About Loren Rhoads

Loren at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park

My new book, 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, is coming out in October of this year! It’s available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


My fascination with graveyards goes way back. I grew up down the road from a country graveyard where my grandfather was buried. After a series of missed connections during the First Gulf War, I ended up in London’s glorious Highgate Cemetery. From that point on, I was hooked.

In the 1990s, I edited Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries. Spanning the globe from Argentina to Wall Street, 27 authors and photographers documented the residences of the dead. The book has been out of print for years, but used copies occasionally turn up on Amazon: Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries. In 2015, I started running a series of guest posts — new Death’s Garden essays — on this blog.  The collection of them can be found here.

I’ve been a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies since 1999. You can follow my cemetery discoveries on the web on Pinterest, my travel photography on Instagram, and my fascination with cemetery ephemera on Tumblr.

Between 1997 and 2002, I wrote a monthly series of travel essays about visiting cemeteries on Gothic.Net.  Some of those essays were collected in Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, originally published by Western Legends Press in May 2013.  Other essays in the book originally appeared in my Morbid Curiosity magazine, as well as in Morbid Outlook, Eleven Eleven, and other places. An updated edition will be out from Automatism Press in 2017.

Do you take cemetery adventures yourself?  I’ve made a notebook in which to record your field notes and observations.  The Cemetery Travels Notebook features 80 lined pages, interspersed with 20 full-page color photographs of cemeteries from Paris to Tokyo to inspire your wanderlust.

In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I’ve written about cemeteries for Gothic Beauty, Mental Floss, Scoutie Girl, Atlas Obscura, and more. My cemetery CV is here: Loren’s Cemetery Work.

I’ve been honored to speak at the lovely Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California and at the Death Salon Forum in San Francisco.  I would love to talk to your book club or historical association about cemeteries.

If you’re interested in my fiction, please check out my other website at lorenrhoads.com.

Still curious? Sign up for my monthly mailing list for morbid adventures, peeks behind the scenes, and more: https://mailchi.mp/aa9545b2ccf4/lorenrhoads.

You can contact me by leaving a public message below or with a private message on the Contact Me form.

29 Responses to About Loren Rhoads

  1. lorenrhoads says:

    If I were to start with one of your books, what’s the best one to begin with? I see that Lulu is having a sale… 🙂


  2. Loren, you have taken tapophilia to glorious heights! Visit us at Riverside Cemetery (the one in Macon, Georgia-there are dozens of Riv Cems across the nation. Some states, like Massachussetts, have a Riv Cem in each of several little towns along a river that winds through the state. )

    Our landscape was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1887. Resting here are famous sports figures-boxer William Lawrence “Young” Stribling and “Miracle Man of the Diamond,” George Stallings, Sr. There is a man who was buried standing up in observance of an easter rite. The gypsy queen of North America was laid to rest with hundred dollar bills rolled up between her fingers. A woman born into slavery who died during the Great Depression was buried on the family lot of a prominent white family by their scion, a man whom she had cared for in his childhood.

    Come to Spirits in October, when visitors go back in time as costumed actors at graveside put a human face on history.


    • lorenrhoads says:

      Oh, Riverside looks lovely! Thank you so much for the invitation. I’m not as familiar as I should be with the cemeteries of Georgia. I think it’s time to plan a road trip!


  3. Guire John Cleary says:

    I am the former Curator of Mission Dolores in San Francisco (1999-2004). I recently came upon your article on the cemetery at Mission San Francisco de Asis. Yours is one of the best written and factually accurate descriptions I have seen to date. Great work and well done!


    • lorenrhoads says:

      Thanks so much for your note! I took one of your tours with the San Francisco Historical Association, which I very much enjoyed. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the mission.


  4. ceceliafutch says:

    I love this site! And on just about every vacation we visit a cemetary or two. I love how they photograph. I was a grief and bereavement counselor for years, and sometimes would visit cemetaries with clients. Great stuff.


  5. Pingback: El siete «

  6. hugmamma says:

    Thanks for liking my post re tombstone epitaphs, a challenge of WordPress’ Daily Post. You’ve a very unique blog and are obviously somewhat of an expert on the subject of cemeteries. Sometime ago I wrote a post about visiting California’s Forest Lawn Cemetery in the hopes of seeing Michael Jackson’s burial site. Of course I was only able to see the building, which was fine. But I was thrilled to sneak behind the chain that was suppose to keep tourists out, and get up close to the vaults in which the bodies of Clark Gable and Carol Lombard rested, as well as other Golden Age celebrities’ remains lay. It may sound morbid, but I was thrilled!

    keep up the good work…hugmamma. 🙂


    • Loren Rhoads says:

      I haven’t been back to Forest Lawn since Michael was buried, but I was really disappointed that his grave is off-limits. I can’t believe he would want people not to be able to visit.

      Thanks for sharing your memories!


  7. Loren Rhoads says:

    Thanks for the link, Stuart. I have seen your photos around — on Facebook? — but I haven’t seen your books before.


  8. Erik says:

    Loren, You are fabulous!!! Your lecture at Cypress Lawn was interesting, informative and ingenious!!!! I learned a lot about history and other facts about cemeteries, some I knew about but other info I did not. Hope there will be a part two next year!!!! Or sooner!!! Erik


  9. Rosa says:

    While we haven’t been to any of those famous plceas, we do hit the cemeteries when we travel and actually when we lived in Savannah close to home. The Pioneer Cemetery and Bonaventure are just beautiful and fascinating. Here in Oregon there are lots of little town plots that tell the most wonderful stories too. I love the stonework and statuary too.


  10. sutira says:

    Your passion for cemeteries intrigues me. Interesting work you have 🙂


  11. Jacky Walker says:

    Love your posts, Lauren. There is so much to learn! Please visit our historic San Fernando Pioneer Memorial Cemetery in Sylmar the next time you are in L.A. I’ll give you a tour. We are home of the upcoming Ghost Girls television show, and we are trying to preserve/restore this heavily vandalized graveyard and open it for educational tourism. One long-lost headstone stolen in the 1950s was returned to us recently, but we don’t know where “Emiley” belongs….so sad.


  12. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Hi I got here via Jo Bryant and you have a fascinating blog. I also like to visit cemeteries and walk most days in my local one. Just wanted to share this one with you in case you haven’t been. http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/gallipoli-and-anzac-cove-in-remembrance/


  13. Hi Loren – we recommend your blog here: http://conjamonspain.com/2013/10/17/cbbh-photo-challenge-pairs/

    Best regards – S and M, con jamon spain


  14. Hello, I took a photo when I went to visit my real mom’s grave site when I was 27 and when I developed it, I found that the blade of grass make the sign of a cross between the born date and death date. ODD!!


  15. Loren if you ever plan to visit Denver CO. I would love to have you speak to our group Friends Of Historic Riverside Cemetery. Visit our website to learn more about our group, and please let us know if you are ever coming our way. We would love to hear your stories and share our’s with you.


  16. Mark Talisman says:

    I just read your entry on Terezin Cemetery and wanted to elaborate in regard to the star ov od David at the Wall! I engaged the most recognized Czech architect Alec Vesely who is still alive, to design this as a recognition whose graves strength there! I tried for decades but the Communist regimes never allowed any recognizing of the fact the Jewish people were the largest numbers impacted in this ghetto concentration camp! As soon as Communism died this project was begun! Veseky took the very rail road rails on which the endless trains cattle cars varied the victims fist from Bohemia, Moravia and Prague in 1941 then from Seven other countries at first notables, world famous Rabbi tracher philosopher Leo Baeck, Great composers, musicians, singers actors to show the world to protect them from the horrors of War! Dissembling went in through the way with a prearranged visit by the Swedish red cross to report officially on conditions saying that given wartime all was relatively good they having restricted their tour to street which was cleaned up storefronts filled with food wine pastry and reversed all report to World was based upon the fraudulent i rearrangement! So a small group under aegis if Project Judaica Of Washington DC on that board provided funds to complete Veselys design using the rail line itself upon which the victims arrived or were then deported to the death camps Auschwitz or Treblinka death where 95 percent of Czech Jews were murdered! Of the 15,000 children who entered Terezin 132 survived total! They were taught in an underground school all the while!
    I have served on thevboard of Terezin where there are substantiveveducational programs each year for tens of thousands from all over the world!
    Thanks for your attention to Terezin as it’s unique among all the camps, Ghettoes, death and slave labor camps which number over 650
    Mark Talisman
    Founding Vice Chair
    uS Holocaust Museum and Memorial
    292 256 6208
    Washington DC


    • Mark Talisman says:

      I should have said the following vital info: this May 8th Terezin was liberated one day after the liberation of Europecwas because Terezin was in the grip of a Typhus epidemic!
      To there ever lasting honor the Russian medical personnel remained on duty as their Soviet army personnel flet the disease!
      Many of the doctors and nurses ministering to the dying Holocaust victuns . Their graves Lay near each other but didn’t revive tombstones and thebhuge cross over their heads as heroes as they truly were! the Jewish victims got notimstones but were by then cremated in the four small ovens at the crematorium at the edge of town!
      Tis important to recognize the true heroism and devotion to their Hewish patients to their own detriment and Sure death!


    • Loren Rhoads says:

      Thank you so much for this additional information, Mark. I really appreciate it.


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