Poor Little Prince

 

“Death is a mystery, and burial is a secret.”
― Stephen King, Pet Sematary

PET SEMATARY, from Paramount Pictures.

103 years before Stephen King’s book about a Pet Sematary created in the town of Ludlow, Maine was printed there was an honest to goodness Pet Cemetery in England.

The Hyde Park pet cemetery (originally the London Hyde Park Dog Cemetery and advertised as The Secret Pet Cemetery of Hyde Park)  was established sometime in 1880 and was the final resting place for two cats, three monkeys and a number of birds. Topper, a fox terrier belonging to the park’s Metropolitan Police station was also buried in the cemetery. William Petre, 13th Baron Petre sent a dog for burial at the park and promised to attend the ceremony but died overnight, allegedly of grief for his animal.

However the majority of the deceased buried at the Hyde Park Cemetery are dogs.

471 headstones are known in the cemetery and many are marked with burial dates of these beloved pets.  Only five headstones are marked with dates in the 1880s, 255 with the 1890s, 70 with the 1900s and only 23 with later dates. The 1976 burial was the only one carried out after the 1950s- I wonder if it was a cat and if it’s name was Church ( who in King’s book was named after Winston Churchill so it’s possible- slow wink -being that this burial took place in England.)

I learned that pet  cemeteries at this time were considered a  German custom and that eventually they fell out of fashion.  From what I understand there is now a drive to bury pets along side their owners now- which in my opinion is long over due. I don’t care about tradition or decorum.

The sad fact is life goes on and a lot of people stop visiting their loved one’s graves as the years go on ( and there is NOTHING wrong with that ) so why not save a space for a pet?

It only seems right and in a way, oddly comforting to have this reunion in death.

Now let’s step back into the world of the living.

Enclosed at the end of this post are some photos from the Hyde Park cemetery- a quiet little memorial park that is no longer open to the public except for the occasional tour and I have to wonder  if I would ever take that tour and if I did would this passage from Pet Semetary pop into my head as I walked among the graves of our most cherished companions.

It probably would, because if I can creep myself out at a cemetery I always do- I think it’s fun.

“Don’t go beyond, no matter how much you feel you need to, Doctor. The barrier was not made to be broken. Remember this: there is more power here than you know. It is old and always restless. Remember.”
― Stephen King, Pet Sematary

Woman walking her dogs, Hyde Park Pet Cemetery.

 

#100daysofhalloweenhappy-Pet

Villages of The Forgotten Dead

RDP Monday: CRUMBLE

Graves that are crumbling and falling into ruin seem to be more lively then the often visited and well maintained ones – which is funny when you think about it,

anita

Photo A.M. Moscoso
Bear Creek Cemetery/Turner Cemetery
Washington state.

Photot A.M. Moscoso
Bear Creek Cemetery
Washington State

Photo A.M. Moscoso
Comet Lodge Cemetery
Seattle, WA

Photo A.M. Moscoso
Saint Louis Cemetery Number One

Photo A.M. Moscoso
Saint Louis Cemetery Number One

“Over all was that air of abandonment and decay which seems nowhere so fit and significant as in a village of the forgotten dead.”
― Ambrose Bierce, The Death of Halpin Frayser

Tour Groups

RDP Sunday:THUNDEROUS

Photo A.M. Moscoso

If you have never taken a walking to through a cemetery for Halloween, I’d suggest you give it a try.

The first time I took a haunted tour through a cemetery was in New Orleans where I was pleasantly suprised to find you could wander around with a giant fruit flavored drink ( I think I had a strawberry margarita, but it may have been a daiquiri , I get then confused ) in your hand and along side the plastic straw jammed in the top of the cup  was a hallowed out red licorice stick encrusted with sugar.

I’m from Washington state and drinking alchohol as you stroll through a cemetery is frowned upon- and by frowned upon I mean it’s super illegal.

The tour group I had joined that Halloween was a haunted history tour- so there weren’t any ghost stories per se, but that’s ok. I know plenty of ghost stories and the only way you can come up with new ones  (when you’re a writer ) is to take reality and coat it with chunks of sugar and jam it into a giant plasitc mug full of Rum or Tequila.

Trust me here, sometimes it works.

Every  now and then I would peel off from my group when we were freed up for a bit to take pictures or wander around the masoleums on our own. I shadowed a group of  Wiccans,  a group of Vampires ( yeah, well it was daylight so that sort of hurt my brain ) and another group getting a pretty detailed and graphic description of Voodoo rituals.

Then I would find my group and the tour would start back up again.

I was drinking, I mean touring with a lady from Michigan when we found a few ruinous crypts. The marble had slid away from one masoleum and the plate on the door that told you who’s place of eternal rest this is was a pile of rubble on the ground.

” Can you inagine what that sounded like when this fell apart?” she asked me.

Just then the Vampires joined us and I figure they were sort of floating around behind us to freak us out a bit.

I mean they were in black and they fangs looked pretty cool and the ones who weren’t wearing shades were wearing contact lenses that made their eyes look purple or wolfish. It was Halloween and if you’re going to dress up like a vampire and walk around a cemetery I HOPE they were trying to have a little fun.

On the other hand, I was on vacation from work where  I embalm people so I didn’t spook easily.

” Must have sounded like the end of the world  here when that marble hit the ground. ” Michigan told me.

” Oh yeah. But you know what? It must have sounded worse from inside. I mean all that cracking and slithering and sliding when the marble and granite fell away and then BOOM.” I sort of bellowed.

Michigan jumped a little. She poked me in the side with her drink. ” How would you know what it sounds like from the inside. ”

I poked her back.

Then  I turned around and took a long drink from my licorice straw encrusted with sugar. ” Cause I’ve been in there  a few times when things went wrong.”

All of the sudden my Vampires decided to tour the crypts a row down from us and me and Michigan continued our stroll on what was a beautiful, sunny Halloween afternoon.

Final Words

RDP Friday: Disquieting

If you go to Google and ask it to find you epitaphs- it will.

Some of the ones that it will pull up are traditional and some are disquieting and others are funny.

I found these and these lines in my search. Some will give you the evil chuckles and others are little horrifying.

I’ll let you decided which are which.

amm

Photo: A.M. Moscoso

Dr Chard (19th Century)

Here lies the corpse of Doctor Chard,

Who fill’d half of this churchyard.

Delia (16th Century)

Here Delia’s buried at fourscore;

When young, a lewd rapacious Whore,

Vain and expensive; but when old,

A pious, sordid, drunken Scold.

Unknown Vicar (18th Century)

He was literally a father to all the children of the parish.

John Macfarlane (dates unknown)

Erected to the memory of

John Macfarlane

Drowned in the Waters of Leith

By a few affectionate friends.

Photo A.M. Moscoso