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Category: Cemeteries & Symbolism

Fort Worth, Texas Saints and Sinners Tour in Oakwood Cemetery

Graveyards as Open-Air Museums I’m deviating a little from my usual historic cemetery symbols post this week because often, when I tell people that I enjoy spending time in graveyards, they assume I must be really morbid – which is not the case at all! You see, I spend a lot of time in historic cemeteries, especially here in Texas. And to me, these country graveyards are more than just where the dead are buried; they are open-air museums. And the symbols that our ancestors chose to put on their headstones – that is how our ancestors speak to us…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Cypress Trees Mean?

Cypress Trees in Cemeteries See that tall, skinny evergreen tree on the left in the photo below? That’s a cypress tree. If you are interested in historic graveyards, then you should leaarn to be on the lookout for these! Cypress Trees: easy to ID & helpful for finding your way! Not only are historic cemetery symbols featured on headstones, certain trees have symbolic meanings, too. Even if you don’t think you are good at identifying plants, there is at least one tree that you really should become familiar with: the cypress tree. And lucky for us, it’s quite easy to…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does *this* boat mean?

Thank you, readers! If you’ve been following my series on the meaning of historic cemetery symbols, then you know each week I share a quick explanation for that week’s graveyard symbol. In the book that I’m writing, however, which is a Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism, I dive much deeper into the meanings behind each symbol. I also learn a lot from the conversations that each of these posts spark – either from blog commenters here, replies on Twitter, and the emails that I’ve been getting. So, I wanted to give a hearty shout out to all the readers out…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What Weeping Willows Mean

Inspired by a Newsletter Subscriber! This week’s historic cemetery symbols post was inspired by an email from Bill Dodds, a reader who subscribes to my weekly author newsletter. Like me, Bill enjoys traipsing through historic graveyards and taking photos of interesting headstones. Bill lives in Massachusetts, and he had a question about the symbolic meaning behind Weeping Willows: “As far as i can tell it started to appear on stones in the 1820’s and had about a 50 or 60 year run before it more or less disappeared again.” What do weeping willows mean on a headstone? I’m still researching…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: Fairview Cemetery in Gainesville, Texas

Graveyard Symbols in Fairview Cemetery, Gainesville, Texas I’m playing hooky this week! Rather than talk about one particular historic cemetery symbol, I’m going to talk about a historic graveyard that I visited last week. If you’re on my weekly newsletter, or you’ve seen me elsewhere online, you’ve probably heard me talking about how excited I was to be giving my Historic Cemetery Symbols presentation at the Santa Fe Depot in Gainesville, Texas as part of the Hill House Manor Paranormal Expo sponsored by ASAP Entertainment. The entire event was a blast and a half, and my talk went well. People…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Lilies Represent?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does a Lily symbolize when it’s carved on a headstone? You’ve probably heard folks refer to someone as having a “lily white reputation,” right? Lilies are not only white, but they symbolize purity. That’s why being “lily white” means you are as clean and chaste as they come. In the context of a headstone, lilies may also refer to the soul’s return to a state of purity and innocence in the after life. Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism: I…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: The Acronym “HTWSSTKS” & Its Meaning

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does HTWSSTKS stand for on a headstone? When it comes to historic cemetery symbosl, acronyms are used as a form of shorthand. There’s only so much room on a headstone, after all. (Speaking of acronyms, in an earlier post, I explained the surprisingly upbeat meaning behind the rather dire-sounding acronym, FATAL.) HTWSSTKS is an acronym with connections to the Masonic Temple, specifically Royal Arch Masons. The letters stand for, “Hiram, Tyrian, Widow’s Son, Sent to King Solomon.” Of course, now…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Seashells Mean?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Inspired by a Pilgrimage This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbols post was inspired by Rev. Dr. Raymont Anderson. I had the pleasure of interviewing him on a recent episode of Teal Gray Worldwide Radio. It was a lively interview; we discussed some deep stuff while having plenty of laughs along the way. (Check out the replay here: TGWW Radio: Rev. Dr. Raymont Anderson ) Afterwards, Raymont shared a link to a series of articles he wrote about a recent pilgrimage he took to…

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Paranormal Expo: Hill House Manor in Gainesville, Texas

Unique Paranormal Event in Gainesville, Texas I’m honored and excited to be giving a talk on Historic Cemetery Symbols during a unique paracon at the end of this month. Simply called “Hill House Manor,” this event combines the fun of a paranormal expo with the thrill of ghost hunting at historic haunted sites. Fun Filled Weekend If you’ve ever been to a paranormal expo before, you know the drill. You spend the day listening to fascinating speakers share paranormal expertise. You cruise through vendor booths, mixing and mingling with like-minded souls, while loading up on interesting books, crystals, jewelry, and…

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Cemetery Symbols: What do Half-Carved Stones Represent?

Cemetery Symbol: Why do these headstones look half-finished? No, the monument maker didn’t get fed up and quit halfway through the job. When you see a half-carved headstone such as these, it represents the transition from life into death. Additionally, half-carved stones convey the idea that while we may accomplish many things during our time on earth, we have even more to learn and do in the afterlife. So headstones like these symbolically remind us not to place too much importance on what we do or don’t achieve during our life because we still have much more “polishing” to do…

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Cemetery Symbols: Epitaphs for the Living?

Inspired by a Microphone with Wings To me, visiting historic graveyards is like opening a dictionary or using a search engine. While I start out with a clear idea of the information I wish to find, I’m nearly always distracted by other things along the way: a unique monument, a strange name, or in this case, a microphone with wings. Not to mention that I’ve never seen seen someone described as “debonair” on their headstone before! Here’s the full epitaph for “Todd” Harith Rahman Miles a.k.a. MC Pradah Black: “Devoted Christian rapper, writer, poet, musician, and producer. He was creative, outspoken,…

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Cemetery Symbols: Headstones, Footstones & Misleading Names

Why do most headstones face east? Most people have heard the word “headstone” before. Generally speaking, headstones mark where the head of the deceased is situated. In most Christian cemeteries, the person is oriented so that the body faces east. According to this tradition, this means they will be facing the right direction when the sun comes up on Judgment Day. In a family plot, however, there is often one major headstone. While this monument may have the names of family members inscribed on it, it usually only has the family’s last name. So, you might see a large marker…

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Cemetery Symbols: What does Draped Cloth Mean on a Grave?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does draped cloth signify on a headstone? You know how some folks say a person “saw curtains” as a euphemism for death? Those curtains refer to the veil that separates the living from the dead. In the first photo on this post, the draped cloth simply refers to the person passing from this world to the next. On the next photo, however, the book represents the pages of the deceased person’s life. The cloth falling upon the right side…

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Cemetery Symbols: What does Wheat Signify on Headstones?

WHAT DOES WHEAT SIGNIFY ON A GRAVE? You don’t have to visit many historic cemeteries for the statistics of life expectancy then-and-now to hit home. It’s one thing, for instance, to read that infant mortality in the United States of America was 90% higher 100 years ago than it is now. It’s quite another experience, however, to walk through a historic cemetery in a town that was hit by disease and see a section full of grave markers for children under 6-years-old. For that reason, I am always happy to spot depictions of wheat on a headstone. Wheat, you see,…

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Cemetery Symbols: Quirky Calculator Headstone

What does a larger-than-life T1-30 calculator symbolize in a graveyard? CALCULATOR GRAVE MARKER: That really is a larger-than-life replica of a Texas Instruments T1-30 calculator at the top of this post. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you! So, what exactly does this unique cemetery headstone represent? Is it symbolic of a human adding and subtracting all their good deeds from their bad? Or, perhaps, did an eccentric mathematician bury his or her favorite calculator there upon its demise? I didn’t get close enough to photograph the calculator display because, sadly, I was actually attending a funeral when I…

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Mineral Wells: Did I Hear Ghosts in Elmwood Cemetery?

Two Paranormal Investigations in Mineral Wells, Texas As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Haunted Hill House, my husband and I spent last weekend with with our dear friend and talented psychic, Teal Gray, over in Mineral Wells, Texas for a writing research trip. Part of that research included participating in two different paranormal investigations. The first investigation took place at Phil Kurchoff’s Haunted Hill House. You can read all about by following the link I shared above. The second investigation was at the Crazy Water Hotel. This historic venue is not open to the public and difficult to gain entrance…

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Catch Me on the Radio: Close to Death with Selena Roane

Radio Host: Selena Roane Tonight I’m going to be a guest on a really interesting paranormal radio show! The program is called Close to Death and it’s hosted by the fabulous Selena Roane. I met Selena at the 2014 Granbury Paranormal Expo, where she gave an excellent presentation on her journey as an empath and all the ups, downs, and confusion it has caused in her life. She also played one of the best EVP’s I have heard for the audience. (None of that indecipherable staticky stuff that people pass off as electronic voice phenomenon so often. This EVP was…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: Roses

What does a rosebud signify on a headstone? ROSE: Not only do roses represent earthly passion (just think how many are given at Valentine’s Day) but they also stand for heavenly perfection. When carved on a headstone, roses nearly always have 3 leaves. A quick look at my backyard rose bush confirmed that this is not botanically accurate! Symbolically, however, this trio of leaves represents the holy trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Rosebuds most often appear on the graves of children and teens as a way of expressing that they were not able to achieve their full potential. A…

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Lee Harvey Oswald’s Grave & the Mysterious Nick Beef

The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas, my fun travel guide to quirky, offbeat and overlooked places near Dallas and Fort Worth. Check it out if you enjoy learning quirky facts, or are looking for offbeat road trip ideas in north Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald Buried in Fort Worth, Texas Although his mother, Marguerite, requested for her son be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Lee Harvey Oswald’s final resting place is Shannon Rose Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas. Officials didn’t waste any time putting the infamous lone gunman into the ground, either: November 23, 1963 at 1:50 p.m. Oswald…

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1897 UFO Crash & Alien Body – Is this the Roswell of Texas?

Did a UFO Crash in Texas in 1897? The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas – my best-selling travel guide to quirky, offbeat and overlooked places near Dallas and Fort Worth. Check it out if you enjoy learning quirky facts, or are looking for offbeat road trip ideas in north Texas.   Back in 2012, I learned of a strange incident that allegedly occurred in Aurora, Texas. According to a newspaper article published by the Dallas News in April of 1897, a cigar-shaped object crashed in a farmer’s field, an alien body was found in the debris, and…

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