Category Archives: Cemetery interview

Interviews with tour guides, authors, photographers, and other cemetery aficionados.

My Cemetery Videos on Youtube

Many years ago, I started a channel on Youtube. It was intended to showcase videos I recorded, but over the years, I’ve appeared on a number of other people’s podcasts and blogs, talking about cemeteries.

Last week, I finally spent some time organizing my youtube channel into a functional series of playlists. If you’ve got some time, you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvTI4Zh74nsCLGmOBqulRRQ

The Cemetery Travel playlist collects interviews I’ve done with Joanna Penn of Books & Travel, Goth podcast Cemetery Confessions, genealogy podcast Extreme Genes, cryptozoology podcast Strange Familiars, and most recently with Tui Snider’s Tombstone Tuesday podcast. There are also some video clips from the interview I did with Bridget Marquardt for Ghost Magnet.

If you click past the channel’s home page to my collection of playlists, there’s one of my favorite cemetery videos on youtube. These include videos other cemetery bloggers have made of their graveyard explorations, lectures I’ve attended online, and much more. Here’s the direct link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXorvWMCgb5B1bXgYOemh-I8Xt3FdjbBx

That playlist is a work in progress, so if you have a favorite video I haven’t included — or you’ve made one of your own that you would like me to check out, please send me the link.

I hope you’ll check out my channel. I’m working on another video that I hope to have finished in May. Let me know if there’s is anything related to cemeteries that you’re particularly curious about and I’ll try to assemble a video exploration on the subject.

Thanks!

Join me for a live conversation about Cemeteries

DATE CHANGE: Despite the podcast being called Tombstone Tuesday, this will take place on Wednesday, March 17 at 4 pm CT (or 2 PT). Tui’s getting her vaccine on Tuesday.

Tui Snider, author of Understanding Cemetery Symbols and Six Feet Under Texas, has invited me to come chat about cemeteries. You can join us live on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc8atGbwYis

We’ll be taking questions from the chat, if you have anything you’re dying to know.

A Taste of an Interview

IMG_0944Hello! I’ve missed you.  I’ve been swamped in my other life, editing a book of horror stories to benefit survivors of last year’s Camp Fire, the worst natural disaster Northern California has seen.  That book — Tales for the Camp Fire — will be out in May.

In the interim, I’ve been visiting some of the local pioneer cemeteries as research for that book, but so far, I haven’t gotten my notes polished up.  Soon my life will have more balance, I hope, and I can begin posting regularly on Cemetery Travel again.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy one of my favorite interviews I did last year.

The interviewer asked, “What was so glorious about your first visit to Highgate?”

Loren: Before I visited Highgate, I hadn’t spent a lot of time in graveyards. I was familiar with the little farming community cemetery down the road from where I grew up – and my date wanted to take our prom pictures in a lovely old garden cemetery near our small town — but Highgate was my first experience with a cemetery as an outdoor sculpture garden. I was immediately fascinated by the angels standing on graves or peeping out of the ivy. They were lovely, I could get as close as I wanted, and it was possible to walk all around them and look at them from every angle.  I still don’t know as much about art as I should, but I am an ardent student of beauty.  Highgate inspired me to look for the beauty that is so common in cemeteries and rare in real life.

Before I saw Highgate, I assumed that cemeteries were permanent and unchanging. Learning about that cemetery’s history of vandalism and neglect opened my eyes.  Cemeteries are really very fragile, almost ephemeral.  All it takes is an ice storm or a determined kid, to say nothing of a hurricane or an earthquake, to do irreparable damage. While Highgate is full of monuments to famous people, it was the stones that remembered average people that most captivated me.  I realized that once their monuments were damaged, it was possible the memory of their lives would be completely erased. I found that really poignant. It’s inspired my crusade to persuade people to visit cemeteries.  If people don’t begin to fall in love, then cemeteries will crumble away and be lost.

Her second question: “What is it about cemeteries that makes you feel alive?”

Loren: Other people may see my fascination with cemeteries as morbid, but I don’t.  Visiting cemeteries, especially while traveling, is restorative to me.  I can get overwhelmed by crowds and maps and concrete. I counteract that by walking in the sunshine, listening to the birds sing, smelling the flowers, and looking at some gravestones.  Cemeteries remind me that every day aboveground is a blessing.

Question #3: “What sort of things can people gain from a visit?”

Cemeteries offer a surprising variety of experiences. They provide habitats for birds and wildlife, as well as arboretums and gardens of surprising beauty. They can appeal to art lovers, amateur sociologists, birdwatchers, cryptologists, master gardeners, historians, hikers, genealogists, picnickers, and anyone who just wants to stop and smell the roses. Our relationships with the places we visit can be deepened and enriched by learning the stories of those who came—and stayed—before us.

Some cemeteries offer tours, whether self-guided, historian-led, or put on by actors in costumes who represent the people interred there. Others offer galleries or libraries dedicated to the works of people buried here. Some provide book clubs, host author events, show movies, or serve as venues for celebrations like Dia de los Muertos or Qing Ming. Friends of the Cemetery groups host cleanup days for cemeteries that need extra care, which is a great way for people to give back to their communities.

Parts of the interview were quoted in “Trails of the Unexpected” in Breathe magazine #18, which was published in January.  You can see the finished piece here: https://www.breathemagazine.com/portfolio-item/breathe-issue-18/.

 

 

 

 

199 Cemetery links

Last year was great for getting the word out about traveling to cemeteries. I spoke to reporters from Time, Preservation magazine, Entertainment Weekly, the LA Times, Real Simple magazine, and many more. I was honored to talk to Callie Crosby for her Under the Radar bookclub on NPR and radio broadcasters from Ireland to Australia to my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

I’ve gathered all the links together, but this is one of my favorites:

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 10.03.41 AM

Articles & Interviews:

Rhoads_NYT Book Review_10_1_17 copyGuide to Graveside Tourism
New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/books/review/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die.html

What Gets Remembered: How Visiting a Cemetery Can Teach you About History
Time magazine
http://time.com/4963379/cemeteries-history-rhoads/

Hurry to see a cemetery while you can still appreciate it, says author Loren Rhoads
Los Angeles Times
https://www.latimes.com/books/la-et-jc-199-cemeteries-20171018-htmlstory.html

The Best Historic Cemeteries to Visit Around the World
The National Trust for Historic Preservation
https://savingplaces.org/stories/the-best-historic-cemeteries-to-visit-around-the-world#.WjarlVQ-f2Q

Books for Impassioned Travelers
Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-must-read-for-restless-fly-fishermenand-other-books-for-travelers-1509645620

A Kind of Serendipity: 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die
Funeral Zone
https://www.funeralzone.co.uk/blog/loren-rhoads-199-cemeteries-travel-book

Cemetery Travel: World’s Best Destinations
Blueprints for Living on ABC radio in Australia
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/cemetery-travel—10-of-the-worlds-best/8667452

Dark Tourism: Why Would You Want to Spend Your Holiday Visiting a Cemetery?
Blueprints for Living on ABC radio in Australia
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-06/tombstone-tourism-why-we-visit-cemeteries-on-holidays/8673454

In Search of Cemeteries Alive with Beauty, Art, and History
Atlas Obscura
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/cemeteries-to-visit-before-you-die-monuments

“199 Cemeteries” A Lively Chronicle of Culture
San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/article/Travel-Books-199-Cemeteries-a-lively-12241291.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result

Loren Rhoads suggests 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die: Life, Death, and Everything in Between
Narrative Species
https://narrativespecies.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/loren-rhoads-suggests-199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die-life-death-and-everything-in-between/

Just in Time for Halloween, Bay Area Cemeteries to See Before You Die
San Francisco magazine
https://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/just-time-halloween-the-bay-area-cemeteries-see-you-die

12 of the Most Beautiful Cemeteries Around the World
Mental Floss
http://mentalfloss.com/photos/504533/12-most-beautiful-cemeteries-around-world

These Connected Graves in the Netherlands Prove Love Conquers All
Mental Floss
http://mentalfloss.com/article/505109/these-connected-graves-netherlands-prove-love-conquers-all

10 Hauntingly Beautiful Cemeteries to Visit Before Halloween
Real Simple
https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/travel/beautiful-cemeteries-to-visit

Cemetery-book author takes readers to 199 of her favorites
San Diego Union Tribune
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/books/sd-et-author-rhoads-20171010-story.html

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die
Death & the Maiden
https://deadmaidens.com/2017/12/12/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die/

11 Cemeteries That Are Hauntingly Beautiful
Popsugar
https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/World-Most-Beautiful-Cemeteries-44166497

A Guide to the World’s Most Intriguing Cemeteries
Hyperallergic
https://hyperallergic.com/403271/a-tombstone-explorers-guide-to-the-worlds-most-intriguing-cemeteries

10 Great Cemeteries to Visit Before You Die
USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/10greatplaces/2017/10/27/cemeteries/803205001/

Two of the “199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die” are in Utah
Salt Lake City Tribune
http://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/arts/2017/10/27/two-of-the-199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die-are-in-utah/

10 Cemeteries to See Before you Die
Funeral Zone
https://www.funeralzone.co.uk/blog/10-cemeteries-see-you-die

7 Amazing Cemeteries to Visit Before You Inhabit One (if You’re into That Sort of Thing)
Did You Know
http://didyouknowfacts.com/8-amazing-cemeteries-visit-inhabit-one-know-youre-sort-thing/

Cemeteries You must see before you die: Scotland to Japan, the world’s most haunted and beautiful burial sites revealed
Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-5150991/The-worlds-hauntingly-beautiful-burial-sites.html

Being Dead Sucks Even More than You Thought
Vice
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5gwwy/being-dead-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought

The London Dead review:
http://thelondondead.blogspot.com/2017/10/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die.html

Two Books to Delight the Tombstone Tourist in You
Luna Luna
http://www.lunalunamagazine.com/dark/2-boos-to-delight-the-tombstone-tourist

IMG_8862Radio:

Callie Crosby’s Under the Radar book club
https://news.wgbh.org/2017/11/10/author-graveyard-aficionado-asks-whats-your-favorite-cemetery

Blueprints for Living on ABC radio in Australia
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/tombstone-tourism/8665726

Gary Shapiro’s From the Bookshelf (23 minutes in)
https://player.fm/series/gary-shapiros-from-the-bookshelf/guests-james-gleick-and-loren-rhodes

Agony Column (long version of Rick Kleffel’s podcast):
http://www.bookotron.com/agony/audio/2017/2017-interviews/loren_rhoads-2017.mp3

The Agony Column (short version):
http://www.bookotron.com/agony/audio/2017/2017-time_to_read/time_to_read_ep274_loren_rhoads.mp3
Broadcast 10/6: http://kbcz.org 90.1 FM Santa Cruz Community Radio

Finch Files Halloween episode
https://www.mixcloud.com/peter-finch2/finch-files-halloween-17-episode-94/

The Jim Bohannon Show

Horror Addicts #150: Cure for the Holidaze
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/horroraddicts-net-150-cure-for-the-holidaze-special/

At some point during October, I was on the Entertainment Weekly Radio show on Sirius XM. I missed hearing it, so I don’t have the airdate.

I appeared (briefly!) on the Sean Moncrief Show on Newstalk.com, a national radio broadcast in Ireland on November 6, 2017.

My last radio interview for the year was live on the Michael J. Thorp Show on December 20th, 2017. It is part of the SuperTalk 1570 Cumulus channel and broadcast in Flint, Michigan on WWCK AM.

Booklists & Shopping Guides:

EW Screenshot 199Order of the Good Death Booklist
http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com/resources/books#5

Cult of Weird’s Morbid Must-Reads for Fall
http://www.cultofweird.com/books/2017-fall-reading-list/

Cult of Weird Holiday Gift Guide
http://www.cultofweird.com/curiosities/2017-holiday-gift-guide/

Macabre Holiday Gift Guide 2017
https://boroughsofthedead.com/macabre-holiday-gift-guide-2017/

Macabre Non-Fiction Books for Darklings
http://www.thespookyvegan.com/2017/12/macabre-non-fiction-books-for-darklings.html

Weekly gift ideas from the Staff of Atlas Obscura
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/weekly-wishlist-dice-fire-cemetery-flux-science-toy

14 Holiday Gift Book Ideas to Help You Finish off Your Christmas Shopping
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900005765/14-holiday-gift-book-ideas-to-help-you-finish-off-your-christmas-shopping.html

My Articles:

5 Cemetery Road Trips for the Ultimate Taphophile
Mental Floss
http://mentalfloss.com/article/504942/5-cemetery-road-trips-ultimate-taphophile

Norton the First

Norton the First

Cemetery Sights: Norton, Emperor of the United States
Legacy.com
http://www.legacy.com/news/explore-history/article/cemetery-sights-norton-emperor-of-the-united-states

Did You Know There Are Travel Sites Dedicated to Visiting Cemeteries?
The Author Spot
https://staceyturner-authorspot.blogspot.com/2017/10/did-you-know-there-are-travel-sites.html

The Most Haunted Cemetery in the World
Horror Addicts
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/guest-blog-the-most-haunted-cemetery-in-the-world-by-loren-rhoads/

Cemeteries and the Ghost of Marie Laveau
October Frights
http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/2017/10/octoberfrights-cemeteries-and-ghost-of.html

The Ultimate Romantic Cemetery
Emmy Z. Madrial’s blog
https://emmyzmadrigal.wordpress.com/2017/10/25/guest-blog-the-ultimate-romantic-cemetery-by-loren-rhoads/

American Vampires
Emz Box
https://emzbox.wordpress.com/2017/10/27/guest-blog-american-vampires-by-loren-rhoads/

Cemetery Travel in Australia

199Cemeteries_cover lo-resI had the honor of being a guest on Blueprint for Living on Australia’s ABC network last Friday.  We talked about what draws people to cemeteries, what they might find there, and why it’s worth going out of your way to visit graves of people you don’t know. Here is the link to the podcast:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/tombstone-tourism/8665726

The three guests on the program — historian Dr. Celestina Sagazio, author Garrie Hutchinson, and me — were asked to list our ten favorite cemeteries.  Those lists are here: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/cemetery-travel—10-of-the-worlds-best/8667452

How does your list of favorites compare?

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Yesterday’s midweek holiday has thoroughly confused me, so there will be no Cemetery of the Week today.