I love genealogy road-trips. I especially love walking through cemeteries. It’s so peaceful and quiet, walking past the graves and reading the headstones, and imagining the lives that were lived. From time to time a family historian will tell of looking for a grave among hundreds of them in a cemetery, and will suddenly find themselves right there – and they attribute it to their ancestor guiding them to the correct place. What a lovely, warm-fuzzy, feel-good story. But have you ever experienced the opposite?
I was doing some research for someone, and took a short day trip to take some cemetery photos. I love going to new towns and poking around to see what’s there, but from the moment we pulled into this small town, I got the creeps. Bad vibes. I was fairly uncomfortable, but there was no obvious reason for having that feeling. We easily found the cemetery, and I looked forward to getting out of the car and doing some stretching, enjoying the fresh air, etc., and most of all shaking off that creepy feeling. But the bad mojo only got worse at the cemetery. Typically when visiting a small graveyard, we’ll walk the whole thing and photograph it for Find-A-Grave, but this feeling was so unpleasant that we found the graves we needed, photographed them, and got out of there as quickly as possible.
My research continued at home. As I learned more and more about the family, I discovered that two of them had terrorized their families and eventually taken their own lives, some 50 years apart. While both of these men were buried elsewhere, many of the family members they left behind lived in this town and were buried in this cemetery.
That is one town, and one cemetery where I’ll never go again.