From: Grant Brenna
Date: Sun, 26 Aug
Lincoln's tomb was finally completed around the turn of the century. However, some people were concerned that the casket supposedly holding Lincoln did not, in fact, have Lincoln in it. After all, grave robbers made several attempts on it. So, a group of Springfield citizens including, I believe, his surviving son, sawed a small opening at the head of the casket to be sure. Lincoln was remarkably preserved, presumably because he was embalmed and re-embalmed so many times on the hot and humid train ride from DC to Springfield. The people were, however, perplexed at the blue and red speckles on Lincoln's chest. It was determined that those speckles were the remnants of a decayed US flag which had been folded and placed atop the President. By the way. I was sightseeing in Washington DC a couple of years ago, and my wife and I were in the capitol. I knew that the black catafalque on which Lincoln's (and JFK, FDR, and others) casket laid in state, was in a tomb under the capitol dome which had been built for Washington. I asked a DC police officer about it and he said "follow me." We went through a labyrinth of stairs going down and about until we came upon a simple, unadorned concrete tomb with the black catafalque inside. The officer told me that since Washington decided to be buried at Mt. Vernon, the tomb remained empty, so they use it to keep the catafalque. Just outside the tomb door is a simple piece of typed paper on the wall in a cheap dime-store frame had a list of those persons who have laid in state on the catafalque. Apparently when it is used, somebody takes the paper out of the frame and types a new name. The empty tomb is several levels underground positioned precisely under the center of the dome. It is obviously not on the tourist list since the hallways appear very bland and "government" like. However, I count it as my coolest moment in DC.
For your epitaph section. Jackie Gleason's epitaph reads "And away we go" which is how he began his variety show from Miami Beach.
Note from Grinny: Thanks for the great info, Grant! Your emails are always welcome!
Grinny's First E-mail from Brazil!!
From: Lore Chaves
Date: Tue, 31 Jul
Hi from Brazil! Have u ever been here?
It's in South America if you don't have a clue where this place can be...tehehe
I saw your web site and your pictures of cemeteries are fascinating. Who knows someday you come to Brazil and take some pictures? I don't really know many cemeteries here...But in the city I live in,Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais there's one called "Cemetério de Bonfim" (Bonfim's cemetery) that has gothic architecture. Maybe in the future you can check it out. Ok...Just wanted to say that.
Have a nice day =)
ps: Your picture with the smiling face is hilarious!!!
Thanks, Lore! It's great to add a Brazilian to our legion of fans! I've never been to Brazil or South America for that matter, but hope to visit soon! - Grinny
From: Phyllis R. Witt"
Subject: Charles Lindburgh
Date: Mon, 16 Jul
Grinny: Enjoyed your site. If you ever get to Hawaii, make sure you visit the resting place of Charles Lindburgh, first plane pilot to cross the Atlantic. He is buried in a small church yard on the island of Maui. Beautiful place. No wonder he wanted his final resting place there.
Subject: Green-Wood Cemetery
Date: Tue, 22 May
As promised, here are some more of Green-Wood's permanent residents:
Asher B. Durand, painter
George Catlin, painter
James Renwick, Jr., Architect
Samuel F. B. Morse
"Boss" Tweed, politician
Peter Cooper, early industrialist
Henry Ward Beecher
F. A. O. Schwartz
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Frank Morgan (the actor who portrayed the Wizard of Oz)
Elmer Sperry (the gyroscope)
De Witt Clinton
William Henry Aspinwall (trader, shipping magnate
George Washington Whistler (Whistler's father)
John McComb, architect, NY City Hall
Pierre Lorrilard (inventor of the tuxedo, tobacco)
Nathaniel Currier and James Ives
Ward McAllister, social secretary to "the Mrs. Astor"
Gen Henry Slocum, whose name-sake ship was involved in one of the worst
George C. Tilyou, creator of Steeplechase Park, Coney Island.
Henry Osborne Havemeyer, the sugar King - American Sugar
There are so many you could write a book. ;-) Jeffrey I. Richman did -
"Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, New York's Buried Treasure", 1998, The
Stinehour Press, Lunenburg, VT.
There is also Permanent New Yorkers, by Judi Culbertson, Chelsea Green
Publishing Co, Chelsea, VT, 1987.
This covers Green-Wood (on a smaller scale), but also, Woodlawn, Trinity
Church and many other NY area cemeteries, and their famous inhabitants.
Looks like a must for you.
From: Kathrin Tophinke
Date: Wed, 9 May
Subject: post from an angel
so, how can i begin?! maybe i could tell you something about me first.i´m 24
years old and i´m working in a bookshop in germany. a colleague gave me your internet address, because she knows my preference for cemeteries and i must admit,i am impressed. you know in my eyes, cemeteries are the most wonderful places for
relaxing, thinking...it´s like walking through beautiful parks, only more
peaceful.. i´ve got some books about famous european cemeteries and i´ve visited some
really nice ones here in germany, for example leipzig.and i´m going to visit the world-2.biggest one in hamburg/ohlsdorf this summer (surely you know that chicago is on top,have you been there?). but enough of that.. do you know isolde ohlbaum?she published two wonderful books about erotic monuments and angel sculptures (which i like most) on european cemeteries.(www.knesebeck-verlag.de) and now my question and the original reason of my email: did you publish any books containing your pictures? please tell me!
best wishes,kathrin tophinke
ps: hope my english is not to bad!! o;-)))
(Note from Grinny: Your English is fine, Kathrin. Thanks for the e-mail. Prior to this Web site, I use to show my photography at galleries in the Chicagoland area. I stopped doing the gallery shows and pitched a book proposal, but various publishers didn't think a funny book about cemeteries would sell. Thus, I produced the Web site to prove them wrong. Now, again, I am shopping around a book proposal.....I'll certainly get the word out when a deal comes through).
From: Shirley Sullivan
I also go through grave yards, where ever I go. I think you can tell a lot about the living, from the way they bury their loved ones. The last cemetery I was in was in grass valley Ca. They have low walls around their graves and then sometimes cover them with concrete or something similar. These are old graves, men and women that came for the gold, and their children. Sometimes they put pictures of the loved one's on the head of the plot, but of course the have long ago faded so bad it looks like a black piece of paper. Also they have someone etch the family name in the base of the wall. We went up looking for my husbands family that came in the mid 1800's to mine for gold. They stayed and raised a family of eight children and thetas where they buried the Irish, in the New Catholic Cemetery. We couldn't find the graves. But it was very interesting and different from any Grave yard I had ever seen. It was so cold and windy that day I know why people say as (Cold as a Grave Yard ).
Happy Hunting, Shirley Sullivan
Date: 08 May
Subject: My Anagram
Hey you never posted my anagram of the word FUNERAL you can scramble
the leters to read REAL FUN. Nothing real fun about a funeral unless
it's your worst enemy.
The site gets better with time
(Note from Grinny: Sorry for the delay, Tom. Thanks for the FUN-filled anagram!)
From: Kimberley A Egloff
Subject: Favorite cemetery scenes
Date: 5 May
Hi! I was just checking out the cinematic pages on your site..really nice job! I just wanted to share my favorite cemetery scenes...which are actually from a 60's tv series called "Dark Shadows". This series is filled with cemetery scenes...many include people rising from their graves. My favorite scenes however, are the ones where the actors accidentally brush up against the grave stones and they actually move back and forth...as though blowing in the wind. It is just hysterical. I hope you have a chance to see this series sometime.
(Note from Grinny: "Dark Shadows" is a fond memory from my young school daze. While my sister watched the show, I practiced mummifying her cat.)
From: Kay Levy
Date: Thu, 3 May
One thing I did not find was any mention of the town of Lynden, WA. This is a predominately Dutch community which is very picturesque and (so I have been told) is the only town in the U.S. that the main entrance into the town is through it's cemetery.
(Note from Grinny: Great trivia item! I had no idea! I MUST visit Lynden!)
From: Janice Mersey
Lunenburg, NS, Canada
Subject: Greetings from Nova Scotia
Date: 3 May
I've just been on a tour of your very interesting website (link found on RootsWeb) as I've always liked walking through grave yards. Nice to see the Titanic graves (Halifax) there.
I moved to Lunenburg, NS (my husband's home-old fishing town established 1753 approx. one hour south of Halifax) several months ago and am told this is the "sister town" of Gloucester, Mass. A newly constructed marble Fishermen's Memorial stands on the waterfront here and is quite impressive designed with the points of a compass with names of those lost inscribed on each point under the year. If ever you visit NS again you might enjoy this little place. (http://www.town.lunenburg.ns.ca/History.html)
Thanks again for sharing your interest through your site.
Cliff Baker of Kent, England
Subject: On a seat remembrance
Date: 3 May
Written on a bench overlooking the Seven Sisters, East Sussex, "Gone for a swift cup of tea and a slide down the bannisters." (The Seven Sisters are chalk cliffs that are part of the South Downs (hills) they run from Beachy Head Eastbourne to Cuckmere Haven , on the East Sussex coast).
From: "10,000 Screaming Monkeys"
Subject: "missing" movies
I just came across your website while browsing through Project Cool and
thought I'd drop you a note. In looking through your list of movies, I
was surpised (okay, well, not really) to see two titles missing:Kissed and Delicatessen!
Kissed is a movie I wish more people had opened up to. The basic
premise of the movie turned a lot of people off without even actually
seeing the movie, which is a shame, because it's actually a beautiful
love story and spectacularly filmed (the cinematography is stunning).
Unfortunately, since the main character (a woman) is obsessed with death
and basically a necrophiliac (it's never shown in the movie, except in
one very nicely filmed scene), a lot of people immediately put it on the
"don't see" list. Oh well. I think the subject matter alone warrants a
placement on your list of movies, but I also really liked the movie. =)
Delicatessen is a dark/black comedy about a landlord of an apartment
building who creates cannibalistic meals for (and, sometimes, out of)
his tennants. It's a hard movie to describe, but it's completely worth
watching for the humour and one parcicularly well-filmed and hysterical
scene. Once you see the movie, you'll understand how it relates to
Anyhow, time for me to get back to looking through your website. So
far, I'm impressed.
(Note from Grinny: I LOVED "Delicatessen!" Haven't seen "Kissed" yet and hope to do so soon!)
From: Kathleen O'Grady (Australia)
Subject: I love everything about YOU :-)
I just wanted to let you know on this beautiful new age day that I greatly
*admire* your work... your humour and everything about what you are doing.
Keep it up.. you will *inspire* thousands of souls like me.... and I just
wanted to tell you that.
smiles & hugs kath :-)
From: Noelle Gresham
Subject: Compliments and suggestions
Date: Fri, 15 Sep
Michael, Someone in a newsgroup I subscribe to suggested your site, when the talk turned to cemeteries (yes, people who can't spell that word bother me, too), and I had to come investigate. I came away very impressed, and have bookmarked it for future visits. I've been fascinated by cemeteries and death customs as long as I can remember, so finding a site like yours was a real pleasure. I envy the amount of traveling you've done! I have a copy of "Death to Dust" and have read it many times. I also have "Sleeping Beauty" (that one was not cheap!) and "Scoring in Heaven." I'd like to suggest a few other titles from my library: "The Mexican Day of the Dead" by Chloe Sayer. This is a little paperback that has a lot of information and photographs. "The American Way of Death" by Jessica Mitford. This is really an expose of the funeral industry in America, but an interesting, well-written book nonetheless. "The Day of the Dead: And Other Mortal Reflections" by Frank Gonzalez-Crussi. Any of the Neil Gaiman "Sandman" graphic novels (DC Vertigo), or any of the "Sandman" spinoffs, where Death takes the form of a terminally cheerful Goth girl. These are some of the most beautiful, disturbing books I've ever seen, and they're fantastically written and drawn. Someone has described them as "comic books for the intellectual." And finally, a cool Death T-shirt can be seen if you go to www.pyramidcollection.com and do a search for "memento mori" (sorry, I can't give you a URL that takes you right to the item). Anyway, you have a lovely site, and I greatly enjoyed perusing it.
Noelle (Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.)
(Note from Grinny: Wonderful suggestions which will soon be incorporated into this site!)
From: The Publisher of Mortuary Management
Date: Mon, 24 July 2000
Thanks for designating Mortuary Management as "Grinny's favorite magazine." I appreciate the link to us as well.
I browsed through your entire site and enjoyed your photographs. I agree with the woman who wrote you about the "bounded" marker in Florida -- that headstone is quite intriguing.
I'm glad you've been enjoying our magazine's News Briefs articles. We always try to include some of the more interesting and curious stories along with the serious material.
Abbott & Hast Publications
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000
You are brilliant!
I love this site! What a scream. I can spend hours reading everything, and I think I shall! What I love best is the creativity and tongue in cheek comments. I can't remember the title of the picture but it is the one in FL of the statue of the lady with her hands bound, her expression and the mention of where the stone sits. On his face. And the Last Words section, I couldn't stop laughing. And from now on Leopold is a new "bad" word. (re: Leopold Fucker's grave and the woman who now uses Leopold instead of....). I have told Marty about your site and have passed it along to some friends that I believe will appreciate the site.
Take care, and keep in touch. Any good grave sites
from your trip to Africa? Can't wait to see them!
Editor's note: Check out "'Hakuna Matata' and other African Fallacies," my tales from Africa, which is currently a link off of the "What's New?" page.
Subject: Just Coulda Died When I Found This Site
Date: Sat, 13 May 2000
I can't bring myself to call you "Grinny" - - it's a little too close to
"Granny" and brings up not-so-pleasant associations with a frail,
nursing home-bound, stroke-striken relative.
What a relief to find other graveyard afficionados! Wherever I travel,
I always scope out the local cemetery; it's such a fascinating way to
put together the puzzle of that city's history and the reading is pretty
Question: During your U.K. explorations, did you come across the small,
out of the way St. Colomba's (?) burial ground on the Isle of Skye in
Scotland? It was the best find of my trip; if you didn't get there, get
there - - you'd love it.
Thanks for putting together the pictures, narrative, info and laughs;
this is gonna be one of my regular e-haunts from now to eternity.
Rest in peace,
Subject: Great site!
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000
Hi...just wanted to write and tell you how fantastic I think your website is! I especially enjoyed the pics and comments about Highgate, which I have always felt drawn to, even though I have never had the opportunity to go there in person. I live in New Orleans and we have some of the best cemeteries...real 'cities of the dead'! I spend lots of my time in them getting inspiration for my gothic artwork and writings. I have photographed my favorite tombs and statues and love looking at photos of other cemeteries around the world. I just saw "Final Destination"....has some really great death 'omens'! Not to mention it has some real heart-stopping scenes and special FX! Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through your site! It'll certainly be among my favorites from now on!
Subject: always a joy!
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000
Its always a joy to visit your site! I am in awe, I laugh, and I am inspired
to have a great grave marker on my own grave! Have already written it into my
Loved the Titanic inflatable slide! I howled when I saw that thing! How sick
and funny at the same time.
Your site remains one of my favorites, and recommended to friends who don't
quite understand the cemetery thing with me---that's ok cause I love 'em and
my friends love me anyway!
Your Fellow Grave Digger,
Subject: love your site!
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000
Michael, Was just revisiting your site and thought I'd drop you a line. It was a great discovery for me, and struck a very sympathetic chord. I've been fascinated with cemeteries for at least the last decade...can't say when it struck me, but its to the point that when I travel I like to check out the cemeteries as much as any other landmark! I was in Concord, Mass. last year and visited Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne....hope you've been there...if not, highly recommended! Another favorite is in northern Wisconsin outside of the little town of Bayfield.. poignantly tells the stories of the early settlers...lots of children there, but set on a beautiful wildflower covered hillside, with some interesting iron markers... Looks like I'm getting carried away again! Its nice to know there are others out there who appreciate the finer points of...ah, death. I'll be back to visit. Oh, yes, I was looking for Goethe in your last words, but didn't see him......"More light!" (From Bartlett's).
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000
Subject: What do I think?
AWESOME! I've always been fascinated with gravestones and cemeteries and
some of the meanings behind the icons on the headstones and such. I'm
fascinated as I read your page, and I haven't even gotten past the
Yours, highly impressed and bowing at your feet-- :)
Lisa M. Schuhwerk
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000
I'm gravely serious when I say I am utterly amazed at the movie section in
your website. I'll have to steal, uh, COMPARE information with Grinny in the
Dann "Wowed" Gire
Note from Grinny: Dann Gire is the current president of the Chicago Film Critic's Association and the film critic for the Daily Herald, the third highest circulated newspaper in the Chicago area.
Date: February 3, 2000
From: Patrick Grant
...whenever something of a like topic falls into my lap, it becomes my
duty to send it off your way. I found this on a trivia website
(www.funtrivia.com/trivia) concerning the invention of Cracker Jacks:
"The 1893 Columbian Expo in Chicago introduced the world to Aunt
Jemima pancakes and to Cracker Jacks. The latter was created by F.W.
Rueckheim and his brother Louis, who wanted a candied popcorn and peanut
treat. The product itself wasn't named, though, until 1896...The prizes came
about in 1912 and began chintzier after Borden bought Cracker Jack in the
The logo, featuring Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo, was introduced
in 1918. The boy was modeled on Rueckheim's grandson Robert, who liked to
wear sailor suits.
Sadly, the boy died of pneumonia as the first boxes were rolling
off the press. The logo can now be seen on Robert's tombstone in St. Henry's
Cemetery in Chicago."
Date: January 31, 2000
From: George Cwik
Check this out.......
Flowers Don't Wither at Virtual Graveyard
January 31, 2000 9:16 am EST
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The world's first virtual cemetery is now offering Argentines the chance to be "buried" in cyberspace where mourners can cherish memories of the dear departed at graves complete with photos, film and audio.
They can even choose the virtual flowers.
A vision of blue sky, white clouds and heavenly rays greets visitors to Paz
Eterna ("Eternal Peace") at http://www.pazeterna.com.ar.
Welcome messages in Spanish and English promise the chance "to allow family and friends of dead people to have a virtual contact with them without distinction of religions or beliefs ... from any place in the world."
For an annual fee of $70, a mourner establishes a white on-screen "mausoleum" with a photo and a bronze-colored plaque bearing the name and dates of the deceased. "The flowers for the grave can be chosen and changed," said Paz Eterna's director Jorge Calvigioni -- probably the world's first virtual gravedigger .
He said there were rival sites with memorial books for the dead, but his was the first to offer virtual tombs.
"This is the first virtual cemetery in the world. The others are memorial sites, but not cemeteries," he told Reuters in a recent interview.
"We try to represent the essence of the person who has passed away with photos and snatches of audio and video. There is also a memorial book that people can sign." he said.
The idea sprang from difficulties encountered when relatives abroad -- for Argentines, that usually means in their Italian or Spanish homelands -- wish to pay their respects to the dead, but cannot travel.
"Relatives far away can come to the virtual cemetery and be near to that person and write them a prayer," said Calvigioni.
After a month of operation, the cemetery hosts 40 "tombs" from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Mourners can opt for a public-access grave, one only open to members of Paz Eterna or a private site only accessible with a pass code. "Most people want the privacy," said Calvigioni.
(NOTE FROM GRINNY: Reuters didn't research this item very well. For one thing, there has long been a virtual cemetery at www.cemetery.org. This Web site has been a link on our site for more than 18 months!!! And, Jorge Calvigioni is HARLDY the first virtual gravedigger.....I believe that honor is mine!)
Date: January 23, 2000
From: Tom Mazza
I just got your new site & love it. Shared it with lots of my friends too. I sent you this anagram a while ago & never saw it on your site. I thought it might be of interest to all. When you reshuffle the letters of FUNERAL you get REAL FUN... I did that once sitting at a wake for someone while I was getting bored because I didn't know many of the people who attended. I also have to find a story that I clipped from a
newspaper here about a guy who got caught in a funeral home fondling a woman's corpse. He didn't even know the family, just walked in & waited for the room to empty out & touched her breasts, he was caught & the police took him to a hospital mental observations because in the state of New Jersey, no charges could be made for sexual assault unless the victim was alive. I guess the law is the law!!! Never found out anything more after that , but the story went out on the AP wire.
Date: January 14, 2000
From: Leslie G.
"I enjoyed a return visit to Highgate via your site. I once
placed a black wreath on Marx's' grave...there was a delegation of visiting
"red Chinese"...and the tomb had so many chunks missing due to
bombings....graveyard saboteurs...I have a photo of the event which I
treasure...I was a young wanderer then....1971.....and an aging child
now...thanks for the trip!
Date: December 26, 1999
Subject: Your web site just gets better and better
Grinny, I have been a big fan of your web site and am delighted to see you
have added Titanic memorials and graves to the site! A wonderful way to see
them before I can afford to travel there! Titanic has been a huge interest of
mine since I was a little girl and am always looking for new things to learn
about it. Thank you for a fab site and keep up the good work!
Your Fan, Cathy
From Ryan Ferren-
"You forgot "Napalm Death," "Dead Can Dance," and "The Dead Milkmen." There's also an eighties hair-metal band called "Grim Reaper." And, don't forget Traffic's "John Barleycorn Must Die." I like your site a lot!
(Thanks, Ryan! Grinny would also like to add "I Love the Dead" by Alice Cooper to the morbid death mix!).
Date: September 24, 1999
I'm enjoying your site. I did a couple of different projects on cemetaries in art school. Some of my friends thought I was weird. Others joined me in research or on photo shoots. It was interesting to see how two people shooting the same cemetary on the same day together saw different things. One of these people became my husband. Our first outing together was to a cemetary. I haven't been to many cemetaries yet, but my favourite so far is the one in Barkerville, BC Canada (just 2 hours away from home). It is a historic gold rush townsite with some interesting history. I recently discovered a very small cemetary not far from this one where most of the tennants have been returned to China. I thought that was interesting -- even after death, nothing would keep them from going back home. I'll be back.
Date: July 14, 1999
From: Steve Ziolkowski
Subject: I just wanted to say...
...how much I appreciate your site.
I recently drove around the country for a month, looking at haunted houses, cemeteries and urban legend generators.
One of the strangest places I saw during that time was Tombstone, Az, which of course has a Boot Hill. The best epitaph there reads:
Here lies Lester Moore
He took four shots from a 44
No less, no Moore.
Anyway, Boot Hill is a tourist attraction now, and one of the ladies who works there was telling me that it's not how it was a hundred years ago. Most of the markers are made out of wood, and they have rotted at least twice and had to be replaced. And, gravel covers the ground to prevent to much dust and deterioration.
Thanks for all the work, it's neat to see! -- SteveZ "I'm not insane, my mother taught me to use a yoyo with BOTH hands!" -Saki
From: Patrick Grant
Date: May 11, 1999
Like with most of my life, I just kinda stumbled into the website. I must admit, for so serious a topic, you have one of the more disarming sites. It's like it's saying, "Yeah, death happens, why worry about it?"
Incidentally, along those lines, George Carlin wants to release
a book called something along the lines of, "Eat Healthy,
Exercise Regularly, Get Frequent Checkups AND DIE ANYWAY!!!!"
Date: March 3, 1999
I absolutely love it. I work in the industry (mort...not cem.). and it is refreshing to see something that I have only dreamed of doing being done. I think that your site gives new dignity to those places of memorialization. cant wait to see what is next.
Date: June 19, 1999
Subject: Very Cool
I just checked out your website and I must say that it is awesome. Interesting and funny tidbits on a subject that most don't find humorous. I was laughing my *ss off when I read the condom/coffin and Bethoven jokes.
Keep up the good work.
Dude, you have to go to Friday Harbor, Washington (via Seattle Ferry) to see the family dining room plot. It is back in the woods between Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor. It is a huge granite dining table and chairs. Each chair is enscribed with a deceased family members name..from Dad and Mom, to all the kids. It is really unbelievable. Your site is most interesting
Loved your English tour. The cemetary in Haworth (Bronte sisters Haworth)is one of the most peaceful I've ever seen. Over the crumbling back wall the Yorkshire Moors stretch as far as the eye can see. I love to roam through these old places. Thanks for the great website.
This is one of the best sites I have ever seen. Have always had a love affair with cemeteries. Need more pics of the best ones in the world. The Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Va. has great monuments, views, and a lot of history.
Everyone needs a vacation in Hawaii -- so, the Grin Reaper MUST check out great customs on the back-islands of Paradise --
Track down older cemeteries in the off-islands (I did Big Island and Lanai). Turns out that many of the gravestones include a 3" x 4" porcelain photograph (not a paper photo but really imbedded in china-like glass!) of the deceased. You look and wonder -- how did the final portrait get chosen? A 70 year old woman photographed at 18; another photographed at 70. A man on his boat. School photos of old, old people. But never a couple photo. Now and for the years to stare at us and remind us that they, too had life and hopes and struggles and joys.
Most interesting was the cemetery in an abandoned church I found back 5 or 6 miles on an unpaved road form Captain Cook's Beach on Big Island. The building had gone to ruin, all the doors and windows gone, vandalism everywhere -- except in the graveyard. There, scattered amongst graves from the early 20th century, when the church was obviously the active center of a long-disappeared village, were fresh graves, some less than a year old. Why?
Every one of those new graves was for an old, old person who had died on Oahu. Long, long ago, those people had immigrated to the Fancy Island, then had lived out a full life and had been returned their "home" for their final rest -- never dreaming that the vision they remembered had vanished and that now only wind sings hymns in their childhood church.
Hope you get there soon,
Just thought I'd drop a line. A friend of mine referred me to your site. I really like it. You have given some ideas for preparing a site I would like to do of a trip to Europe (I'm in Ottawa, Canada.)
I also noticed the pic you took of the little statue of the
guy rolling the rock. I don't know if you realize, but I'm sure
it is meant to be "Sisyphus", a mythical Greek King
of Corinth who was condemned after his death to exactly what that
statue depicts. It must be him! Here's an info site for you.
Your pics are all wonderful. I like what you've done.
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999
From: michael day
Subject: web site
enjoyed your 2diefor web site. I found it in Yahoo's weird sites archives. I'm e-mailing you from a cemetery right now. My family owns a cemetery in Illinois and I live on the property. I also enjoy visiting cemeteries, my favorite being the Pere-Lachaise. Graceland is a good Illinois cemetery as well as Springdale in Peoria. I'll be checking your site for a little business humor!
My grandmother is 93 and has always been facinated with cemeteries and headstones. She has vistied demeteries in various countries around the world, but not to the extent that you have.
I am always looking for unique gifts and she would love to read a book about cemeteries, especially if it had photos like yours. Have you made such a book and if so, where can I buy a copy?
Heard about you on CBC radio. Good interview!
Note from Grinny: Sorry Dean, I don't have a book deal yet, but we're looking! If you have any ideas, please let me know!
I certainly enjoyed your web side. Having grown up in Germany, I know about the importance of cemeteries in the "old country". The cemeteries were traditionally placed in the centre of the village, surrounding the church, and were then called "Kirchhof", meaning Church Yard. When these were filled up, a new cemetery would be build at the out skirt of the town; however it always was, and still is, a fight to get the first one to move in, since the families want to stay together even after depth. Also, it is easier to take care of the graves when they are not placed at different locations. On Saturdays, after having cleaned the house, family members then go to clean up the family graves; so the cemetery becomes a meeting place to catch up on the latest gossip.
Usually, when the old cemeteries are faced out, they are converted to parks and the nicest and oldest tombstones are kept as monuments and serve as historical documents. These parks are an island of peace and tranquility in the busy towns, and it is expected that the spirit of a cemetery is honoured.
This determination of Europeans to be buried in a certain spot and on a certain cemetery is very well depicted in the movie: For Susanna!
With a spot in mind, Brigitte.
No doubt that was the closest I ever came as an adult to wetting my pants. "That Fucker's dead!" "Wonder what killed that Fucker?" ad nauseum. To her dying day, my mother called anyone she didn't like a "Leopold".
Unfortunately, my film was stolen and so I have no picture of his grave. Do YOU? PLEASE share with my brothers and I!
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999
How's this for odd timing? A friend just sent me this, immediately, I thought you would enjoy them--
On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova
In a London, England cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767
In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
Playing with names in a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
For not rising.
A lawyer's epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.
Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:
I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Lester Moore was a Wells, Fargo Co. station agent for Naco,
Arizona in the cowboy days of the 1880's. He's buried in the Boot
Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona:
Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les No More.
In a Georgia cemetery:
"I told you I was sick!"
John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery:
Reader if cash thou art
In want of any
Dig 4 feet deep
And thou wilt find a Penny.
On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia:
She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.
Someone in Winslow, Maine didn't like Mr. Wood:
In Memory of Beza Wood
Departed this life
Nov. 2, 1837
Aged 45 yrs.
Here lies one Wood
Enclosed in wood
The outer wood
Is very good:
We cannot praise
On a grave from the 1880's in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.
Oops! Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:
Born 1903--Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if
the car was on the way down. It was.
In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999
Subject: lost graves
The grave of Alexander the Great is also lost. I believe that he died "on the road" and that his cohorts were trying to preclude tampering.
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999
From: cynthia verser
Subject: A few words.
Love your site!!! As a devoted cemetary wanderer, I am constantly misunderstood by my friends and family. It's nice to know I'm not alone out here. Thanks for the tour and the info. Keep up the great work.
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 16:24:40 EST
Subject: your site
Omigod, I am just roaring! This is wonderful. I always thought my sons & I were a little kooky for doing cemeteries for kicks, but I guess we're not! One of my sons chose a local cemetery as his activity on a day off when each got to pick someplace to go. I spent 2 days out of my weeks vacation in New Orleans in St. Louis #1. I love this site! Keep up the good work!
I stumbled onto your site. I thought it was pretty interesting. I myself have always been fascinated by the old tombstones. Whenever I have been in an old town, mostly old cowboy towns, I have always tried to make it to the cemetery, the oldest one if there is more than one. I lived in Kirbyville, Texas, for about 3 months. I had my friends take me through their cemetery. I found one that read...
BEHOLD MY GRAVE AS
YOU PASS BY,
WHERE YOU ARE NOW,
SO ONCE WAS I.
WHERE I AM NOW,
YOU SOON SHALL BE,
PREPARE FOR DEATH AND
The name of the dearly departed was Thom L. Nantz. Born March 11, 1882. Died July 4, 1907. I took a picture of the stone, and if you would like a copy of it, let me know where I can send it. I don't know if you will have a need for it, but I thought it would be fun for you to have it. I'm sorry I wish I had a scanner. Oh well....
Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 18:15:53 -0500
Subject: Bonaventure cemetery
On visiting Savannah in March of '97, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit this cemetery, alluded to in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." It was a beautiful spring day with azaleas ablooming. Conrad Aiken is there along with many Civil and Revolutionary War soldiers.Johnny Mercer and his wife too. Also lies the remains of that kid, Danny, whom Jim Williams shot. It has a glorious view over marshes- one of the most impressive. You must go there if you have not already. It was so "garden-like".(The "Birdgirl" statue was removed because so many tourists wanted to see it due to the cover of the novel, "Midnight")P.S. Have you been to Martha's Vineyard to visit John Belushi's grave? Please respond. Pam.
Very interesting site. May I suggest that you visit cemetaries in Germany? When I lived there, people would stroll through them on Sundays, just like you do, as if they were a museum or a park. There would often be quite a procession of people walking along the small trails. The graves were considered like small garden plots and I understood that if one was not maintained, the deceased would get the boot in favor of a new replacement!
As a result, the cemetaries are very well maintained and beautiful.
My comments refer to common cemetaries, not anything having to do with the Holocaust...
Again I must say how much I love this site! Your pictures and
tales of England are fantastic! Have you ever seen LakeView Cemetery
in Seattle, WA? It is beautiful with a view of Puget Sound, the
city and Mt. Rainier. One can also see the Olympic Mtns. to the
west and the Cascade Mtns. to the east. There is a thoughtful
gravestone there made as a bench and it invites one to sit and
reflect on the beautiful view.
Your Fellow Gravedigger,
What a great idea...I LOVE cemeteries! Your site is just a wonderful extension of my fascination with the final resting places of our fellow beings. Whenever I travel, I always admire the town cemetery. I recall climbing through narrow winding passages up to one of the highest vantage points in Positano, Italy, to see their cemetery, which was chock full of elaborate monuments, complete with photos of the deceased on the headstones. Magical! And what a view of the Mediterranean!
Thanks for the images - you can be sure I'll visit again.
I think your site is to die for! The cemeteries that blew my mind are the very overcrowded Jewish cemetery in Prague where new entrants are interred over other sinking remains, and Egypt's City of the Dead, where property rights over dead bodies are retained for the living! Other interesting cemeteries are Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY and one in Budapest with amazing statuary.
what a killer site.. it is very kewl... i forwarded to alot of my friends....
Absolute fascinating site. We just got back from France and Italy and now we know what we missed by not dropping in to some of the cemeteries. I'm going to email all my friends about this site. You have done a truly great job on this.
Your web site devoted to cemetaries is wonderful! I have always loved to walk in cemetaries and read the stones. I would love to see a mention on your site of "Interview with the Vampire" . In the movie Lestat bestows the dark gift upon Louis in a cemetary. When Louis is dying Lestat jests, "You're body is dying, pay no attention...it happens to us all." Then as Louis looks around with his new heightened vampire senses the statues seem to come to life! Very eerie...
Can't wait to see more pictures on your site!
grinny--i read about you in chicago trib. sunday 10-18 travel section. it listed "top ten" cemeteries/tourist visits. london!! a necromancer's dream come true. i lived there (1974-76) while teaching school. samuel johnson sd it best..."... when a man is tired of london, he is tried of life. for london has all that life has to afford..." axiomatically, the "death" side of london is very invigorating. history/death abound at every turn. westminster abbey... st paul's.. highgate..or any parrish church yard.
till next time, warmly,
I have only been a web user for about a year, but your site has got to be one of THE best I have seen as far as content goes. Some photos of your ten best would be a nice touch!
Thanx for the info!
I love it--I've always been fascinated with Epitaphs myself - supposedly there's an epitaph on the grave of a travelling salesman that says, "My Journeys are over, send my samples home"
and one to a spinster, "Born a virgin, died a virgin, Laid in the grave"
From Dominique Bouhors (French Grammarian) " I am about to, or, I am going to die, either expressiion is used"
From John Brown, abolitionist, when asked, on the scaffold if he was tired: "No, but don't keep me waiting any longer than necessary"
Emily Dickinson, "I must go in, the fog is rising"
O'Henry, "Turn up the lights, I don't want to go home in the dark"
Terry Kath, rock musician--playing russian roulette, " Don't worry, it's not loaded"
"Black Jack" Ketchum, bank robber and murderer, "I'll be in hell before you're finished breakfast boys, let 'er rip"
Found on Tombstones
Here Lies Lester Moore 4 slugs from a 44 no les, no more (Tombstone, Arizona)
He called Bill Smith a liar (Cripplecreek, Colorado)
Here lie I, bereft of breath
Because a cough carried me off;
Then a coffin they carried me off in.
Boston, Mass Granary burying Ground
Sacred to the memory of Elisha Philbrook and his wife Sarah
Beneath these stones do lie,
Back to back, my wife and I!
When the last trumpet the air shall fill,
If she gets up, I'll just lie still
Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn't the fruit that liad her low
But the skin of the thing that made her go
Here lieth Mary, the wife of John Ford
We hope her soul is gone to the Lord
But if for Hell she has changed this life
She had better be there than John Ford's wife
Potterne, Wiltshire, England
Played five aces
Now playing the harp
Boot Hill, Dodge City KS
Hope these can help in adding to your collection
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.
Submitted by John Thomas
Thousand Oaks, CA
Loved the site! Laughed out loud and often. Learned things that will help in Trivia Pursuit endeavors! Keep up the good work....lovely sense of humor! I used to wander cemeteries years ago looking at old gravestones....very interesting!
I loved it, you need more jokes though. I will put this on my favorites and come back later.
I think your website is intelligently done and well worth browsing. You obviously have an affinity for this part of life. I feel that it can't but help for a person to ponder their mortality. A Buddhist saying goes something like, "It is better to live in fear of death and die fearlessly, than to live unafraid of death and to die terrified." Thanks.
I love the site! Very original! Cool! Ghastly! Love the graphics, too. How about some scary ghost stories to go along with this cyber monument to monuments?
Dann Gire, Film Critic, Daily Herald
James Malinchak, Author
From: Larry Elliott
My wife and I enjoyed your website- very creative. However, how do we get the entire story- the book? Maybe you need to ask for the order so that you can present this to a publisher? Otherwise the website is a dead end. Just a thought. You could also create new icons for the seasons. As an example, for the allergy season you could have a coffin jag icon.
Larry and Marilynn Elliott
Mail Boxes ETC
From: Marguerite Pepper
I think your site and the approach to death and >cemetaries is great! I especially liked the reference to Forest Lawn in Glendale California and Horizontal Hollywood Squares! That made me laugh! One thing, you need more pictures of these cemetaries!
From: Debbie Miller
Love your site! You're just as twisted as I am.
I came across this article in Morturary Management, October 1997 issue, and thought it was interesting. It's entitled "Spared From Oblivion":
Blythe, California - The world's most-married man's funeral had few mourners. GlynnWolfe, of Blythe, was laid to rest courtesy of a cemetery and funeral home that decided to pay to keep him from being buried in an unmarked public grave.
None of Wolfe's 29 wives and few of his 19 children attended the service. The flamboyant minister, who held the Guiness Book of World Records title for most-married man for more than 35 years, died at the age of 88.
(I'll send you more goodies as I come across them.)
This is the first time I laughed out loud reading from a computer screen - what does that say??!! Thanks - that was fun!
From: Monique Blanchette, South Carolina
Your website looks great! I love the new "new" tombstones--they are a great way to guide your regular browsers to find your updates. And the Clark Gable Hollywood Icon of the month is very appropriate...where do you come up with all the trivia? It's fascinating. I look forward to seeing what you come up with on the rock stars!
Will you be selling your t-shirts over the internet?"
Grinny's Note: Good question, Monique!! Yes, "To Die For!" t-shirts are now available. Mr. Blackwell has already deemed them "vile and disgusting rags," thus making them a HOT Valentine's Day Gift. Order Yours Now!
From: Jeanne, Illinois
Your site is really extensive - - it's got legs! James Dean's tombstone was just found this week after being stolen for the third time. Fortunately your website can be visited by thieves and vandals, yet still be around for the rest of us to enjoy. Thanks for putting it together.
From: Deb Martin, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
First, let me say how much I love your web sight! I really enjoyed "Loose Dirt". Also, I think you should add a section on your sight honoring those that died and are (supposedly) cryogenically frozen. It could be called "Stone Cold" Frozen movie links could be Encino Man starring Pauly Shore and Brendon Frasier, Forever Young starring Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis and Demolition Man starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. Anyway, keep up the good work!!
From: Eva from Toronto
(I saw) your website and I'm quite impressed. It's eloquently written and very extensive!
From: Todd Snelgrove
I really like your site. I also really like graveyards. Have you been to any in Asia? Very amazing. In Vietnam they bury their dead on their own land, either in the field or in front of the house or wherever. There are above-ground caskets but the bodies are actually buried underneath these; the caskets are empty. In Taiwan they don't have gravestones. Rather, a cemetery is made up entirely of little fancy doghouse-sized concrete tombs.
Fascinating site! I've loved cemetaries since I was kid, and
everyone always thought I was incredibly bizarre and morbid because
of it ... From: Michael Odahowski Hey Michael, I found your site today. It was really well put together. I'm
glad I'm not the only one who doesn't think cemeteries are weird
or gross. Taphophilia is a hobby that not everyone is very receptive
to at first. I'm working for the Chicago Catholic Cemeteries this
summer as a Computer Technician. I'm working out of Queen of Heaven
in Hillside, helping with the effort to transfer old records to
computer. It's not the most exciting cemetery, but next door at
Mt. Carmel is pretty interesting. I will check back at your site
soon. I'm trying to get my own cemetery page together, but work
keeps me pretty busy. I've primarily covered Illinois Cemeteries,
but hopefully someday I can be a World Traveler of Cemeteries
like you. Thanks for such an interesting site. Great Site! I enjoy wandering cemetaries too. Here's my favorite
from the family plot back in Gaston County NC "All things cannot go to please us, Little Willie's Gone
to Jesus" T. Dru Stowe Love it!!!!!!!!!! rml Subject: what I thought IT ROCKS!!!! MARTIE88
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 12:42:47 CDT
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 02:42:24 -0400
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 01:20:17 EDT
From: Michael Odahowski
I found your site today. It was really well put together. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't think cemeteries are weird or gross. Taphophilia is a hobby that not everyone is very receptive to at first. I'm working for the Chicago Catholic Cemeteries this summer as a Computer Technician. I'm working out of Queen of Heaven in Hillside, helping with the effort to transfer old records to computer. It's not the most exciting cemetery, but next door at Mt. Carmel is pretty interesting. I will check back at your site soon. I'm trying to get my own cemetery page together, but work keeps me pretty busy. I've primarily covered Illinois Cemeteries, but hopefully someday I can be a World Traveler of Cemeteries like you. Thanks for such an interesting site.
Great Site! I enjoy wandering cemetaries too. Here's my favorite from the family plot back in Gaston County NC
"All things cannot go to please us, Little Willie's Gone to Jesus"
T. Dru Stowe
Subject: what I thought