For some strange reason, for as long as I can remember I have been keenly fascinated with older grave yards. Something about reading headstones and imagining the life of the person bellow based on their name, birthday and death day is oddly fun. Even more so, doing this at night is thrilling and chilling and satisfies my morbid curiosity. The inquisitive, rebellious nature in me is stimulated by the possibility of ghosts existing and me witnessing the supernatural realm and spiritual activity. However, the evening usually does not end in ghost sightings but more or less my friends and I psyching one another out by exaggerating what is more than likely nothing. There’s something about sneaking into a cemetery at night, somewhere I am probably not supposed to be, that is completely exhilarating and gives me such an adrenaline rush.
Like most of my summer nights, I sat in my bedroom staring at the off-white walls and pondered what to do with my newfound and also temporary freedom. No more homework, tests or deadlines for the next two months and I was dying to make my summer break somewhat interesting. On that particular day, I decided it would be the perfect evening for a midnight adventure with my friends, driving from decrepit graveyard to decrepit graveyard. It was a particularly hot-sticky night, as I remember very clearly my cousin repeatedly complained about the humidity and how muggy it felt, it was also a night that every mosquito seemed to be on a witch hunt, filled with vengeance and with the wrath of God himself because I don’t think I’ve ever had so many mosquito bites in my life. Amongst being covered in inflamed, miniature volcanic eruptions, I probably looked like I had some sort of strange disease.
My cousins and I drove to several different locations that were allegedly haunted and to no avail we were not spooked, frightened or satisfied with our so called ghost hunting expedition. We were eager to see something, anything. Like children anticipating Christmas or a birthday present we were too excited to roam this final graveyard. As we approached our last destination, a small and old overrun cemetery with perhaps no more than thirty graves and somber headstones etched with the names of deceased, I and four other girls entered the land of the dead.
Silently as possible, we tiptoe out of the van, quickly crossing the street to avoid any detection from neighbors and into the grave since it’s illegal to walk around a graveyard at night and also because we are scared out of our wits of ghosts and mainly of police officers. As I approach the cemetery I look around somewhat expecting it to resemble that of a horror film: Fog, howls of the wind, damp and cool air, normal things you may expect to see. However, instead I see grave markers dimly shadowed by the street lights, dead, dry grass that has not been tended to in a few weeks, I feel the muggy air stick to my skin, and I hear the crunch of the earth beneath my feet as I walk ahead.
We are at the edge of entering the grave, not even entirely inside the perimeter of the cemetery, when I hear a loud thud! My clumsy cousin, the perpetual complainer now has something else to complain over. Within a few minutes of leaving the car to enter the graveyard she has managed to trip over a boundary marker. Really, no one had the ability to control giggling at her as she gets up with mud and debris all over her pants and shoes. After the first debacle of my cousin tripping, we finally engage on the exploration of this doomed yard. Doing what one does when exploring graveyards, we turned on our flashlights and phone cameras like some amateur ghost hunters to read headstones and hopefully spot a ghost or orb. Waltzing around the front of the cemetery we investigate headstones from the early 1900’s. I read the headstones, truly fascinated by the lives that these people lived and all of the possibilities. None to impressed with the lack of ghosts or being scared we gravitate towards the back of the graveyard by the woodlands that take up the horizon, stretching as far as one can see the tall trees reach up to touch the sky, and dance with the light breeze.
Like all horror movies nothing good ever happens when entering the woods and my cousins and I are all aware of this, yet we trudge more into the darkness. As we aimlessly wander around the back of the cemetery I see two bright, white lights beaming in my direction, as well as a loud whoosh. Naturally everyone panics, thinking police officers are going to catch us and bodies begin ducking and diving to the ground. My cousin reminded me of a opossum. She was standing up straight one second, then lying on the ground, on top of someone’s grave with her hands curled up to her chest the next. It was quite the spectacle, I am almost positive that at that very moment my jaw dropped to the ground. I was flooded with several different thoughts at this instant. Now, I know that sneaking into a graveyard at night may not be the most honorable pastime to indulge in on but I really could not believe she curled up to a headstone. I was appalled, yet delighted, it was a beautiful disaster that you couldn’t help but take notice. I was at first bewildered by her opossum like instincts but then I couldn’t help laughing at her so hard that my stomach hurt, the kind of laugh where your muscles tighten and is slightly uncomfortable to laugh but you’re laughing and all is worth it to be in some discomfort from something so funny. She really looked like she was playing dead, in a graveyard…
Because thinking we were about to get caught by the police was not enough for us thrill seekers, we decided to examine a mausoleum. Before my friends and I stand this great, ornate, cement tomb, pillars support the heavy walls and roof, ivy and weeds climb the walls and the vault manages a mischievous look as if it were beckoning someone to come and explore it. To us, this all seemed like a completely valid and well thought out idea at the time. For whatever reason the wooden door to the mausoleum was able to open and naturally someone, anyone had to go inside. We could not have come this far for someone not to enter! Me being the stubborn and curious individual I am decided to try and go since no one else was volunteering to go in and also I really wanted to say I was inside a mausoleum.
I walked up to the door, I could feel my peers eyes intensely focused on me and my next move. It was no big deal, right? I can do this. Wrong. I mentally give myself a pep talk, ghosts don’t exist, and I am silly for thinking this. What’s the worst that could happen, getting trapped in the mausoleum? However any rational thoughts at this point have been thrown out of the window and it is certainly way too late to turn back now and I know that I would never hear the end of it if I didn’t follow through with the task. I swallow my pride; take a deep breath and continue onto what I believe will be the death of me. Normally, I am a relatively calm, level headed person and it takes quite a bit to rattle my nerves. However, now my heart felt like a pounding drum in a race. My hands dripped sweat, my mouth and lips are so dry and nerves had complete control of my stomach. I am dragging my feet now because I realize what a stupid idea I have delighted myself with. It seems like it has taken years to approach the door and suddenly I hear a loud creak and feel the wind on my arms and legs and feel the hair stand up. That’s enough for me, someone who despises running, to book it. I didn’t know what that noise was or where the wind came from but I was not sticking around to find out. Panting from running and body pumping with adrenaline I looked back, and I saw nothing. Not one thing out of the ordinary.