This isn’t the post I planned for today. I had intended to write about exploring my new city (which I suppose could include this) or maybe showing y’all the Allure beauty box that showed up in my mail unexpectedly. But no… it’s paranormal storytime again.
To be clear, nothing outwardly or obviously paranormal happened to me. So this is not an “Omg I saw a ghost in the cemetery!” kind of post.
I’d also like to mention that I spend a fair bit of time in cemeteries. Not as much as I’d like, honestly, but they’re places I like to visit and take photos, some of which I’ve included in past posts. The point is: I’m not afraid of cemeteries. I find them to be lovely, relaxing places with beautiful art and interesting history.
This afternoon I was working in my new office and looking out the window at the bright, sunny world, and I got the uncontrollable urge to go outside. I’ve been cooped up in the house all week because I’ve been super busy with work, so I decided to go get coffee and drive around a bit. I like driving; it relaxes me, gives me an opportunity to listen to podcasts and also helps me get my geographical bearings. I like knowing how to get places without using GPS, and at this point, I can really only get to the library and Starbucks from memory.
So, I got coffee and decided to wander around the next town over, Waterford. Dan and I have driven through a couple times on our way to the grocery store, but I wanted to check out some of the huge old houses and see if I could find the town history museum. Because I’m a nerd. I had forgotten all about the cemetery, but I drove by it and had to stop. According to the sign outside, interments began in that space in the late-18th century, which makes sense since this area was originally settled in the 1760s.
I didn’t have a lot of time so I opted to just drive through, and I’m really glad I did. The minute I pulled off the main road I got an extremely eerie feeling. I had rolled down the windows so that I could take some photos, and the first thing I noticed was the smell; earthy and warm, but damp and a little sweet. It’s what I imagine forests in the Pacific Northwest smell like. Like compost. Not at all how I expected an old but well-maintained cemetery to smell.
The other thing I noticed immediately was the sound. It was a bright, beautiful day with a breeze and this place is full of trees, so I expected to hear birds and leaves and normal outdoor sounds, but I didn’t. I didn’t even hear the cars on the road nearby. I just heard cicadas. If you’re not familiar with these nightmare fuel insects or don’t live in an area where they’re common, the sounds they make are like nails on a chalkboard, but seasonal. It’s a mating sound made by the males, but it typically happens on super hot days in mid-summer, not on days like today. It was moderately warm and summer is almost over. So it was odd.
At this point, I was unnerved, but I couldn’t turn around and leave because there isn’t a real road going through the place. It looks more like one of those old-timey carriage roads, where there are clear spaces for your wheels and grass in the center. I couldn’t tell if it was paved or just gravel; either way, my only option was to keep driving through.
I took some photos of interesting graves and the general space because while eerie it’s also quite pretty. In one area there are trees growing so close to the road on both sides that I was sure they’d scrape my side mirrors.
I made a loop around the perimeter and then decided to leave. There were two paths going through other areas but they were overgrown and it just didn’t seem like a good idea. I saw graves I’d like to check out, but I think I’d prefer not to be alone when I do. By the time I left my heart was racing and I had broken out in a cold sweat. It wasn’t fear exactly; it’s hard to explain exactly how I felt. Dread might be a more accurate term.
Clearly, I made it out of there without incident. My car didn’t explode on the way home. Nothing bad happened for the rest of the day. But every time I’ve thought about it, I get a weird headache. It’s right over my left eye and it doesn’t last long, but it’s strange. When I got home I decided to do some research on it but there’s very little information available online. There’s a list of who’s buried there, but not what the land used to be or whether it’s still possible to be buried there. A few websites suggested that the Waterford Historical Society might have some info, but I think I’ll leave it alone for now.
How do you feel about cemeteries? Do you find them peaceful or interesting? Am I crazy to be creeped out?