Tate's post yesterday got me thinking about cemeteries. Because sure as anything, if we're on a family trip and I spot an interesting looking old cemetery, we have to stop. For me, it's about the stories I find there. Like the Confederate graves in the old cemeteries here in Missouri (supposedly sharpened at the end to keep the Yankees from sitting on them.) Or the grave of voo doo queen Marie Laveau, with its markings and the gifts of candles, beads and rum bottles that people still leave.
Yesterday, I was fixing lunch, thinking about this post, and I realized I have cemeteries in two out of three of my latest works. In The Accidental Demon Slayer, they end up in a werewolf cemetery. I remember having a lot of fun imagining what that would look like. The mausoleum of the Alphas were round (with the motto never backed into a corner) and the graves were topped with crescent moons, in addition to the usual angels and crosses.
Then part of my story for the new Mammoth Book is set in a vampire cemetery - more of a memorial ground since most of the vamps that had been killed merely had their ashes scattered. But it has all of these looming bronze statues of vamps. It was a lot of fun to write.
Some day, I'd like to set a book down in the catacombs in Paris. Has anyone ever been there? It's creepy to say the least - and really cool. In the 1700's, the city planners in Paris decided to tackle the overcrowding problem in their cemeteries by disinterring millions of Parisians and relocating them to the catacombs. But they didn't just move them, they made artwork. It even used to be a popular gathering spot. In the 18th century, people would picnic down there. Can you imagine? Pass the cole slaw and is that Aunt Esther?
Down in Mexico, one of my wildest experiences was Day of the Dead. It's a celebration of All Saints Day that starts on November 1. People gather in cemeteries on the evening of October 31 and camp out with their deceased loved ones all night. They talk, laugh, pour drinks on the grave. The belief is that the souls of the dead can come and visit on that night. Families display pictures, make these elaborate decorations with marigolds and spend an evening with their ancestors. I've never seen anything like it.
So what about you? Have you ever visited an interesting old cemetery, or do you avoid them?