The Tombstone Tourists (Or, Taphophiles)
I haven’t posted too much this summer, if you haven’t noticed. Mostly it’s because, well, it’s summer, but I’ve also been up to other things outside Stranger Dimensions. Namely, genealogy research. That means pouring over old documents, photographs, and trekking through a few graveyards in order to find better information about distant family members.
Anyway, it’s pretty interesting to wander those old tombstones, and in fact there’s a name for people who tour cemeteries. They’re called taphophiles, or cemetery enthusiasts. The word itself means “an excessive interest in graves and cemeteries.” I wouldn’t say I’m one, as I was just out looking for specific information, but I can see the appeal.
“Tombstone tourist…describes an individual who has a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. This involves epitaphs, gravestone rubbing, photography, art, and history of (famous) deaths…Cemetery tourists can be interested in the historical aspects of cemeteries or the historical relevance of its inhabitants.”
Cemeteries contain a lot of history, and the variety of tombstones styles and, in many cases, the ravages of time itself can be fascinating to explore. Here are just a few pictures (taken with a cell phone, so a bit…off) of some forgotten tombstones I came across during my trek through one cemetery:
If you’d like to do some online tombstone touring of your own, check out Find A Grave, which contains a database of grave information and (sometimes) pictures of tombstones. They don’t have information on every tombstone out there, but it’s a pretty good resource.
Have you ever wandered a cemetery?