Tag Archives: grave stones

New Fall Traditions: Cemetery Grave Adoptions – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #11

Patrick shares stories of the New Fall Tradition of Cemetery Grave Adoptions that he started last year, and meet Little Johnnie and Clara. He also gives tips and recommendations, so that you can begin your own grave adoption project.

 

Get this episode on iTunes!
Direct Download Link 

 

For more on Little Johnnie and Clara, and for photos from last year’s grave adoptions, visit Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition.

For Renae Rude – The Paranormalist’s post that inspired this tradition, visit Graveyards, churchyards and cemeteries: spending an afternoon with the dead

 

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8 Tips to start your new Grave Adoption Tradition:

  • Know that you have the right to be in a cemetery to pay your respects, just be sensitive and respectful of others. 
  • Choose a grave or head stone that is interesting to you, most likely older, and out of respect, one that doesn’t already have signs of regular visitors, or family members paying respects.
  • If you’re interested in the genealogy of this project, be sure to choose a head stone that still clearly displays a name and dates.
  • Realize that the days will get shorter as you get deeper into the fall. Most cemeteries have times posted when the cemetery is closed, and it’s usually “dusk”.
  • Bring meaningful gifts or flowers on each visit… but realize that you’re responsible for disposing of them later.
  • Don’t be afraid to just talk casually, or even flat out describe your new tradition to your adopted soul.
  • Take photos on each visit. Document the work you’re doing, if for nothing else, to inspire others.
  • Have fun… don’t take it too seriously… and definitely don’t make it about MOURNING or being SAD.

 

The Big Seance Podcast can be found right here, on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn RadioStitcherGoogle Play Music, and iHeart Radio. Please subscribe, submit a rating, or share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me at Patrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on my SpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!


Return to the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lexington, Missouri

 

It hasn’t changed a bit, this old cemetery. Until two years ago when I visited it last, it had been over 20 years since I’d seen it. I remembered several of the individual headstones like I had just been there the day before. It’s weird, the things our brains choose to remember and hold on to. Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time here as my grandparents lived nearby. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is of an uncle of mine giving me a ride through this cemetery on a four-wheeler, and coming back with a collection of pine cones. I’m sure it wasn’t very deep back then, but I remember strolling through this grass and over the hill… and pondering life… and probably death. I don’t remember my reasons for enjoying my time there so much, but I do recall having general conversations with any spirit wanting to listen. I also recall my Bama (grandma) packing a lunch for me on a few occasions. One thing is for sure. When I think about a cemetery, or when I’m reading of a fictional graveyard, it is always this beautiful place that ends up being the setting in my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other recent cemetery photography posts:

The Iron Fence and the Family Plot

Cemetery of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne, Missouri

Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis

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Cemetery of Immaculate Conception of Dardenne, Missouri

 

On Wednesday of this week, I made some time to sneak away after work to find a few places to take some photos. I decided to stop by a small Catholic cemetery that I pass by often when I’m coming home from work. This was the first opportunity I’ve had to take colorful spring photos with my new camera. Having colors to play with is a whole new experience. On this Good Friday, and especially for those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope you enjoy the powerful monument that depicts the crucifixion of Jesus. It clearly caught my attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more of my photography, including cemetery photos like these, please visit my Flickr page.

 

A few recent cemetery posts you might like: 

Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri (Big Séance)

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

 

 


Francis Howell Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

 

More Recent Cemetery Posts: 

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls - Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

Perfectly Lonely and Snowy City of Souls – Return to Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis (Big Séance)

Lessons in Photography & Other Nerdly Stuff (Big Séance)

Lessons in Photography & Other Nerdly Stuff (Big Séance)

Another Visit to Gumbo (Big Séance)

Another Visit to Gumbo (Big Séance)

A New Lens and a New Cemetery (Big Séance)

A New Lens and a New Cemetery (Big Séance)

 

 


Lessons in Photography & Other Nerdly Stuff

 

I wanted to be inspired to blog about something exciting tonight, but it turns out my brain (and my body) is tired from long work days this week. How about some more photography from two new cemeteries? While at the second cemetery, I captured a killer sunset that just took my breath away. I’m not entirely sure I did a great job of capturing it, but it was fun trying. 

 

 

Fifteen minutes later I caught this one with my iPhone in the grocery store parking lot. 

 

 

Back to the cemeteries… Bellerive Gardens in Creve Coeur, Missouri and Thomas Howell Cemetery in St. Charles, Missouri. 

 

 


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While I’m at it, I’d love some constructive criticism from any experienced photographers. I had a chance to talk photography with a colleague at school today. He’s a “retired” administrator and former music teacher who has been doing some long-term subbing in our building. He does photography on the side, and so I took advantage of the opportunity to ask him some of those silly questions that a new photographer might ask when they’re learning lingo and the how-to. You know, like when do I need to switch lenses? What’s ISO? Things like that. I’ve found that he is GREAT at explaining things to me and making me not feel stupid. Ha! (He’s really great at explaining new sound systems too, by the way.) 

 

 

 

A lot of times when I’m shooting in a cemetery, I have the urge to lay on the ground for several shots. If you don’t know me, physically, crawling across the ground, under trees and bushes, and straining to get back up again is not the greatest activity for my back and will almost always result in breaking out the good pain pills. It’s also funny when you stop by the grocery store on the way home and realize you have twigs and leaves clinging to you everywhere. It’s totally worth it, though. 

 

 

Anyway, I’ve suspected this, but I’ve learned that I think I tweak things like the saturation and contrast a little too much in Photoshop Elements. I need to find a balance. You learn as you go, I guess. Here’s the link to most of my favorite recent photos from the new camera.

 

 

 

This was on a grave marker. How cool is that?!

This was on a grave marker. How cool is that?!

 

Question: Do I need a Flickr account, or something similar? Why? Why not? What’s the point of it?

 

 

 

 

Love creative photography? You might also like:

Something Unsettling (KarlPfeiffer.com)

Photos by Randall Keller on Viewbug

 

 


Another Visit to Gumbo

 

This afternoon I made another visit to Gumbo Cemetery in Chesterfield, Missouri. I hadn’t been there yet with the new camera, and I was excited to get more practice in! This cemetery is the resting place of Clara, from my Grave Adoption series. All photos taken with the Canon Rebel T3i and a prime 50mm f/1.4 lens.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back of Clara’s headstone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You might also like:

A New Lens and a New Cemetery (Big Séance)

Learning Curve and the First Shots with my New Camera (Big Séance)

Christmas Eve at Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance)

Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri (Big Séance)

 

 


A New Lens and a New Cemetery


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Emmanuel United Church of Christ Cemetery
Weldon Spring, Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emmanuel United Church of Christ, Weldon Spring, Missouri

 

Some of my first shots with the new lens

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You might also like: 

365 and 2014 and New Chapters (KarlPfeiffer.com)

#HauntedPhotoAWeek (Renae Rude – The Paranormalist)

A Very Wintry Update (Big Séance)

Learning Curve and the First Shots with my New Camera (Big Séance)

 

 

 


Christmas Eve at Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You might also like…

Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri(Big Séance.com)

A Lonely Old Country Cemetery at Magic Hour – Bellflower, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville Missouri(Big Séance.com)

Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition (Big Séance.com)

Images of America: Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance.com)

 

 


Oak Grove Cemetery, St. Charles, Missouri

 

 

Interested in my other cemetery posts? 

A Lonely Old Country Cemetery at Magic Hour – Bellflower, Missouri

Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville Missouri

Assumption Cemetery, O’Fallon Missouri

Cravens Cemetery, Camden Missouri

Cemeteries: Concordia and Emma, Missouri 

Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri 

Forest Grove Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri 

Lexington’s Old Catholic Cemetery 

Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri 

Two Smoky Mountain Cemeteries 

Just a Stroll through a Random Cemetery on the Way Home

 

 


Cemeteries at Night and My Pumpkin Mission

A photo of Johnnie’s grave during one of my recent visits.

 

Tonight I simply wanted to log on and tell you about my return trip to Johnnie’s grave to retrieve the pumpkin I left for him. 

I left a pumpkin at Clara’s grave, too. I knew they would be fine for a month or so, but also knew I had the responsibility of going back to pick them up before they rotted. I mean, I didn’t want to see Linus and Lucy waiting for the Great Pumpkin next fall if I return for a visit. That would be embarrassing, and I’d feel really bad. So yes, I was stressing out just a bit about getting back to dispose of the pumpkins. The only problem? After Halloween, when we get busy with our lives again and “fall back”, I’ve discovered it is nearly impossible to get to a cemetery (unless you live right next to it) before dark! Even on days where I get to leave work at a decent time after school, it’s getting dark on the way there! I had every intention for over a week to get back to both of these cemeteries, but lack of sunlight was really making it difficult. 

When it comes to cemeteries (and most situations in life, actually), I’ve always followed the accepted rules. For most cemeteries, unless otherwise posted, you are prohibited from entering between dusk and dawn. Well a few nights ago, I rushed out of school as early as I could, but darkness beat me once again. I was already en route to Johnny’s cemetery when I decided that this mission to dispose of a pumpkin was important enough of a reason to go to that cemetery in the dark. I was frustrated and tired of the daily race and wanted to check this off my to do list.

I’ve spent hours and hours in cemeteries, both as a child and as an adult. They’re like peaceful parks to me. Though I don’t recall a cemetery visit after sundown, I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t have any fear issues. I thought back to the day I returned to do some follow-up investigation at an abandoned farmhouse… in the dark… without my team… and how good it felt to prove to myself that I could do it. I had no worries. My confidence wavered a bit, however, as I tried to locate Johnny’s grave. In the daylight, I knew that path like the back of my hand. At this point I’d been there probably ten times. But I assure you, it’s a whole different story in the dark.

By the time I made it to Johnnie’s grave, I was more worried about cops or someone in one of the few houses nearby thinking I was a trouble maker. This is also why I didn’t use a flashlight. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. But surely anyone would be understanding of my pumpkin mission, right? I felt a bit rude dropping by for such a brief visit, but I quickly greeted Johnnie and explained that I was taking his pumpkin back. I hoped he understood. I sent a quick prayer for him to be at peace and then crouched down to search for the pumpkin. In the shadows, my eyes finally settled on it. It was still there. It was either upside down or no longer had its stem, but it was hard to tell. I grabbed with both hands, but my fingers went right through the pumpkin. I had to hold back from blowing chunks right there. I waited too long. Fortunately, I was prepared with a trash bag and managed to scoop it all (or what I hoped was all) in the bag. I think I said something goofy to Johnnie about this awkward moment before heading back to the car that was parked nearby on one of the paths in the middle of the cemetery.

In the car, the next priority was finding my hand sanitizer. Once my hands were taken care of, I had a fascinating moment just sitting there in a silent car. I was enjoying the surroundings and realizing this wasn’t something you see every day. I wasn’t too frightened. In fact, I could have stayed there a while longer, admiring all of the silhouettes off in the distance. Once again, the fear of police lights driving up the hill to the cemetery got me moving quickly. I made my way to the main road and headed for home, while planning the next day’s rushed visit to retrieve Clara’s pumpkin. Would it be in the same condition? In my head, I made a few quick notes on the lessons learned during this trip to grab a squishy pumpkin in the shadows. 

 

You may be interested in my other posts in a series titled “Adopting Graves”, where I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey of adopting and researching two graves during the autumn season. For previous posts, visit:

 

Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition
Adopting Graves: Second Visit with Clara and Johnnie

Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family
Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her family
Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)

 

 


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