Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - I Am a Taphophile

I am a Taphophile. Perhaps even at a certifiable level. And as I look back on my life, I'm pretty certain this addiction was passed down from my dad. 

What is a Taphophile?

•A Taphophile is someone with a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries.
•Taphophilia involves epitaphs, photography, brass rubbing, art, and history of deaths.
•A Taphophile describes someone who travels to visit cemeteries for the enjoyment of looking at old and unusual stones.
•Taphophiles are usually more interested in the historical aspects of cemeteries or graves than they are in the people who are buried within.

Most Sunday afternoons, my dad and I hiked the woods along the base of the escarpment and always ended up in the  local cemetery. We would walk the rows of headstones and grave markers, take note of newly laid graves or large amounts of flowers that had been laid, usually signalling that a funeral had taken place in recent days. That was the start of a lifelong addiction.  

And I find as my interest in genealogy grows, my addiction deepens. One of my favourite indulgences when I go to Scotland each year is to take in different cemeteries. To some people, these cemeteries are creepy wee places. Full of horror, ghosts and maybe even the odd poltergeist. As I wander around them, I am in awe at the history laying beneath the earth. The names of major players in Scotland's history. Top scholars, fathers of free thinking, inventors, famous physicians, philosophers, poets, authors. Each cemetery is a history book.  

My addiction has expanded. I am not just using the gateway fixes of cemeteries anymore, but now include battlefields, memorials and even pre-historic cairns. The richer the history, the deeper I am hooked.

Any other taphophiles out there?  I have thought of starting a self help group. But how would we meet? In a cemetery? With a pen and scribbler? Cameras at the ready?









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