“On The Fringe” Why Cemeteries?

On the Fringe
Think before you act, kids!  Now this is all bricked up and ruined for future generations of ghost hunters.
Think before you act, kids! Now this is all bricked up and ruined for future generations of ghost hunters.

It’s a beautiful July day today. By my definition, that means it’s not stifling hot with 100% humidity. A perfect day for a walk. Luckily for me I live just a few blocks away from the famous Milan Cemetery. Well, maybe not “famous” famous, but if you look on any Haunted Ohio site you’ll see Abbott’s Tomb listed there. The tomb is much different now than it was back when I would visit as a kid. Back then, you could look right into the tomb through a barred window, just daring the rocking chair that sat in there to rock in front of your eyes. Now that window is bricked up, taking a lot of the fun/eeriness away from the urban legend that surrounds the place. Thanks a lot cemetery vandals. Grrrrr.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but cemeteries are one of my favorite places to explore. I try to visit one almost every time I go on vacation. A couple of my favorites have been Resurrection Cemetery near Chicago, Illinois and Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans. I feel a sense of calm and peacefulness as I wander among the headstones, reading names and dates, wondering about the peoples’ lives. What was it like to live in the 1800’s? What happened that this whole family passed away so close in date to each other? How depressing is it to have your name already on a headstone just because your spouse had the audacity to pass over before you?

Behold the safety coffin! Circa 1822

But we’ve all seen it right? The movie where the spooky night in the cemetery wreaks havoc on the lives of those who dared to pass through it. The TV show where a teenager swears he got possessed by the spirit of the person whose gravestone he sat on through a dare. Fringe has even been asked to investigate an old Jewish cemetery. And my question is…why? Why do people assume that cemeteries are automatically haunted? It seems to me that if I were to come back as a ghost (spirit, whatever), I’d want to haunt either: A) wherever my family is residing so I could check up on them, B) a place that I loved and have wonderful memories of, or C) in the case of a traumatic death, the place where I died. Speaking of traumatic deaths, I know that it is a fairly well-known fact that before modern medicine people would get buried alive. Especially in areas where diseases such as the black plague and cholera went through and a lot of people died in a short amount of time. Now, those people I could see possibly roaming around the cemetery ticked off that they went before their time. But why would I want to hang out where my body is? Shoot…I’d trade this body for Heidi Klum’s body right now. I am really not that attached.

I remember when my paternal grandfather passed away. I looked into his casket and had almost an out-of-body experience as I realized: This is not my grandpa! This is just a shell. My grandpa’s soul/spirit/personality is no longer of this earth. I was almost a little jealous as I thought “He knows now. He knows what’s on the other side. I wonder what that’s like….” As I reminisce about that, I feel like I should go visit his grave. Although, if I had to bet, I don’t think his spirit would be there. It would be in the barn where he raised horses and spent so much time with animals. Maybe I should arrange to go back there instead.

And I did! These are memories of my grandpa’s barn.

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