Luper Pioneer Cemetery, Lane County, Oregon. August 2005
This cemetery was once overgrown, with a mile walk-in trail just to access it, full of beautiful 100+ year old graves of western settlers to the area, tucked in a hidden shady grove. It was a wonderful setting to shoot photos or for a “walk thru the countryside” destination, as it was pictured here.
A few years after this photo, some sort of volunteer organization was created to “maintain” this and other cemeteries in the area, and ever since, I feel like much of the character of the place has been lost. I view the modifications not so much as “maintenance” as much as they are overly aggressive acts of imposing some person's (aesthetically clueless) will onto an already beautiful and harmonious natural landscape, trying to eliminate or drown out the site's natural allure it already had; the feeling like it was a timeless part of nature, appropriate for the dead.
By this day, it now remains with thoroughly brightly sawdusted walkways all throughout, all bush and growth is totally removed and aggressively cut back, and the trees stand hacked apart at abusive right angles to create a stiff canopy where they once provided real peace and embraced the tombstones and visitors.
…in the town of Săpânţa, Romania…at the Cimitirul Vesel or “Merry Cemetery,” over 600 wooden crosses bear the life stories, dirty details, and final moments of the bodies they mark. Displayed in bright, cheery pictures and annotated with limericks are the stories of almost everyone who has died of the town of Săpânţa. Illustrated crosses depict soldiers being beheaded and a townsperson being hit by a truck. The epigraphs reveal a surprising level of truth. “Underneath this heavy cross. Lies my mother in law poor… Try not to wake her up. For if she comes back home. She’ll bite my head off.”
You must read the whole story. My favorite line: “Their lives were the same, but they want their epitaphs to be different.”
This Victorian-era grave cage or “mortsafe” was intended to keep grave robbers from thieving jewelry or organs from graveyard corpses, but I still like to pretend that it was created to trap zombies if the deceased became reanimated. Both stories are spooky though. :)