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spirits in the boneyards

Hallowed graves at Shenandoah National Park, Virginia


EXPLORED October 31st, 2011 #28 (Front Page)


I was in Shenandoah National Park one foggy afternoon and I visited one of the old cemeteries there. I thought it'd be cool to get a few shots of the old grave stones with a foggy atmosphere. When I got home later that day and began to process the photos, much to my dismay there was a ghostly image of an olden day gravedigger displaying in one of my RAW files. I thought to myself 'what the hell?'......


Ha! Yeah right! Merely having fun in the spirit of Halloween! I've not participated in previous years with Halloween themed images but I thought I'd try my hand at it this year :-)


For those of you not familiar with the history of SNP, you are probably wondering why there are cemeteries in the park. Well, the truth is, there are more than a hundred cemeteries in the park. These mountains were well populated before they became to be a park. Once upon a time, hundreds of families lived, worked, and raised their children here in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. It was THEIR home. Life changed for these families in the 1920's with the beginning of a project called the Shenandoah National Park.


Throughout you'll find evidence of the former inhabitants if you look for it: old road traces, rock walls, remnants of homesites, abandoned cemeteries and artifacts of the former residents.


Graves marked with inscribed headstones belong to families that had enough money to pay the stonecutter. Many graves are marked only by a small slab of field stone with no inscription. Who is buried beneath these slabs is now a part of oral tradition, a chain of information that has largely been broken although some families doing genealogical research have placed their results with local historical societies.


The cemeteries, like the roads and houses, will slowly melt into the land as nature reclaims its own. Please respect these hallowed places. Observe but do not disturb any evidence of the former residents. Remnants of dwellings and possessions of the former residents are classified as artifacts. Leave what you find, because these artifacts are protected by law. Unauthorized possession of any is evidence of violation. To remember your discoveries of Shenandoah's past, take photos.


THANKS FOR VIEWING - And have a great (but safe) Halloween!

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Taken on September 8, 2011