, or urban legend powerful fears associated with them. 

Some cemeteries get a reputation for someone who is buried there of great power, like the St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Marie Laveau, a voodoo queen, was laid to rest in the cemetery and ever since, visitors go out of their way to visit her grave, scratch out three x's and ask her for a wish. They then leave a gift at the grave. Her apparition in brightly covered garb and red and white turban has been seen wandering the streets of New Orleans and the cemetery. 

Other cemeteries, get a reputation for having had ghosts photographed and seen there. Bachelor's Grove is such a cemetery near Chicago, Illinois (Midlothian).

The cemetery has been reported to have lots of phenomena, from spirits caught on film to balls of lights. When the road to it was closed, people had to take to foot into the woods. Then, over the years it became more and more isolated from the surrounding city. It became a place where vandals went to test their fear tolerance and unfortunately, do damage to the unattended graves. Its reputation is spoken of by many in the area as fact. 

There are a few cemeteries known for association with Hell or the Devil. Stull Cemetery in Kansas has a reputation of having the gateway to Hell. 

The legends goes that there are seven gateways to hell and Stull Cemetery is one of them. The cemetery was left beside an abandoned church in Stull, Kansas. It is said that the Devil used the church as his lair and that two days of the year he passes through, the spring equinox and Halloween. It's a delicious legend that likely drives the locals nuts with lookie loo's, but some places look the part of their reputation.

Most cemeteries are posted that you do not enter after sunset. They aren't playgrounds to rush around like children and cause mayhem. They are memorials for those who have passed and sacred sites to those who miss them. 

If you want to contribute to the cemetery while also getting the creepy mood and ambiance that many of them have, I suggest you bring a trash bag and clean up any trash, set vases of flowers upright that have fallen over, bring a handful of flowers and leave one on each grave that is so old that no one visits them anymore. Say their name out loud so that is has been spoken in this decade. 

Now, enjoy a sunset photographing session with the sun at a tilt, the headstones casting shadows, the wrought iron looking gothic. Don't just take shots of headstones, come at them at angles, perhaps one upshot as if someone were looking up from inside the grave, involve the plants, or the interesting offerings left behind to be captured in the foreground. 

Let's have a look at some supposed ghost videos taken at cemeteries

Haunted cemeteries - 

How about some creepy photos of cemeteries? They do make moody subject matter - 

Cemeteries are amazing places to take a sketch book and draw. They lend themselves well to pencil work and black and white. As well, some people perform grave rubbings of interesting headstones and there are some good tutorials online. Just be certain you follow the instructions to do so in a respectful and neat way. The bodies buried in that cemetery are immortalized there in stone relief, so remember that when you consider you own eventual demise. 

Safety Coffin bells
The Victorian Era was fraught with nervousness about death and especially the idea of being buried alive. So, some graves were rigged with a bell the person could ring if they awakened in their coffin.

Bells are hung in cemeteries even today as a way for the dead to communicate. In Feng Shui, if you place windchimes inside your house in the southwest corner, the dead will be attracted. Don't be surprised if they ring....

Cemeteries don't always provide amazing findings, but one particular one at a geologic feature in Arizona on the ancient land of the HoHoKam (a tribe that went missing in the 1400s), I found one particular family grave of about 19 members whose patriarch was ironically involved in placing the modern day canals along much of the land the HoHoKams put their canals a thousand years ago.

Over the years, I have gone back with several photographers and cameras and still we all get unusual phenomena in perfectly fine weather. Sometimes we can take consecutive pics with the phenomena developing in each shot and then disappearing suddenly. There are no lights in the cemetery. These are only a few samples of many dozens of photos.

And one thing folks don't realize about cemeteries is that they are also known to often have spooklights and Bigfoot seen in them at night, as well as shadow people. 

Why is this? 

Well, any guess will do. I'd say it's likely because cemeteries can be areas within natural settings that humans don't tend to go to at night, allowing them to become an open playground or thru-way for inhabitants of the woods. Spooklights often happen in the woods.

When I was a kid, I saw blue ball orbs of lights dancing in a cemetery across from our summer home. I wrote in detail about it in my book, Vacationing With Ghosts. They didn't seem particularly purposeful or long-lived, but my sense as a kid was some sort of natural energy. 

Abandoned cemeteries are super creepy - 

Let's look at some movies that have a focus on creepy cemeteries. (IMDB)

Hocus Pocus
After three centuries, three witch sisters are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it is up to two teenagers, a young girl and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches' reign of terror once and for all.

Now and Then
Four 12-year-old girls grow up together during an eventful small-town summer in 1970.

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things 
Six friends dig up a corpse to use in a Satanic ritual to make the dead rise from their graves.

Night of the Living Dead
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt the remain safe from these flesh eating monsters.

Cemetery Man
A cemetery man must kill the dead a second time when they become zombies.

The Omen
Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil's own son?

The Return of the Living Dead
When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies.

Salem's Lot
A novelist and a young horror fan attempt to save a small New England town which has been invaded by vampires.

The Car
A mysterious black, sleek automobile terrorizes everyone it comes into contact with in a small town in Utah. The local sheriff may be the only person who can stop this menace which has been possessed by pure evil.

Army of Darkness
A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home.

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