Friday, July 29, 2016

Weird NJ as Catalyst for Cemetery Exploration

So here’s a short blog about my friends at Weird NJ, Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman. Back in the spring of 2016, I had some of my cemetery photography on display at the annual Smithville Art Walk, in historic Smithville, New Jersey. (There’s a link at the end to a blog I posted about that.) Well, Weird NJ was also one of the exhibitors.

During the exhibitor set ups, I strolled over to their table to meet the guys. Extremely gracious and friendly, they knew me, as I’ve had a few items published in their books and magazine. They had all kinds of Weird NJ items to sell spread across two tables – T-shirts, their various books, about a dozen stacks of back issues of Weird NJ magazine, etc. We chatted a bit and then went our separate ways.

Mark Sceurman (L) and Mark Moran in Smithville
That afternoon, being a nerdy superfan, I had to purchase a copy of Weird NJ magazine and get the Marks to autograph it. Hey – everybody else was doing it! They were doing this quite graciously all day long - here's a photo of a young fan getting his photo taken with the Marks behind the Weird NJ table, on the green at the Smithville Art Walk.

As I waited my turn, a woman asked Mark Sceurman if he could direct her to any, um, sites, where she could see .... and he completed her sentence for her - "ghosts?" She nodded her agreement. He laughed and said something like, "We don't have any control over when they appear!" I thought that was pretty funny.

I picked out a back issue of Weird NJ with a cemetery statue on it, paid my five dollars, and asked the Marks if they would sign it. They did and Mark Moran added the speech bubble you see here: "I'm watching you Ed!"

The thought hit me when I was talking with them that Weird NJ magazine might very well have singlehandedly started the trends of cemetery photography and abandoned site exploration. Well, maybe they didn't actually start the trends, but Weird NJ created a forum for people's stories and photographs, so it certainly promoted and helped to broaden peoples' interest in these areas. Their “Cemetery Safari” sections have always intrigued me! The magazine began in 1989 and is published twice yearly. There is also a website for your on-line enjoyment.

References and Further Reading: