Today I have a somewhat strange confession to make. And I didn’t realize that this was in fact a truly weird thing until recently.
Anyone who knows me personally or follows me on whatever social media platform of their choice knows that I have a deep passion for history. It started when my dad took my family to London. He was on a business trip and allowed me, my mom, and my brother to tag along. We went sight seeing while he went into data rooms. Poor dad. But anyway. Mom took me to Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Then the Tower of London, the British Museum, Madame Tussauds. The works! Needless to say, this trip forever changed and altered the course of my life. Because I had never been exposed to anything outside my own small world of the 3rd grade. I had no idea that people had lived for long before I was ever born. Other than my parents anyway.
Along with these small ventures around London, I loved seeing all the old graves where these famous people were buried. It was beyond intriguing to me. What were their stories? What did their lives mean to them or to the people around them? What wisdom did they have that I might be able to learn from? And most importantly, is Queen Elizabeth I still wearing one of those enormous jeweled dresses from her portraits inside her gigantic casket? Serious… I wanna know!
In future years, I always traveled to grave yards. Old ones. Screw the news ones, because those are just depressing. Old ones, not so much. Because in my mind, everyone who was being mourned is gone along with their mourners, so it’s okay to walk around and be fascinated. Forgive me if that sounds twisted, but that’s how I work it out in my mind.
When I went to New England with a friend, I MADE her stop at the old church yard grave sites. You know, the ones with headstones dating all the way back to the 1600s. Then when I went back to London, I did the same. Visiting every old grave site I could find (but ironically not the one closest to where I lived. Never made it to that one. Everyone said it was huge and you could get lost easily, and I didn’t want to go alone…and oddly enough no one would venture inside it with me. Can’t imagine why…)
When I went to Paris, I had to see Cemetery Monmartre. If only to see Edgar Degas’s grave and pay my respects. Love that man’s work. Then when I was in Edinburgh, I just HAD to walk through Greyfriar’s more than once. Or even twice. Not because many of the names within that site J.K. Rowling used to Harry Potter (although that was immensely cool), but because it was one of the creepiest and therefore coolest grave yards I had ever beheld. Then we went into the Underground Vaults which truly scared the crap out of me.
Let me remind you that I am the person who flat out refuses to watch horror movies. I don’t have a thing for terror, blood, or gore. It comes from a writer’s perspective. The people. Their stories. Their lives. And a little bit of paranormal activity mixed in because it is ME we are talking about here. And I love the paranormal.
I recently saw on an episode of “The Haunting Of” with psychic Kim Russo that a guy went to an old Civil War grave site and a spirit followed him back to his hotel room. She thought it was incredibly creepy that this guy liked to watch through grave yards. And that was the moment when I realized that walking through graveyards was a weird thing to do. And that might be why my friends never seem to want to come along with me. I might be messing with the unknown. But then again, I firmly believe that the “unknown” so to speak brought it on itself because it has messed with me a few times over the years.
Tell me I am not the only one! Oh old grave yard lovers out there! Grave yards to me hold a mysticism that cannot be touched by anything else in this world. They hold stories, names that refuse to yet be forgotten, and potentially spirits. Although I don’t believe they hold the spirits of those who lie within them. Graveyards are for the living. Why would the dead mess around them? I would think that they have better things to do with their time than walk around old grave markers. Which is another reason why I can justify my walking around them. BUT NEVER AT NIGHT MIND YOU! Because that’s just crazy. 😉