Tag Archives: cemeteries

Facebook Groups: Graveside

Administrator: Brian Schifferdecker
300 members

The monument of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English Cemetery, Florence, Italy. Photo by Loren Rhoads.

The monument of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English Cemetery, Florence, Italy. Photo by Loren Rhoads.

Q: There are a lot of cemetery aficionado groups on Facebook. What sets yours apart?

A: I’m trying to promote the artistic beauty and the peace that goes along with visiting our nation’s cemeteries.

Q: Do you have a policy about what is appropriate to post?

A: Most people are creeped out when it comes to cemeteries, so I want to show that there is nothing creepy or weird about cemetery photography. It’s been kinda slow lately, so I’m encouraging more people to get out there with their cameras and start snapping those pictures. I am trying to get more posts of cemeteries from around the country and around the world.

Q: How old is your group?

A: My group is a little over two years old.

Q: Is your group open to new members?

A: My group is always open to new members. The only criteria are a passion for cemeteries and you have to be an actual person, not some spam-spreader.

Q: Are you a member of any other cemetery groups?

A. I am the creator of Cemetery Humor, and a member of both Graves of the Rich and Famous, and Findagrave.

Facebook Groups: Graveyard Detectives

Graveyard Detectives
Administrator: Laurence John Manton
405 members

"The most interesting of New Orleans historic burial places..."

“The most interesting of New Orleans historic burial places…”

Q: There are a lot of cemetery aficionado groups on Facebook. What sets yours apart?

A: Graveyard Detectives provides a home for those interested in the World of Graveyards and Cemeteries. It takes a look at the stories behind the stones, as well as the symbolism, funerary architecture, and news about cemeteries from around the world. Photographs of memorials and gravestones, accompanied by some research on the person(s) they commemorate, are most welcome. If members of the group have any interesting related memorabilia, they are encouraged to share with this group. The purpose of the group is to help expand knowledge of this most fascinating area of interest.

Q: How old is your group?

A: It evolved out of my blog The Graveyard Detective, which launched in 2009. To this, I added a Graveyard Detective Facebook page, which highlights news about cemeteries worldwide. In late 2010, I created the Graveyard Detectives group to enable those interested in the subject to share their knowledge.

Q: Do you have a policy about what is appropriate to post?

A: I don’t have a published policy about what is appropriate or not. I have been fortunate, so far, that members of the group have stuck to the subject. That said, I do find an increasing number of people asking to join the group are unsuitable: mostly individuals with a profile picture of an attractive young woman, despite an about section that lists them as male — and there is only one post, which records that HE has changed HIS profile picture. Let those through and, suddenly, there is a post offering services or fashion bargains, etc. Response? Instant report, delete, and ban! I am an Admin on Cemetery Iron and find they get a certain number of dubious individuals wanting to join.

Membership of the group has risen more than 120% in the past three months and more people are posting in it. I think this is a reasonable indicator that the mix of content is probably about right.

Q: Is your group open to new members?

A: I run an open group, but prospective members need to ask to join.

Q: Are you a member of any other cemetery groups?

A: Twenty-eight related groups. There were more, but I recently withdrew from several and am likely to drop out of more in the future, concentrating on those I believe to add value to the subject.

Facebook Groups: Cemetery Inscriptions, Epitaphs, and Symbols

Emperor Norton's monument, Greenlawn Cemetery, Colma. Photo by Loren Rhoads.

Emperor Norton’s monument, Greenlawn Cemetery, Colma. Photo by Loren Rhoads.

Cemetery Inscriptions, Epitaphs, & Symbols
Moderator: Anne Mitchell
531 members

Q: There are a lot of cemetery aficionado groups on Facebook. What sets yours apart?

A: Most of the cemetery groups I have created are related to specific cemeteries in my local area and one favorite (Lake View) in Cleveland. My most popular group, however, is “Cemetery Inscriptions, Epitaphs, and Symbols,” which currently has over 500 members. I also created Sensual Cemetery Art (only 165 members) to share some of the old and erotic statuary found around the world.

What sets mine apart? Hmmm. That’s hard to say. I’m not sure mine are all that different from others, other than they are focused or geared, for the most part, to specific cemeteries.

I also have a very small closed group called “Cemetery Sistas,” which consists of an “elite” (LOL) group of women from around the world who have bonded and become very close friends because of our love of cemeteries.

Q: Do you have a policy about what is appropriate to post?

A: The only thing I have asked in my Inscriptions group is to be sensitive as to how recently the person has departed before sharing their monuments in the group. I’d prefer, in this instance, that only the epitaphs/symbols be shared, sans the individuals’ information.

Q: How old is your group?

A: All my cemetery groups are over a year old.

Q: Is your Inscriptions group open to new members?

A: It is a closed group, but open to new members. I check the profile of each person who asks to join. If I see they have mutual “cemetery” friends, I add them without looking further. If they do not have mutual friends, I check other groups they are in, their cover photos, their profile pictures, etc. If I do not see anything related to genealogy, cemeteries, etc., I do not allow them in. I’m trying to avoid spammers. If I see they are in groups with non-English writing (such as Hebrew or Chinese), they are instantly rejected.

Q: Are you a member of any other cemetery groups?

A: I am a member of MANY cemetery groups … I would estimate approximately 20 to 30.

I have made absolutely WONDERFUL friends through these Facebook groups. It was a freeing experience to find that I was NOT ALONE with my deep connection and near-obsession of cemeteries. I live in a small town and am known as the “cemetery lady.” I’m not sure whether they are also implying that I am a crazy lady or not. Don’t really care. In general, too many people have misconceptions and ridiculous fears of cemeteries. They do not see the peace, the beauty, the serenity, and the history of them.

Horror Writers on Cemetery Travel

I’ve been using this month’s Cemetery of the Week columns to explore the writers who have inspired me.  I thought it might be helpful if I gathered all the horror writers on Cemetery Travel together.

The master's headstone

The master’s headstone

Ray Bradbury, Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California
Seeing Stars says, “If you had to choose only one Hollywood cemetery to visit, Westwood Village Memorial Park would be your best bet.” In addition to all the movie stars, Westwood has its share of writers. Author of In Cold Blood Truman Capote’s ashes are in a niche facing the cemetery entrance. The ashes of Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, are in the Room of Prayer columbarium beyond Marilyn Monroe. Billy Wilder, screenwriter of Sunset Boulevard, has a headstone that reads, “I’m a writer, but then nobody’s perfect.” Near him lies Ray Bradbury, whose headstone remembers him as the author of Fahrenheit 451.

Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey

Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey. Vintage postcard.

Charles Dickens, Westminster Abbey, London, England
Westminster Abbey has served as the site of every British coronation since 1066. The tradition predates the modern Gothic building, begun by Henry III in 1245. The abbey is stuffed nearly to bursting with mortuary sculpture, which it is –unfortunately – forbidden to photograph. The abbey’s website says, “Taken as a whole, the tombs and memorials comprise the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom.” Charles Dickens — author of the most-filmed ghost story in the English language — was interred here against his will, rather than being allowed to be buried alongside his family in Highgate Cemetery.

Family grave in Zoshigaya

Family grave in Zoshigaya

Lafcadio Hearn, Zoshigaya Reien, Tokyo, Japan
In the last half of the 19th century, Harper’s Magazine sent Lafacadio Hearn to Japan. Although he soon parted ways with his editors, he loved the country and wrote book after book describing it to Western readers for the first time. While his tales drift in and out of fashion in the West, he is still revered in Japan. His most famous work is Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, a collection of Japanese ghost tales comparable to the work of the Brothers Grimm. Those stories inspired Akira Kurosawa’s 1964 movie of the same name, which won a Special Jury Prize at Cannes and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. Hearn is buried under his Japanese name, Koizumi Yakumo.

Washington Irving's grave in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Washington Irving’s grave in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Washington Irving, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown, New York
Walking up the hill from the parking lot between the Old Dutch Church and the Pocantico River, you’ll find the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Just shy of the crest of the hill, Washington Irving rests inside a simple iron gate emblazoned with his family name. A plain marble tablet, streaked green with lichen, marks his grave. According to a bronze plaque placed in 1972 by remaining members of the Irving family, the “graveplot” is now a national historic landmark.

Kafka's grave

Kafka’s grave

Franz Kafka, the New Jewish Cemetery, Prague, the Czech Republic
The most famous of the New Jewish Cemetery’s denizens is easy to find, thanks to good signage. Franz Kafka’s monument is a top-heavy six-sided obelisk made of pink-and-gray granite. He died in 1924 of tuberculosis, in agony from his hemorrhaging lungs. All of his novels remained incomplete and unpublished at the time of his death, so only a few friends mourned him. The Cadogan City Guide to Prague forewarned us that Kafka shared his grave with his mother and hated father. In fact, he predeceased them both. He’s commemorated as Dr. Franz Kafka, in deference to his law degree. An inscription on a marble plaque at the base of the monument remembered his three sisters, who vanished into the Nazi death camps.

The graves at Jack London State Historic Park

The graves at Jack London State Historic Park

Jack London, Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen, California
Jack London was among the most widely read authors of his time. His short story “To Build a Fire” has scarred schoolchildren for almost a century. Four days after his death on November 22, 1916, Charmian London placed her husband’s ashes on a small rise behind the ruin of the house they had been building together. The grave was marked only with a large lava rock from the Wolf House ruin. The boulder is strangely shaped: a weird, worn, organic form for a rock. Moss covers it like velvet, softening its broken edges.

H. P. Lovecraft's tombstone

H. P. Lovecraft’s tombstone

H. P. Lovecraft, Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island Swan Point’s most famous permanent resident is Howard Pillips Lovecraft. A n obelisk that says Phillips marks the plot belonging to Lovecraft’s grandparents. The back of it holds Lovecraft’s parents’ name and dates. At the bottom, he is remembered as Howard P. Lovecraft, “Their Son.” A smaller stone purchased by Dirk W. Mosig — at that time, the leading authority on Lovecraft — was unveiled during a small ceremony in 1977. The low granite marker spells out Howard Phillips Lovecraft, August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1938, with added the epitaph, “I am Providence.” Those words came from a letter Lovecraft wrote to his Aunt Lillian, eventually published in 2000 in Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters, edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz.

Poe's monument, as photographed by R. Samuel Klatchko

Poe’s monument, as photographed by R. Samuel Klatchko

Edgar Allan Poe, Westminster Hall Burying Ground, Baltimore, Maryland
Westminster Hall’s best-loved resident lies just inside the gates. A large monument marks the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, his wife Virginia, and her mother Maria Clemm. Poe was originally buried in 1849 the plot of his grandfather David Poe, elsewhere in the churchyard. His unkempt grave went unmarked for decades, despite several attempts to provide a suitable monument. Eventually, he was moved to this more prominent plot when his mother-in-law died in November 1875 . It took 10 years before his wife was exhumed from her grave in New York and reburied in Baltimore beside him. The Annual Halloween Tour of Westminster Hall & Burying Grounds is scheduled for Thursday, October 31, 2013, at 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Vintage postcard of Stevenson's grave

Vintage postcard of Stevenson’s grave

Robert Louis Stevenson, Vailima, Upolu, Samoa
In December 1894, when Stevenson died of apoplexy (a brain hemorrhage or stroke). He was 44. Local Samoans built him a hardwood coffin and stood guard over his body through the night. The following day, they cut a road through the jungle to the grave, which they called the “Road of Loving Hearts.” Working in relays, they carried the coffin to the grave. Stevenson was buried just below the 1560-foot summit of Mount Vaea in a tomb overlooking his family estate, Vailima, and the ocean.

Bram Stoker's urn at Golder's Green Columbarium. Photo by Carole Tyrrell.

Bram Stoker’s urn at Golder’s Green Columbarium. Photo by Carole Tyrrell.

Bram Stoker, Golders Green Crematorium, London, England
One of the oldest crematories in England and the oldest in London, Golders Green may also be the best-known crematorium in the world. Over the years, many famous people have chosen to be cremated there. Some remain there in urns in the columbarium or beneath rosebushes in the garden. The redbrick crematorium was built in an Italianate style with a large tower that hides its chimney. It was built in stages as money became available. The current crematorium was completed in 1939. Its three columbaria contain the ashes of thousands of Londoners. London’s Cemeteries says Golders Green is “the place to go for after-life star-spotting.” My hero Bram Stoker is in one of the columbaria, which can be visited with a guide.

Facebook Groups: Dark and Dreamy Cemeteries

Dark & Dreamy Cemeteries
Moderator: JP Vock
1155 members

Jacob wrestles the angel at Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California. Photo by Loren Rhoads

Jacob wrestles the angel at Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California. Photo by Loren Rhoads

Q: There are a lot of cemetery aficionado groups on Facebook. What sets yours apart?

A: Most cemetery groups are dominated Americans. I wanted an international group without boring gravestones or patriotism, because I think those aren’t dark or dreamy.

Q: Do you have a policy about what is appropriate to post?

A: Everything that really has to do with the love of cemeteries, but is not contrary to the rules of Facebook. I ask people only post 9 photos a day.

Q: How old is your group?

A: It was founded Easter 2012.

Q: Is your group open to new members?

A: Yes. I have no criteria for new members. I just hope to get the right ones.

Q: Are you a member of any other cemetery groups?

A: Yes, many groups. I’ll have to count someday.