Please welcome the wonderful Clay and Susan Griffith to the blog! They are the authors of the Vampire Empire series (and much more) and are here to tell us about their 5 scariest graveyards! Also, they’ve got an awesome giveaway going, so be sure to check that out too!
What Scares Us blog tour
Our Top 5 Scariest Graveyards
By Clay and Susan Griffith
It’s no secret we love graveyards. They play a supporting character in almost all our books. Our lead characters spend contemplative moments there, learn a bit of their history, fight to the death occasionally, and even fall in love among the ancient stones. Graveyards reek of danger and death at night, but by day they record lineage and offer a glimpse into life. To us that remains a vital reason for our continued fascination with them.
Our favorite cemetery for so many reasons that it garnered a starring role in our Vampire Empire series is the one at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. Its history is legendary, and it is a disturbing place no matter the time of day. The stones there are dark with age, going back to 1561.
Plague victims are buried there, thousands of them. No matter where you walk you are literally walking upon the dead. This is the place where body snatching became famous, where Resurrection Men dug up the recently deceased to deliver them to surgeons. Bodysnatching became such a thriving business people were forced to take drastic measures to ensure their loved ones remained interred, literally caging the body with mortsafes or placing guards at the grave.
Everywhere you turn your eyes in Greyfriars, they alight on something intriguing, something impressive, or something morbid. On a clear fall day you can see the shape of Edinburgh Castle as it crouches atop its great hill. We were married in its shadow at Greyfriars Kirk, and it remains a place of wonder and magic, and also a place of fright.
There are countless cemeteries in heavily populated New York and New Jersey, each one unique in its own way. One that sticks in our memory is a graveyard of the Presbyterian Church in Westfield, NJ that opened its gates in 1868. The church looks quaint from the main road until you spy the cemetery with its worn wrought iron fence and flat faced stones.
The graveyard contains approximately 1,130 graves, including veterans of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and both World Wars, although burials date as early as 1730. As with many colonial cemeteries, the gravestones in those older sections all face east, perhaps to meet the resurrection of the sun each morning. The old stones jut up from the ground like angry spines, brittle with age.
In the town of Saugerties, NY, the cemetery at St. Mary’s of the Snow is not very old, but it is changing every day due to the earth itself shifting tombstones around. Or perhaps something underneath writhes, trying to get free.
One of our scariest graveyards is the Old Burying Ground in Beaufort, NC. It is nestled in the heart of the small seaside town. Burials here date from before 1724, with more than seventeen varieties of undated cypress wooden markers. Archeologists found numerous unmarked graves from victims of an Indian battle in 1711. Skulls were noted to have been cleft from tomahawks.
It is a sad little graveyard since there are numerous small graves of children to remind us that times were very hard. One grave is simply marked “little girl buried in rum keg” and it is always decorated with small gifts and tokens of remembrance. The story is of a child who went on a voyage with her father but sadly died on the way home. Unwilling to bury her at sea because of promise to his wife, her father placed his daughter in a keg of rum to return her to the arms of her mother. She was buried in the keg at the little cemetery.
In our own hometown of Raleigh, we have a historic cemetery called Oakwood. It seems to stretch for miles. In Oakwood, old and new residents mingle from the Civil War era to the newly plotted. Which reminds me, we have an appointment this week to choose our own plots there. Scary mausoleum optional though preferred