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THE SEPULCHER
Looking at Death in a Different Light

For as long as I can remember, cemeteries have been my "church", the place where I can be alone with myself, yet not really alone. My fascination with these "cities of the dead" was a secret I kept well hidden for many years. If you love cemeteries, you may know why. For some bizarre reason, "cemetery" has become synonymous with "corpse" and, by and large, most people fear corpses. Consequently, they also fear cemeteries. Following this convoluted train of thought, if a person actually enjoys cemeteries, that person must also love corpses and must, therefore, be disturbed. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Webster defines "cemetery" as "a burial ground for the dead." "Burial" is to put (a corpse) in the ground or a vault or into the sea often with ceremony. A corpse is "a dead body, usually a human being." By definition, although connected, cemeteries and corpses are not alike. For anyone who feels they must label what they don't understand, "necrophilia" is an erotic attraction to corpses. "Taphophilia," however, is the love of cemeteries. Two entirely different fixations...er...interests.

Being a genealogist, albeit an amateur one, cemetery research is a vital component of the family tree. When I decided to "publish" a website about genealogy, it was only natural to include a page about cemeteries. As I began searching the Web, I discovered others like myself. People who love cemeteries for their serenity, their beauty, their architectural and historical significance. I had finally found a term for my passion--I am a taphophile.

This page will eventually include family gravestone photos. Until then, I have scoured the Net looking for the best links to other cemetery/grave pages. Also included are articles about the alarming rise in cemetery vandalism and grave desecration. Community leaders and individuals need to take a stand. If something is not done now to protect and preserve cemeteries across the global, valuable indicators of our collective past will be lost forever.

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CELEBRITIES

  • Beneath Los Angeles
    Steve and Ken Goldstein's site promoting the book "Beneath Los Angeles: Southern California's Graves of the Famous, the Infamous and the Just Plain Dead."

  • Dead People Server
    Jim Petersen has accumulated a wonderful list to answer the question, is so and so dead?

  • James Dean's Headstone
    Our Tentative Times has created a wonderful tribute to icon James Dean. Wonderful pictures of fans at Park Cemetery for the annual James Dean Festival.

  • Find-A-Death
    This site is a gem. Instead of just gravestones, Scott Michaels has reconstructed the last minutes on earth of many celebrities.

  • Find-A-Grave
    Source for grave sites of the famous and infamous from Jim Tipton.

  • Morbid Curiosity: Celebrity Tombstones Across America
    Elaine McCarthy has created a very interesting site for celebrity gravehunters and anyone who loves celebrity tombstones.

  • The Political Graveyard - The Web Site That Tells Where the Dead Politicians Are Buried
    Larry Kestenbaum's incredible site with more politicians than you ever imagined.

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CEMETERY PHOTOGRAPHS

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DEATH & DYING

  • DEATHS from NerdWorld
    Outstanding resource for death-related sites on the Web.

  • Kearl's Guide to Sociological Thanatology
    Micheal Kearl's remarkable site covering every death and death-related topic imaginable - Also contains excellent links.

  • Tod/Death
    Klaus Medeke's site of links to death, dying, cemeteries and more.

  • A Taphophile's Timeline
    A timeline from ancient to modern times of how cemeteries, funerals and burials evolved.

  • Westgate Necromantic-Azrael Project Online
    An eclectic site where ... "Our purpose remains to put forth the word of the Angel of Death and thereby conquer fear through understanding. We endeavor to make people aware of the essential nature of Death and to help humanity see their universe through His eyes, and thereby gain a macrocosmic understanding of both, Life and Death."

  • The World Wide Cemetery
    From the page: "a place where Internet users, their families and friends can erect permanent monuments to their dead."

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INDIVIDUAL CEMETERIES

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MILITARY/VETERANS

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MISCELLANEOUS

  • The Adams Residence
    The gothic page of Derek Adams and Dolly Whilems - enthusiasts of the macabre, the morbid and the darkly romantic.

  • Ancestry.com - 4/17/98
    Along Those Lines - Planning a visit to a cemetery.

  • AncientFaces
    A visual genealogy exchange

  • Early British Kingdoms - Archeaology
    Information about King Arthur's burial place. Be sure to visit all of EBK - it has lots of fascinating stuff.

  • Grim Rides
    I stumbled across this incredible site quite by accident. Hearses are as much as part of death as anything else. You won't believe the passion this club has for their "babies."

  • Plan Your Epitaph Day
    "PYED", created by Lance Hardie, is an international observance occurring twice a year: November 2 to coincide with the Day of the Dead, and April 6 to coincide with the Ching Ming Festival, the Chinese version of All Souls' Day

  • Saving Graves
    "A website that supports and encourages the protection, restoration and preservation of endangered American cemeteries."

  • Victims of Titanic Rest in Halifax
    Part of Jean Renoir, Jr.'s Titanic site, this is a brief article about the recovery and burial of the victims.

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OBITUARIES, EPITAPHS, etc.

  • GoodBye! The Journal of Contemporary Obituaries
    Steve Miller, webmaster, writes: "GoodBye! is an opinionated bimonthly magazine which chronicles the dead--famous, infamous and non-famous."

  • Gravestone Quotes
    Ever wonder what people write on their stones? Julie has compiled some of the best here. Be sure to visit her Brain Candy site for more interesting quotations.

  • Passing Away - A Poem
    A great poem by Herman Fong about a cemetery ritual.

  • The Book of Counted Sorrows
    Although the actual book is unpublished, this collection of poems by author Dean Koontz is very intense.

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ORGANIZATIONS/PROJECTS

  • Ohio Cemetery Preservation Society
    from the site: "Many dangers face our cemeteries; such as weathering, commercial development, neglect, abandonment, vandalism and theft. The Ohio Cemetery Preservation Society (OCPS) has been formed as a response to the public's increasing awareness and appreciation of our historic cemeteries and the need to protect them."

  • Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria
    Take a virtual tour of Victoria, British Columbia's Ross Bay Cemetery.

  • Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid - OCFA
    From the website: "The Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid is a pointer database consisting of the surnames, cemetery name and location of over 2 Million interments from several thousand cemeteries, cairns, memorials, and cenotaphs in Ontario Canada."

  • The USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project
    "We who research our family's history are good at remembering. We remember often and we remember well. But, our memories last for only as long as we are here. The purpose of this project is to organize volunteers who will work together to create a lasting tribute to our ancestors. We will transcribe tombstone inscriptions and have that work archived for the future and made easily accessible to all."

  • The Connecticut Gravestone Network
    From the website: "Organized in 1995, The Connecticut Gravestone Network's purpose is to educate the public on how important old graveyards & cemeteries are to history, and that gravestone carving is a valuable art form. We welcome all who have an interest in preserving history, gravestone art work & old epitaphs, and have respect, in general, for the importance of our cemeteries."

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