The burial ground was last used in 1814, and it took considerable effort to open the stone door.
“…after the second sexton’s disappearance, in 1908, the burial ground fell into disuse, and was slowly smothered by undergrowth.”
The first shot is from the Beddoe-Rose Cemetery, which in real life, is a bit battered by the years, and probably falling tree limbs, but isn’t spooky in the slightest. It was a burial plot for two families, that began farming along Keuka Lake after the Revolution, and dates back to 1815. The last burial was over a hundred years ago, and about seventy years ago, the state purchased the land for a park. The farmhouse was torn down, and the little hillock is now surrounded by woods.
The scratches on the sign board, from a state forest near Naples, NY, are just rust or something.
And not blood-stained claw marks.
Looking for these shots, however, I did find some genuinely scary stuff:
Portapotties, chemical toilets, whatever you call them, these things make your blood run cold. Some time this century, we need to gather all the villagers, with pitchforks and torches, and chase these horrors from our public places and gatherings. They’re like little plastic museums of the Dark Ages. We’re a couple centuries overdue for well-ventilated, self-cleansing versions. Public parks should have public restrooms, why do we allow ourselves to be
inconvenienced, wait, discommoded in this way?
Two old-time horrors in this shot.
On the top left, a wreath made of hair. Indescribably creepy.
And in front, in all its splendiferous horribleness, is an 1862 “half-mourning” dress.
The Civil War was bad enough, without this kind of assault.
Imagine some poor vet, having survived Antietam and Gettysburg, limping home from Appomattox, his brain teeming with battlefield horrors, running into this thing. Hadn’t he suffered enough?
Maybe this dress is a widow’s expression of pent-up rage, over Victorian strictures – some book of etiquette specified a schedule, when it was deemed seemly to only be half-sad about someone’s death. And this widow took her revenge, with this lilac & black attack.
Who the heck would give creepy coin banks like this, to a kid??
When your name is Dillman, I guess it’s natural to take an interest in pickling. Back in my hometown, in 1902, the Dillman brothers founded this company, which perfumed the area for many years. Seriously, Kraut Juice?? I just know, that if this health drink was still around when I was a kid, my parents would’ve made me drink it.
A Seneca headdress, as you probably know, did not remotely resemble this “Plains Warbonnet” on the label.
Bonus Ghost Story
Well, here’s a short ghost story, of sorts. It’s been told to me by my dad, many times. Many times. Many times.
On the wall of my bedroom, in my parents’ home, hang four old swords. One is a Civil War non-com’s, and was given to my father when he was a boy.
A little while after it was given to him, he walked up to the hardware store, bought some fancy brass hooks, and hung the sword on his bedroom wall. Even though my grandmother had told to not do that, because it might fall off somehow, during the night, and stab him. Once it was hung, he then went downstairs, to feed the dog, a large, very sweet Newfoundland.
The dog, as soon as he was in the house, ignored his dinner, and ran upstairs, which was very unusual, since he was always hungry, and knew he wasn’t allowed in the bedrooms. He then stood in the doorway of my dad’s bedroom, and began to bark and growl.
Now, my dad says, that dog only growled four times in his entire life. The other three times, he’d taken a dislike to the UPS van. Otherwise, and this dog lived nearly twice the typical lifespan for that breed, he simply never growled. He was a big dog, 150 pounds, and when he growled, it was impressive. It scared the living crap out of the UPS man, and he stopped driving up to the house, and often just hung the parcels on the mailbox by the street.
But that afternoon, the dog stood in the doorway, looking into the bedroom and growled and growled.
My father, with complete composure, acted quickly and decisively, the way he always does in these situations.
He ran outside.
The dog followed, and together, they sat on the front lawn, until it started to get dark, and the folks came home to make dinner. At the time, neither of them said anything about the growling to my grandparents.
Now, it’s possible there was a bat in the room. It wouldn’t be the first time – my father often left the screens open, so he could throw things out the window, fiddle with the wire antenna to his radio, which he’d strung out to a fencepost, or shoot his BB gun at tin cans on the driveway, even though he’d promised never to load the gun inside the house. But he says, the screen was closed, and he didn’t see any bats. He believes it was something to do with hanging up that sword.
Now it’s been on my bedroom wall for quite a while, and nothing’s happened, so far.
A Tale of Unrelenting Horror & Bad Muffins for Halloween
“Nevermore,” I said through gritted teeth, as I felt my way up the creaking, long-disused stairs, breathing deep the gathering gloom, feeling moody and blue.
Why does gloom always do that? Gather, I mean. It could learn a thing or two from me, learn to dissipate a bit, at least on weekends.
My nerve almost failed – – I mean, it’s hard to say “nevermore” with your teeth gritted, but then, the stairs hadn’t been swept in years, so I guess it would’ve been gritty no matter what I did with my teeth. My throat was knotted with tension and my teeth were already on edge from the howling storm. All in all, it was a desperately nerve-racking situation, dental-wise.
I paused to shield the guttering candle, almost snuffed out by a sudden icy draft. Nevermore will I stay in a haunted B&B, when it’s only rated 1 1/2 stars, and the only muffins at breakfast were prune and artichoke. Another icy draft filled the dank stairwell, and the storm outside rattled the windowpanes. I thought some more about icy drafts, and how nice it would be to have a cold beer, just to wash away the dust on my tongue. But one of the embroidered signs on the bedroom wall asked Guests Please Refrain from Eating or Drinking in Your Room. And Do Not Sit Upon the Counterpane.
I didn’t know what a counterpane might be, so I didn’t sit on anything, and slept in the bathtub.
Or tried to sleep.
The night was wild with a vicious storm, branches tap-tap-tapping on the window panes, some stupid raven trying to get in, too, but what really rendered the night sleepless was a horrible banshee wail from somewhere in the upper, supposedly vacant floors! Finally driven to distraction, I ignored the “Private. & Kind of Creepy” sign, and forced open the door to the back stairs with a poker I’d snatched from the hearth, the splintering wood and rusty screech drowned out by the storm. Man, beast, or spirit, I determined to climb the stairs and confront this evil, poker in my hand & black murder on my mind.
The wi-fi was out, so I had nothing else to do anyway.
I also had a candle, the Gideon’s Bible from the nightstand, and the bell from my bicycle. No holy water, but I brought the little complimentary spray bottle of Lavender & Paprika linen freshener, which really stings if you get it in your eyes.
(That’s a lot of stuff to carry, but luckily, I always travel with vintage 1920’s bathrobes from Abercrombie & Fitch, in MacKay tartan, the long-discontinued model called “The Huntsman’s Friend,” with tons of pockets, a hip flask, and ammo loops. You can unravel the belt for fishing line, in an emergency. I really recommend it.)
The horrible keening continued, and I froze for a moment, but with nerves of iron, I steeled myself to, no I mean, with nerves of steel and a backbone of iron, I was galvanized into action. That’s not quite right, either, is it. OK, like an iron, I pressed on. Whatever, I went up the stairs, metallically in some way, and burst open the attic door.
To be confronted
with a scene
of heart-stopping horror,
beyond the capacity of words to express!
Well, actually, we do have words to express it – – it was the B&B’s butler, playing the bagpipes.
The ghastly shrieks died away, as the fiend drew breath, fixed me with a glittering eye, and intoned sepulchrally, “It’s not keening, laddie, ’tis ‘The Rose of Kelvingrove’.”
I snatched my trusty Webley .455 from my bathrobe pocket, the one with a built-in holster, and emptied it in his direction.
“Ha!” I cried – – the stupid sign in my room said “Please don’t disturb the tranquility of our guests by turning on the shower bath, radio, or TV after 7:15 PM,” but it didn’t say anything about shooting guns!
“Ha!” I said again. (In crisis mode, my thought process was so quick, the casual listener would be forgiven for thinking I’d said “Haha!” instead of two distinct “Ha’s!” but I figured, really, after discharging a large caliber pistol in a confined space, they probably wouldn’t have heard anything at all, so I pantomimed “Ha!” for dramatic effect.)
Six shots rang true. The perforated bagpipe fell to the floor like last year’s haggis after a pub brawl in Glasgow.
The butler never flinched.
Totally impassive, he slowly turned, and bent to seize a large black leather portmanteau.
I felt an instant of dismay, because his kilt was rather short. He dragged the sinister case toward me. I regretted having expended all six bullets on the bagpipes.
Placing it between us, his mad glare never leaving my face, he slowly prised open the corroded clasps, and with infinite menace, slowly opened the stained, mouldering lid.
An appalling odor of stale mazurka flooded the attic.
His lips stretched into a hideous grin.
“Polka time, then?” he asked, as he removed the accordion.
A tale of B&B horror for Halloween.
OK I’ve enjoyed posting some photos for Halloween.
If you’re a “regular viewer”, thank you for indulging me, and I promise to simulate maturity for the rest of the year.
Probably posting a bit less for a while, my one-man PR campaign for Upstate New York will be on hold – –
Moving to Boston for six months, perhaps longer, starting a new job, which I expect will require total focus.
New job, new town. Remembering lots of new names, figuring out the commute, where to get groceries.
There’s a Whole Foods across the street, expensive, and I cannot bring myself to disturb the produce displays,
it would be like vandalizing an art installation.
New language, too – – what is “scrod” and is that the same thing as “wicked pissah,” etc.
I’m looking forward to all the great museums, musical venues, and galleries.
Already learned that the Boston streets are an ironic art installation all their own, designed by M.C. Escher.
But I will, of course, continue to read everyone else’s posts, could not get by without that! 🙂