It’s the living that make cemeteries “creepy”

Cemeteries don’t really deserve a “haunted” reputation. I’m sure that cemeteries can be haunted just like anyplace else, and there are some that make the “most haunted” blogs on a regular basis. I personally think earthbound spirits are more likely to hang around the places they knew in life.

So I don’t visit cemeteries for the possible thrill of encountering the supernatural. I believe ghosts can exist, I’ve just never seen any myself and I’m well past feeling even a vague disappointment. 

Most of the time the creepy feelings come from the living, not the dead. (I still recall how two groundskeepers watched me intently as I toured the rows in one Oregon cemetery. I’m glad my boyfriend was with me.)

It’s dispiriting (pun intended) to visit a cemetery where decoration restrictions seem unnecessarily harsh. There’s no personality, no uniqueness, no memories, no color. Sucks the life right out of the place, ha ha. But cemeteries are supposed to be for the living, not the dead, and not for the groundskeepers either. 

All this makes it all the more interesting when I actually *do* have an odd experience or feeling or vibe in a cemetery.

The author’s Google Maps contribution, Ocean View Cemetery in Warrenton, Oregon

About a year and a half ago I visited the Ocean View Cemetery in Warrenton, Oregon. As I turned into the main driveway and looked up the slope, I felt a distinctly uneasy feeling and unhappy vibe from the grounds. In that area, almost all the stones looked identical, a similar reddish-brown stone with the same mid-century shape. (You can’t really tell from the only photo I can find, which I had to copy from my Google Maps contribution.) 

As I drove through the cemetery, the uneasy feeling deepened and I searched the memorials for exceptions to the rule. They were there, which was heartening. But seeing row after row of identical memorials was definitely disheartening. (This was not a military cemetery.) Some might say we are all the same in death…but we aren’t. 

Ocean View is a large and well-maintained lawn cemetery. I might even say it’s attractive. But I would not describe it as pleasant or peaceful that day. Someone, or something, is not pleased at all there and the bland uniformity of the stones was the thing that struck me as ominous about the site. I get that there are fashions that come and go through the decades, and that styles are often dictated by the demands of grounds maintenance. But I could not feel good intent here.

I kept my visit to Ocean View brief, disturbed by the ambiance. Perhaps I’ll go back some day and see if it feels the same. I hope it was just having a bad day.

Stump and Lamb explores personal growth and meaning via travels to pioneer cemeteries of the West. Posts may contain affiliate links.

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