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My Macabre Hobby

Posted on October 13, 2009

This story isnt really scary, but it was really touching to me. It was one of those events that just strengthened my belief in the afterlife.

I have this sort of macabre hobby, which originated from my love of travel. I photograph gravestones and graveyards. Whenever I have the time, I hop in my car and hit the road. I visit friends, visit an attraction, or visit a state that I hadnt previously seen. I love cross-country trips. I simply explore the town and usually will find plenty of exciting people to get to know. Well, whenever I would explore, I would run into some really interesting graveyards and always wonder about the lives of the people lying there, possibly forgotten.

A trip to Poughkeepsie, NY, to visit a friend, really ignited this curiosity, and a new hobby was born. The graveyard I saw was huge. It seemed to go on for blocks, but I couldnt tell you the actual size. It had several sections and a multitude of tombs, grave stones, and even a mausoleum. Well, the friend that I went to visit had to work during the day, so to keep myself occupied I drove around the city.

Cemetery Poughkeepsie New York

Cemetery in Poughkeepsie New York

I kept passing this graveyard and finally gave in. I drove inside and was amazed. It was breath-taking. The tombs and gravestones were beautiful. I have never seen so many different types of stones and had never seen a tomb before. I decided to start taking pictures with one of those disposable, wind-up cameras. Before I knew it I was out of film. I was so engrossed by this place that I had to take more. I headed to a drug store down the street and bought a multi-pack of more disposables and headed back.

I literally spent the entire day there taking pictures, enjoying the atmosphere, and exploring the entire grounds. What really struck me was the fact that a persons entire life could be summed up in a few sentences and a stone. The entire breadth of a lifetime, summed up with one thought. I was just awed and touched by some of the stones and amazed with the architecture.

I didnt see another person the entire time I was there. It was simply me and a bunch of silent stones. Well, I went around, driving my Jeep and stopping at each little segment of the grounds. I would explore the entire segment and then move on to the next. I often found myself with quite a trek back to the car by the time I finished. Like I said previously, I had spent the entire day there, and it was starting to become dusky.

The Mausoleum

The Mausoleum

Well, I decided to hit the mausoleum and then head back to the hotel. I began taking pictures of some of the plaques, but it really wasnt as interesting as the stones. During this time I kept felling watched. It was strange because I hadnt felt watched the entire day. One would think being in a graveyard would be a spooky feeling, but the whole time I was there I was very comfortable and felt very welcome, for lack of a better term.

All of a sudden I felt like I was being watched, from one portion of the building. I looked around for other people, but there were none to be seen. On one side of the mausoleum there was a large, open lawn with no stones. On the other there was a patch of trees about 50 feet thick. Not a place anyone could really hide. I just sort of shrugged it off and finished taking pictures.

Feeling very accomplished and excited to see the pictures, I walked back, packed up the car, and got ready to go. I began driving past the mausoleum and all of a sudden I got the feeling that I needed to stop right away. Now, mind you, this is exactly where I was feeling watched earlier. I got the sense that I had forgotten something. It was really weird because outside of a bottle of water, a camera, and my cell phone I didnt take anything out of the car. I checked and all of those things were present.

For no apparent reason, I parked, leaving the car running and began to walk up the hill toward the small patch of woods near the mausoleum. I walked about ten feet in and there she sata little angel on a bench. Right in the midst of this little patch of woods was a small gravestone of an angel, sitting on a bench, all alone. I was immediately overwhelmed. I literally got tears in my eyes. I ran back to the car to get my camera and these are the pictures I took.

Angel Gravestone

Angel Gravestone

I know it sounds crazy, but the feeling I got while I was there was completely overwhelming. I mean I actually left my car running in NY to go explore this patch of trees thats how strong it was. It was like a little kid who hadnt gotten his or her turn yet and was feeling left out. She just wanted her moment too and had waited so patiently to get it.

I took several pictures, spent a little time with her, thanked her for calling me over, and then left. She made a distinct impression on me and I will never forget that little angel.

Sent in by Jennifer Montana, Copyright 2009

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Tags: Cemeteries

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15 Responses to “My Macabre Hobby”
  1. Camille says:

    Dear Jennifer,
    I, too, enjoy trolling about cemetarys, reading markers, appreciating the sculpture of
    the monuments, celebrating the essence of the person remembered.
    I always love when there is a photograph on the headstone.
    I also just enjoy reading about the person if the stone is old enough to be a mini-biography.
    I don’t think of your hobby as macabre, but more of an appreciation of remembraces
    from the past, those rememberances are executed in a much more mundane way today.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. melia says:

    jennifer – thanks for including pictures! the first one looks a little creepy to me b/c you said no one was there but you… kind of sad. that was nice of you to stop by. someone’s company is better than no one visiting at all…

  3. Karen M. says:

    I don’t think that’s a macabre hobby, me too I love walking around cemetaries, strange about the angel, wonder why that was??

  4. Cesr says:

    Wow this is touching, the little angel part. And wow that last pic is amazing! A bright shining white angel infront of a very dark background !

  5. scarygirl67 says:

    This story had me in tears….thinking of that little angel, sitting all alone. I know what you mean about that sensation of being watched…there is no other feeling like that.

    I think you have a very cool hobby! Some cemetery art is breathtakingly gorgeous, others are elegant in their simplicity. It all seems to tell a story…and this little angel seems to me that a child was taken from its family far too soon…..the bench being there for those close to that child to sit and be close by. I have also marveled at how a person’s life can be summed up in a short phrase or thought.

    I really appreciated this story….and I’m sure the little angel did too.

  6. DarStarr says:

    I agree with Karen M and Scarygirl!!
    There are some cemeteries that are absolutely beautiful! I have one by where I work that some of the graves date back to the early 1800′s and the cemetery itself is so well-kept so the stones are readable and just lovely!
    I go there at lunch sometime and just sit.

  7. blondie says:

    The photos are lovely, thanks for sharing them

  8. KNOWTOMUCH says:

    i also love walking around graveyards and have taken dozens of pics over the years… it is very peaceful to me…….what a wonderful story!!!!!! ktm

  9. trolldoll1681 says:

    i too love to walk around in old cemetaries. all the lives and history, and i wonder what they were like a hundred years or more ago. there’s a couple of graveyards around here but the best ones are out in the middle of nowhere on old dirt roads. if i can i’ll take a few pics and see what i come up with since you’ve inspired me ! thanks for the great story and neat pics!!!!!

  10. SassySouljah (for Jesus Christ) says:

    Thank you, Jennifer. That was a truly touching story. As I read it, I also felt a strong feeling from the pictures you included. I lost my mother a few years ago and it reminds me that I must “visit” her soon. Thank you, and keep up your hobby of visiting others’ forgotten loved ones. Your appreciation of the lives lost is sometimes the only mark of history they have left.

    Thanks again!

  11. newyorkshedoc says:

    Hi Jennifer. Nah, I don’t think its macabre at all. I also think there is some beauty in cemetaries. There are some rather extraordinary ones here in new york along LIE in Queens headed towards Manhattan. Very cool story.

  12. Jenn says:

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone.
    I have another story regarding graveyard visitors, but my search for the pictures has left me empty-handed. Really weird…but, I am still searching.

    newyorkshedoc, I will have to head up there the next time I am in NY. I head that way a couple of times a year. I have been to a graveyard in Long Island, but never in Queens. Thanks for the info!

  13. Amanda says:

    What”s that yellow creepy thingie that’s crawling.
    Maybe it was the macrbe!
    Give the dircetions and I will go there!
    Looking lonely picture of the small angel is sadest picture that I’ll ever know.
    And I notice Hines on with cross on it too.
    Did you?
    I guess that it was a child’s gravestone.
    I had in my eyes too.

  14. Jenn says:

    Hey Amanda,
    If you are refering to the yellow thing in front of the mausoleum, it is a grouping of flowers that was placed there.

    I don’t remember the exact directions to the graveyard, but if you go to Poughkeepsie, NY, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it. It is a huge cemetary almost in the middle of town.

    As for the name on the gravesite, yes, I did notice it. I tried looking her up to find out a little about her; however, I think my research skills could be better. In the pictures I have, I can actually see the date of birth and death, but it didnt help me find out anything.

  15. Lyra says:

    I love visiting old churches and cemeteries, there’s just something…calming about them.
    There’s one place in England a short walk from where I live which I frequent. A lot of my ancestors have been buried there and I didn’t realise it until I told my father about my visiting there often.
    I have to admit, I am one to take photos at cemeteries, too. I’ve never been to one in the night with a camera…one of my old (typically male) friends dragged me through a cemetery at midnight on All Hallow’s Eve last year…being Pagan, I wasn’t too happy about him trying to raise spirits and insisted we leave before we anger anyone.
    Luckily, nothing has happened ^^;
    It’s a shame you couldn’t find anything on the little girl, though.
    Thanks for posting, and Bless’d Be!

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