As a taphophile, never once have I been frightened of any unearthly energy in the cemetery. I am sure some rude residents linger, but none have ever bothered me; I am certain their numbers are greatly outnumbered by peaceful guests who welcome a visit now and then.
Earthly energies keep me on guard in a cemetery, though. My dad was in law enforcement; he always cringed at my cemetery walks by myself. Many times he came along, as my protector. Once I was glad he did. I was planting a mum plant on my mother’s grave, bent down and not aware of my surroundings. My dad was just around the bend in the road, at the water faucet. Without a sound, a man came up behind me and asked if I needed help planting the flowers. Friendliness, perhaps…….I learned that moment never to let my guard down and be unaware of all that might be lurking nearby.
I sure was glad when my father stepped up from the road.
Age and experience has wisened me up a bit. The cemetery is one of the most peaceful sanctuaries, so expectedly, it is also a sanctuary of sorts for a criminal element. A lot of robberies occur in the cemetery. Grieving women have had purses stolen. The quietness of the cemetery grounds provides shelter for illicit activities of many sorts.
When you go to photograph, try not to go alone. Have someone with you, don’t stray too far off from your car. I park, walk a bit, then get back in the car and move on. Never allow too much distance between you and a safe path to move quickly. The terrain of cemeteries, especially if you photograph in the snow like me, is not the easiest of getaway surfaces.
When you get back to your car, always check the back seats…..someone can get inside and duck down, waiting.
This all sounds very dark and doom laden, but it is always best to be safe. In the news last night, was a sorrowful story of a woman assaulted in a cemetery.
I once went on a midnight tour of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in NY. I love Sleepy Hollow, you can bring your dog and walk there…. many do. It was midnight, on Halloween, as we walked past Washington Irving’s grave. In the total darkness, we were shaken by rustling among the leaves. A small group of teens had climbed the fence and were reading “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” on Irving’s grave. Not malicious fun, but they were quickly ushered out. My point being that if someone wants to get in, they will.
So, be safe, fellow taphophiles. Bring a friend, either furry or two legged, depending on cemetery rules. It is spring now, most of you will be venturing out to capture the blooms and beauty of graveyards on film.
Cemeteries are filled with energy, most good……….some bad.