Sunday, October 30, 2005

Talking Tombstones

The Clatsop Historical Society did its second annual Talking Tombstones event today at the Ocean View Cemetery, and it's a real hoot. Despite massive confusion on the when/where aspect, by the time we got there near 4 PM (it started at 3), there was a long line of people waiting to enter.

There were ten "ghosts" stationed around the cemetery by their respective tombstones. Each "ghost," dressed in 1800's garb, would tell their life story as the group stood around the tombstone. When one story was done, the group would move on to the next "ghost." The stories were informative, funny, and often wistful. Some characters used notes, but the best were improvised lively narratives culled from known historical facts about the person.

I had to feel sorry for the actors playing the characters. I don't know how long they had to stay out there and constantly tell their stories, but the weather was positively gothic. Grey, gloomy, and chilly, with smatterings of misty rain. I felt as though I had been plopped into a British horror movie from the '60's.

The Grim Reaper roamed around in his flowing black robes, having a grand old time. As the "ghosts" told their stories, the delighted/scared shrieks of small children could be heard in the background as the Reaper would scare their pants off and send them running to grab their parents' legs.

Several people brought their dogs. I swear, in Astoria, people bring their dogs to the damndest events. Not a problem, I suppose, except for the grounds-keepers, who will be busy cleaning off the crapped-on markers I saw probably until next Halloween. But it did add to the whole bizarreness of the event to have dogs and children romping around through the tombstones.

Congratulations to the Clatsop County Historical Society ( All in all, a very interesting, creative affair, and I'm really looking forward to going again next year!

Astoria Photografpix

1 comment:

nootka said...

Loved the description of Grimmy...he's the coolest!