Trying to keep up with all the events in October for Halloween left me a touch behind on creating new content, but, next month, look for a few new things I'm hoping to launch. I've also been experimenting with *Video,* so, I'm hoping to have some short video pieces soon.
If you didn't submit your story for the book project honoring the former caretaker of Riverside Cemetery in Denver, Cliff Dougal, you still have time! If you would like to submit a story Cliff told you, or tell one of your memories of Cliff, please use this submission form.
Ghostly Tales from the Cemetery
Last month, I asked people to share their stories of haunted cemeteries with me. It seems that most readers don't have stories to share, which might be matching my own experience with cemeteries.
However, there are a couple of spooky tales that Cliff Dougal shared with me (and a few others, as some of these stories were also submitted by others). These, of course, were from Riverside when Cliff was the caretaker.
Cliff, who would say that many people feel that the smaller of the two thirteen blocks, (Usually simply called little 13) which is also known as the "Catholic" section, is cursed. Certainly, he said that there were lots of strange things that happened out there in that section.
The one that stood out in Cliff's mind was from 1992, when Riverside had a groundskeeper that, after work, loved to come to the chapel. He would play the piano while he whistled. One day, he went out to mow, and at the end of the day, he didn't come back. Cliff went looking for him, only to find him still on his mower, in little 13, slouched over the steering wheel. The man had died. Several months later, Cliff and other employees would hear the piano playing and could also hear whistling at the same time. When someone opened the chapel door, it would stop. Close the door, it would start up again.
Cliff said equipment often failed while people were working in the section. When they moved on to work elsewhere, the equipment would work just fine.
Another strange tale from Cliff has to do with a different groundskeeper, several years later, who was told to take the truck and go down to the pump house and shut the pump down. At closing time, he still hadn't come back, so Cliff and a couple of guys went to the pump house. The truck, with its motor still running, was there, along with the employee's shoes, but the man had disappeared.
The man's wife came to Cliff to get the man's last paycheck. The check was being withheld, and she needed the money, but, as he had not been declared dead, the cemetery company wouldn't let her claim the money. No body was ever found, and to Cliff's knowledge, not a trace of him ever surfaced.
Late one evening after the cemetery had closed, at a certain large memorial structure in Riverside Cemetery, Cliff saw activity. He called the police and he and the officer approached some sort of "sacrificial" ceremony. The red stuff appeared to be blood. The person doing the ritual, was so upset at being interrupted, that he cursed Cliff and the policeman and proceeded to put a curse on both of them. A week later, Cliff, while driving, was hit on Colorado Blvd. Ten days later the police offcer rolled his police cruiser.
The last story I'll share with you on this "Day of the Dead," is that of a young man, who was a friend of Cliff's. He'd told him he always wanted to be buried on a Saturday--like in the Jewish tradition. Not being Jewish, his father said absolutely not. One day he died. His father had the service on Sunday and the casket was set into the ground. After everyone left, the tractor came forward to close the gravesite and immediately fell into the hole, breaking the casket into pieces. The driver insisted he couldn't control it. A van was hooked to the tractor and it fell into the hole. Finally a grader was called in, hooked to the van and tractor was able to pull the other 2 out. A new casket was ordered and the burial proceeded the following SATURDAY with no problems.
Special thanks to Jan Allen for some of the above recollections.
Around the Web
The mystery of foreign flora has been solved: at a cemetery in Mississippi.
The city of Colorado Springs is looking for help keeping track of headstones in Evergreen Cemetery. They're looking for help protecting the site's historical markers. In other news from Evergreen Cemetery, a paranormal investigation group has been allowed back at the cemetery after having been banned in August.
A cemetery in California has found a way to save water. The system uses new controllers to manage the water as the temperature changes.
The BBC, in honor of the season, ranked the "best" cemeteries in the world. Pretty good list, on the whole, but, I'd argue that the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles is actually more interesting from a cemetery art point of view (two pyramid-shaped mausolea, great angel sculptures), and I wonder at any list that omits New Orleans' famous cemeteries, or even the so called "Happy" cemetery in Romania. But, that's why such lists get made, to start conversations...
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