Tuesday, September 15, 2009

idaho city pioneer cemetery, 9/9/09

last week i visited idaho city’s pioneer cemetery with my friend jason. the cemetery has graves dating back to the 1860s gold rush days. there are a lot of “unknown” grave markers (in fact, there are supposedly 3,000 burials on the grounds, with only about 350 identifiable as of 2003, although people are still being buried there so those numbers continue to grow). you can also see some sunken graves, and others where enormous pine trees have grown out of fenced grave enclosures. it’s so awesome to think about bones entangled in roots, trees absorbing nutrients from the decomposing flesh and organs...so very necro-romantic.

i love graveyards. i love getting carried away in the moment, when everyone around me is tense and jittery, ready to be freaked out by the slightest sense of something unknown. i don’t believe in any kind of spirits or afterlife. however, when i’m afraid of something, i don’t have to believe it exists in order for it to be scary. fear is often irrational anyway, so it seems perfectly normal to disbelieve something while simultaneously being horrified by it. it’s like make-believe, only since it’s more of a grown up thing i guess you could call it “conscious, deliberate cognitive dissonance for an intended psychological effect.” in other, other words: i like being creeped out, and i don’t let skepticism stand in the way of a good time.

the first time i went to the cemetery was halloween night, 2003. i was with my then-boyfriend jason (a different jason), his sister brooke, her husband/his best friend craig, another of their friends, and two of my friends, laura and sara. we were an odd-looking bunch, descending upon the small town after dark, some of us in halloween makeup, wrapped up in sleeping bags and blankets, in search of paranormal experience. my car followed craig and brooke, who had a giant, dark-blue dodge ram and did not hesitate to take it off-road. while we were bouncing along muddy, rutty dirt roads, pulling fast u-turns and speeding up steep, narrow and winding roads, trying to find the graveyard that no one knew exactly how to locate, i was thinking two things: one, do not lose sight of their taillights, because i have no goddamn clue where we are; and two, how in hell am i going to explain my car being this mud-splattered when my parents think i’m spending the night at sara’s?

we came to the cemetery prepared for summoning. sara and i had an art class together and we used some free time to design a ouija board (which was later pinned to her wall, until one night when it mysteriously made its way under her bed, coming to rest directly below where she slept, revealing itself as undoubtedly possessed)...so we brought our homemade, pen-and-ink/watercolor ouija board and some candles and incense and held a séance.

that first adventure inspired numerous return visits, mostly during my senior year in high school. on one occasion, sara, jason and i went in the middle of the night, and the three of us ended up sleeping in my car in a junkyard. that next morning was the only time i’ve seen the cemetery in daylight. another time, jason and i actually got a place at idaho city hotel, where we shared a room with mosquitoes, spiders, questionable bedding and a broken pull-cord toilet. we sat on the porch, knitted and pretended to be countryfolk. that night we had a scare in the cemetery--a (literal fucking) black cat jumped out from behind a grave, and jason flipped, accidentally hooking one of my pigtails in his fingers and ripping hair out of my scalp.
this most recent visit was the first time in about three or four years that we’ve been back. we both took lots of pictures; i used my DSLR to make some spooky mood photos, and also a point-and-shoot, which yielded tons of “orb” pictures, like the hotel one above. jason brought a digital sound recorder, and we tried to communicate with a few dead folks, including allegra eckles, our graveyard mascot. her grave is located close to the entrance, and years ago we picked her as a favorite because of her name.
we were both interested in the symbols on allegra’s grave, so i looked them up when i got home. i believe they’re masonic symbols, which isn’t surprising because a lot of the graves have masonic markings. i identified what i think some of the symbols might be: three pentagrams (one inverted, which can symbolize the fall of the morning star (lucifer)), three thaumaturgic triangles (“used for magical purposes such as spell casting or demon summoning; believed to be the door through which the demon will be called”), and a crescent moon (star and crescent = moon goddess dianna and lucifer, although i don’t know why the extra two pentagrams). i also don’t know what it means all put together. maybe allegra worshipped satan. that would make her an even cooler cemetery mascot.

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