How did I get myself into this? The question is, how could I NOT get myself into this? The cemetery is so overgrown that it’s essentially a forest. A forest punctuated with monuments, tombstones, and mausoleums—so bizarre, you'd half expect you were on a movie set. The thrill of urban exploration notwithstanding, think of the photographs! In other seasons, the dense foliage of trees and bushware obscure the statuary and granite memorials, to the degree that you must hack your way through the graveyard. Thorns and brambles, full of life, rip your skin right through your clothing. In winter, however, when the foliage is as dead as the bodies below, one finally gets a clear view (through the trees) of all the freakishness of this abandoned 380-acre cemetery.
|Ed, as BatBoy|
Veronika’s boyfriend gave her the tazer for Christmas—quite the sentimental gift! Part of the reason actually was so that she would have reasonable protection for visits to Mount Moriah Cemetery! Apparently on her last visit, she was alone and exploring the back wooded area when she heard some noises ahead. As she continued to push her way through the thicket, she came upon a shovel, some rope, and bag of lye! Not wishing to be part of some unhappy event, she beat a hasty retreat and hadn’t been back since. Today there is snow—so forgiving, it hides the fact that this cemetery has been degraded to base uses.
Tunneling under dead vines and pickers, we soon came to what had once been a dynasty (family) plot with a 15-foot high cast iron monumental funerary urn, listing to port in the uneven ground, rusted to the point where little of its original green paint remained. As we were swooning over this find, Veronika looked over my shoulder and froze, saying, “Look….” I turned slowly around to see a pair of small dog-sized creatures turn tail and disappear deeper into the woods. At first glance I thought they were a couple of the pit bull puppies I had seen a few months before, trotting back to alert their over-protective mother. However, Veronika pointed out that these had bushy tails. Hmmm, yeah, couldn't be pit bulls. I tried to convince myself that they were really cute furry red foxes, a scene right out of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.” We joked about the “pit bull foxes” for a half a moment, when we heard the barking again … I had a visceral hallucination of a wild dog clamping its jaws around my ankle. You get distracted from the dangers of this place when you come across some interesting monument to photograph. Then abruptly, all your little nightmares bring you back to reality. Steady, old soldier.
|Tracks of attack dogs (right) following Veronika's|
|Veronika with Taser|
|Gatehouse, Mount Moriah Cemetery|