Cemeteries, Ghosts & Death Discussions

SPECTRAL ANIMALS: GHOST PETS TO HELLHOUNDS

Edited photo by Tom Pottiger on Unsplash

“If the study of ghost belief lacks academic respectability, the study of belief in non-human ghosts is still more beyond the pale.” (Knox 262)

There are countless historic newspaper reports on ghosts of pets or animals. In fact, a quick look through the archives showed me there is way too much source material on the subject to delve into for a quick blog post.

The vast majority of these sightings occurred in the latter part of the 19th century. This sharp uptick in ghostly pet encounters coincides with the surge in interest in Spiritualism during this time. It could be a case of correlation not causation, but it’s worth taking note.

GREY LADIES IN THE CRUMBLING STONES—OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE UNCANNY GOTHIC FEMININE

‘Grey Lady’, William Boxall, 1830

We love our ghost stories. We love to share them, analyse them, hunt for them, and hopefully even capture them with our cameras. But therein lies the troublesome aspect of ghosts—because our search is the pleasure, there is no joy in the answer.

There is in an excitement in these feelings; as a child, many of us remember the sudden horror, then the thrill, of walking through a cemetery and imagining a hand creeping out of a cracked grave. Or walking through an old ruin, forgetting the heritage of the place to instead imagine deep tragedies of our own invention, wishing for glimpses of the ghostly Grey Ladies who cry for justice amongst the stones.

DANCING WITH DEATH: A SHORT HISTORY OF FUNERAL FEASTS & MERRY WAKES

A detail from an 18th-century oil painting depiction of the Dance of Death, Wellcome Images, London

From lavish feasts to naked mock marriages, death has long been an excuse for a party, even in the Christian era. This tension between life and death, celebration and grief, is marked by communities in different ways through the ages, but one common theme throughout is the need to come together, to strengthen the bonds of the community as a whole when one of their number is lost.

ABNEY PARK CEMETERY AUDIO WALK: ABNEY RAMBLES—WOODLAND NETWORKS

Photo by Romany Reagan, Abney Park Cemetery

This audio walk is part tour of some of the veteran tree specimens in Abney Park Cemetery, but also part exploration of the unseen nonhuman networks at play in this ancient and diverse nature preserve.

ABNEY PARK CEMETERY AUDIO WALK: ABNEY RAMBLES—WOODLAND MAGICK

Photo by Michal Huniewicz http://blog.m1key.me/

This walk is a dark allegorical tale of what lies behind the uncanny mystery that envelops Stoke Newington – and lies beneath Abney Park Cemetery…

ABNEY PARK CEMETERY AUDIO WALK: ABNEY RAMBLES—THOUGHTS ON MOURNING

Photo by Romany Reagan, Abney Park Cemetery

This audio walk is a meditation on modern versus Victorian mourning practices. Interweaving quotes from then and now, with stories, the walk is set to the music of The Black Heart Procession, with exit music ‘Dance While the Sky Crashes Down’, by Jason Webley.

ABNEY PARK CEMETERY AUDIO WALK: ABNEY RAMBLES—LOVE, WRATH, DEATH, LIONS: A PERFORMED HISTORY OF FRANK & SUSANNAH BOSTOCK

Photo by Romany Reagan, Abney Park Cemetery

This audio walk is the performed life story of Frank and Susannah Bostock, a famous travelling circus and menagerie couple, buried in Abney Park Cemetery. Frank was a famous lion tamer, and the Bostocks were part of the founding members of Dreamland Amusement Park, Coney Island, New York.

This walk is a love story, but not a simple one.

TOWER HAMLETS CEMETERY AUDIO WALK: SEA WIDOW—ALL IS LOST FOR SHE

This is a fairly short (12min) walk through Tower Hamlets Cemetery telling a love story of ancient woodland gods, a sea widow, her sailor love & the sea siren who stole him away………..

 

Folklore, legends, myths, and lost histories from the British Isles – collected by Dr Romany Reagan

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