……..and still an everlasting funeral marches around your heart.- The Crucible
John Proctor for the record was not talking about his wife Elizabeth being a Taphohphile ( a person who likes cemeteries) in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible . The Crucible is a work of historical fiction based on the real events of the Salem Witch Trials. I would like to think that if Elizabeth Proctor were alive in 2021 she might be badass lady who still wouldn’t put up with her husband’s tomfoolery, and might also visit graveyards for fun. We can pretend it at least today for the quote’s sake and historical fiction’s sake? I might just love the quote and it aligns with 1.) My recent trip to Salem 2.) My love of the Crucible and voracious appetite for history involving the Salem Witch Trials 3.) My dark little heart and my bucket list of Cemeteries to visit before I die.
I was able to get away to Salem Mass for few days at the end of September with one of my closest friends, and by far the most enjoyable for me moments were the ones spent at Old Burial Hill in Marblehead ( a check off my bucket list) just a few minutes from the town of Salem.
Old Burial Hill Cemetery is one of the oldest in New England, founded in 1638. It also the resting place for Wilmot Redd, one of the accused during the Salem Witch Trials. There are numerous Puritan headstones, which are truly an obsession of mine. Headstones often depict a Death effigy, which is a skull with wings. The soul effigy is a human face with wings. Puritans embraced realistic imagery in the design of the gravestones, moving away from the Catholic Iconography and more Baroque designs that were popular in England. Art on graves was one of the only places they allowed themselves to be exposed to art and created art, considering much art idolatry. I for one am glad they leaned all the way in when designing death art. I think it’s beautiful. I also found my favorite design, which is the skeleton holding the sun and moon. She is surrounded by the snake eating it’s own tail, and also features bats at the bottom which probably depict Hell, and above features the flight to heaven with the wings.
In walking around Burial Hill I found myself feeling so small. Surrounded by graves of folks that haven’t walked the earth in three hundred years felt humbling. It made me think how tiny our time is here, how fleeting. Memento Mori. I too will die. I love a place where introspection and history meet quietly in my heart. It’s a great time.
I did shoot some film but still have to get it developed. I shot more on my phone anyway. All images are shot on my iPhone 12 and over edited in various apps. Hipstamatic, RNI Aero, A Color Story. It felt right.
Until we meet again,