1278 Graves.

My screwdrivers didn’t arrive today, so the guitar controller remains with a stuck yellow key. I have no data on how this is affecting the teen. Perhaps not at all… She seemed to be having fun in drama class today, so maybe playing at rock stardom has taken a backseat. Time will tell.

The Hiveworks tech helped me update my wordpress today. Whenever I try to update it something always goes wrong, so I just let them do it now. The dashboard looks weird, but I think I recognizer it well enough to get this page posted. A page that ends in something of a cliffhanger. This series of events is based on my real life experiences. (As are many of the events in the comic…) Stumbling upon random graves in what appears to be an empty field is not uncommon, based on my adventures. Apparently people will plant their dead wherever is handy if the situation is dire, or perhaps they don’t particularly care, either way random graveyards pepper the Midwest for whatever reason. How a person reacts to finding one depends on the factors of their life and culture. This little section deals, if not primarily at least partially, with how these two react.

My mother has always been interested in history and geneology, so I spent a lot of time as a kid wandering around graveyards with her. It may sound odd, but those are happy memories for me. I liked going on adventures with my mother and sister. I was also interested in the untold stories of all the people we walked over. It all must have played a part in my fascination with the paranormal. The lore of a culture can tell you a lot about it. At least as much as how they treat their dead. American culture, for example, is basically a doomsday cult. It’s not as destructive as some, but the basic premise is the same. The dead are waiting for a day when they wake up and everything gets peachy. A graveyard is basically a little collection of ellipses. “here lies such and such, committed to the earth until…” A collection of hopeful pauses waiting for a story that wants continuing.


Based on my experience, with teenage girls every class is drama class so you might want to batten down the hatches there in advance of everything going pear-shaped.

I think that the culture involved in the funerary practice in America stems from the fact we have so much land space (especially in the Midwest) that ‘everyone deserves’ their own hole in the ground. Compare that with the ossuaries in Paris. I’m sure at some point they had the same mentality, but time, water table, limestone mines, and plague made them dump the dead in huge crypts until the bodies are nothing but bone, then work them into a gigantic monument top Parisian dead.

It’s interesting the differences between local and foreign treatment of the dead. But one thing is pretty common among all cultures. That is the job of the survivors to honor their loved ones. Unfortunately there are times where there are no survivors. They’re the true tragic stories, left to untended graves and all but forgotten.

Compass, a show in Australia, just did a series of shows about funerals and burial rites in various regions and religions. Very fascinating watch if you can find it.

I’ve visited the catacombs in Paris and the attached ossuaries. They are as awesome and as creepy as you’d think they’d be. The sheer quantity of remains of bones is kind of amazing, 5 feet high and 20 feet long walls made of femurs to hold piles of loose bones. Dozens of alcoves, some with designs in the retaining wall (done with bones) all of them marked with where and when the remains were taken from. It’s very respectful to the dead despite the lack of room in the city proper for the remains.

I’m not the kind of guy into the macabre but the entire thing was very cool.

“I think that the culture involved in the funerary practice in America stems from the fact we have so much land space (especially in the Midwest) that ‘everyone deserves’ their own hole in the ground.”

Man, when I die PLEASE just dig a puka in the ground and throw me in. No coffin, no nothin’. I wanna be worm food, lol!!!

Because I volunteered at the cemetery a couple times, and one of the stories a worker was telling about moving remains from a long buried coffin to a newer one is seared into my brain.

My family, at least on my bastard father’s side, has been buried in such out of the way plots. After the civil war and through WWII it was common to have such burial grounds as you didn’t gave time to bury them near a church (decomposition happened a lot quicker back then before formaldehyde was invented).

It isn’t just in the Midwest. In the South, family cemeteries are about as plentiful in quantity as church cemeteries, and far more than “public” ones; while not widely used now, in some cases they still get residents. My wife’s family has been across the state of Georgia, and prior to WW2, most of the people we can find the gravesites for are buried in small family cemeteries tucked in where they’re difficult to find. I know a few subdivisions in the metro Atlanta region that have had to be re-planned because of unmarked cemetery discoveries.

As for the comic, I can’t imagine that Jo would be too freaked about having been making out in a cemetery; after all, she’s one of the ghost hunters, isn’t she? Heck, it might as easily be a turn on for her.

For some reason, today’s was a particularly good strip; memento mori, and all that.

There are a lot of uncharted burials here in New England, too. It’s getting to be like Merrie Olde England: you can’t put in a garden without digging up someone’s bones. Some of the burial sites are marked, some either had wooden markers or the stones have vanished. A friend’s neighbor was putting in a new well, when he discovered a Colonial-era family plot. The State Anthropologist (yeah, Connecticut has one) found six old graves from around 1700 (that town was founded in 1702). The worst thing was, dude was trying to put in a well; better put that somewhere else.

Regarding your screwdrivers: we are told that only 1% or 2% of our DNA separates Humans from Chimpanzees. We know it’s more than that; a Chimp says,

“Must have tool.”

A Human says,

“Must have right tool.”

Yup, it can be a fun diversion to run across these and try to read them. (Limestone doesn’t seem like the best choice for permanent markers but that’s what was to hand around here in the olden days)

Also fun and occasionally sad are all the abandoned family(s) churches everywhere. Many towns have died and been eaten by the lush plant life around here so its not unusual to stumble onto graves, churches, random old stone construction and railroads that appear and disappear after a few feet into a forest or something. A tip off to finding old home foundations hidden in the trees/weeds is finding mints and plants that probably escaped from a garden plot a long time ago. Or once a giant chunk of coal in the middle of nowhere was a clue.

Anyway the love the way you do slice of life. Always a favorite category of mine and you do it right!

I feel like you’re pulling a wallie wood and jessie’s hat is getting slightly bigger every time she appears in this particular outfit.

I don’t understand the reference, but hats and hair do tend to get more extravagant the longer I draw them.

wally wood was an artist for DC comics. He was the first artist to draw Power girl in her opening appearance in all star comics (#58?) and so as the story goes, he wanted to see how long it would take for the DC editors to notice that he would draw her breasts increasingly bigger with every issue. not like a cup size an issue obviously, but just a little increase every issue. Supposedly it took the editors 11 issues to finally notice and tell him to knock it off. So today this is thought to be one of the reasons that she officially has the largest breasts of any super-heroine in the DC universe.

Sounds like someone just needed a story after the fact to me. XD I just get more comfortable with a hat (and a lot of things) the more I draw it and start to unconsciously alter it to suit my purposes.

Really like your doomsday observation. Do you think that mentality is a particularly American thing or more applicable to ostensibly christian societies in general?

I think it’s built in to all versions of Christianity, but I can’t speak to any non American flavors of it. I assume it must be part of Islam and Judaism as well, but m not familiar enough with either to state that with confidence.

Out here in Nebraska, you’ll find random gravesites out here for two reasons:

1. As someone mentioned before, there were hundreds of little towns that tried to pop up as the Wild West was settled. Churches built here and there, and then people buried next to them. However, as the railroad evolved and automobiles/gas-powered machinery started ruling the day, these towns were abandoned as people moved away to larger cities for more work, and farmers bought out the empty land. So these abandoned towns rotted away until there’s very little left that civilization was even there in that prairie. Save the gravestones that people didn’t take with them when they left.

2. People crossing the Great Plains to go to the West Coast for the gold rush or to avoid religious prosecution formed wagon trains. A lot of people died on the way across. Some Mormon and richer folks brought stone along just for this reason – to have a headstone for the dead if they had to bury them in the middle of nowhere. My dad’s pasture had four of them belonging to a group of Mormon settlers. We never did find any future family that would want to know about them, although we left messages all over geneology sites in case someone’s looking for a few Smiths that never made the crossing.

The funny thing is that out of everything left of that era, the only thing that survived was the one thing that marks the death of people. Imagine in the future, if humanity dies out and aliens come along, what they’ll find. Other than decaying cities, they’ll find rows on rows of markers preserving the memory of the dead long past over centuries. Our civilization will mostly be remembered by the headstones of dead people.

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