A quiet neighborhood…

Well, no recipe experimentation this week, mostly because I spent the majority of last week out of town and out of state.

That, and I have no food in my fridge.

Add a pizza box and 12-pack of Mountain Dew, and it's my grad school fridge all over again.

So, where was I? ICFA!

No, that is not some alien profanity, it’s the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, which brings together academics, scholars, writers, and nerds of many colors under one roof. Honestly, it’s kind of amazing. I’ve been to conventions (anime and scifi), and to conferences (the Pop Culture Association, SW Texas branch and National), and each one is its own sort of beast.

At both, you can strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and within 30 seconds be chatting like old friends, but only at a conference (academic) can you go from discussing the latest Supernatural episode to how the show explores Marxist themes in horror, all without without losing a beat.

I love these things.

Plus, the conference sponsored its own ghost hunt.

*cue ear-to-ear grin*

Since I’m writing a series that involves ghosts, angels, demons, and grief counselors for the dead, I’ve been watching a *lot* of paranormal investigative shows, and am slowly working up the nerve to actually contact a team to join in one. Luckily, ICFA planned it’s year excursion to Greenwood cemetery, the only cemetery allowed within Orlando city limits. And I has pictures!

Okay, little less spooky, little more too-long-exposure-on-the-camera. Meh.

We wound up with three characters of tour guides (‘tour guides’ in the sense of they guided the whole herd of academics on a tour, since I completely forget their actual titles). Imagine a cemetery tour led by Bill Engvall, a quiet old Victorian undertaker, and a gardener with a penchant for ‘seeing things,’ and you’ll get a vague idea of what it was like. And I LOVED it. (Especially when the undertaker guy kept whipping out his measuring tape on people.)

(Yes, for those type of measurements. Not the other kind of ‘those’. Geez, brains out of the gutter!)

And naturally, I took a lot of pictures.

Hey, look, DUST! And spanish moss...

A mausoleum...

The grave of a guy whose face got eaten off by a lake monster...

Ooh! A light anomaly! Beside that tree in the background. (Or, just a reflection off another headstone.)

And...The tallest gravestone in the cemetery. Erected by the guy's wife. Engraved with 'a loving husband' and 'forever greatest' or somesuch. (Yeah, not going there. I'm not Freudian enough.)

Ooh, but here’s a good one!

Ghostly fingerprints!

Apparently, the gardener/groundskeeper guy was driving around the grounds one night, tooling along full speed, when he noticed these smears on the stone and screeched to a halt. He knows these stones, and those smears had not been there the night before.

The poor woman in this grave has a double indignity – she has no death date (though she is buried there), and her name is horridly misspelled. So, with those smears, it’s as if she reached up from her grave and stained her own stone.

Even better? When the guy got back to the cemetery office, he found out that the police had gotten several reports the night prior of an elderly woman roaming the grounds in that exact spot. And no one could find the gal.

Saddest part – none of the staff can do anything about it. Even if a stone falls over in the graveyard, they need permission from the families to set it upright again. And a lot of those families just don’t come around anymore.

With stories like this, I keep finding that I have more and more sympathy for the ghosts. Used to be, ghost shows fascinated me; now they just sadden me. After all, ghosts aren’t sideshow freaks or bears trapped in cages that the living should go around poking with a stick just for ‘the experience.’ Ghosts were people too.

(No, that is not the tagline for my book.)

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About C.N. Wolf

Vaguely humanoid, often inquisitive, moderately bizarre. Also called a writer. View all posts by C.N. Wolf

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