Thursday, July 08, 2010

Traveling Thursdays: Poltergeist...The REAL Story



I think cemeteries are great places to visit; you can honor the dead, learn some history, and with the older ones, appreciate the art of the tombstones. One of the saddest cemeteries to me is this one in Mission Hills. Formerly known as Calvary Cemetery, it became the victim of vandals back in the 1960’s. By the 1970’s, the city made the decision to remove all the tombstones, leave the bodies, and dump all the headstones into a ravine, save for a handful that were deemed historically significant. Hard to believe? Well, it’s true. If you visit the area today, it is called Pioneer Park and unsuspecting kiddies cavort over the bumpy terrain. Yes...bumpy. Just like something out of the movie “Poltergeist.”



Here you can see at the very back of the park are the remaining headstones; I would have loved to have heard the City of San Diego playing “eenie-meenie-minie-moe” as they attempted to determine which tombstones to keep and which ones to remove.



A marker was placed in the ground with the names of all those buried below; I guarantee you that the majority of people who use this area don’t even notice this marker...and even if they do, probably don't realize what it means. “I play over dead people!”



Here are a few creepy shots I took the other night:





Fortunately, my great-grandfather’s headstone was rescued at the last minute from the dump and is now at the Lemon Grove Historical Society Museum.



The City of San Diego’s justification was that all the families were notified. Bull#$%^. I’d like to think that something like this wouldn’t happen today...

For more cemetery photos, visit my regular website.

11 comments:

Connie Moreno said...

Oh my god! What a great post, on so many levels!!! I too, love visiting cemetaries. (Glad you understand, LOL) I love taking pictures there, too. What a shame about this place. I want to go visit!!! I love your photos. I have to tell you a story about an old cemetary in Riverside, CA. It had been abandoned for quite a while and the historical society was trying to clean it up and protect it from vandals, etc. You know how long these projects take, especially when they depend on donations from the public. Well, at the time, I didn't know all of this was going on, I just thought "Oooh creepy place - I must explore!"

So there I am walking around when all of a sudden, in my head, I heard STOP!.. I stopped and looked around and right next to me was a tombstone so I read it - nothing spectacular until I noticed the date he died: 2-7-1907. Then it dawned on me that I was standing there EXACTLY 100 years to the day that he died. I got chills. I even spoke out loud and said "OK, you've got my attention, now what"? Luckily, I got no response!

Davelandweb said...

Wow Connie - THAT is very cool. So far, I haven't heard any voices at Calvary Cemetery....but the bumps in the ground are creepy enough!

Major Pepperidge said...

I went to a cemetary in the town where my dad and his family lived, and there was a tombstone with MY name on it, only the person died in the 1930's. Turned out to be a distant relative who died in childhood. I didn't have a camera with me, unfortunately.

thepicklebarrel said...

whoa! that's a neat story! definitely 'poltergeistey'!

thanks, dave!

pixiegirltink said...

Dave, you are the best! I'm so glad I know you. :) What a great post. I wonder if Ken Kramer knows about this?

btw, did you notice Elizabeth Taylor is on that mass gravestone?

~ Lannie

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

Great post! I didn't realize you were San Diego based? I've always loved to take the kiddies to this park and tell them the history of it.

It's unfortunate what happened here, and these things seem to happen to cemeteries everywhere.

Do you know about the cemetery that's under I-5 at Old Town San Diego? They moved only two bodies before constructing the freeway. These were military personnel, so I suppose they were more worthy of respect in the mind of the city.

I see the name of Sonka on your great grandfather's stone. I used to play with a little girl named Kimi Sonka (think her name was really Kimberly) when I lived over by San Diego State. It's not a common name...any relation to you?

TokyoMagic! said...

My hometown has a park that used to be a cemetary as well. The park also has a similar marker with everyone's name on it. Most of the headstones were saved and have been moved around over the years. They are currently in storage. It's kind of sad they couldn't have just stayed where they were!

By the way, I want to be cremated!

MIKE COZART said...

Dave:

Looks like this is a common event in San Diego! In Old Town, two blocks South of the Whaley House on San Diego Avenue, is EL CAMPO CEMETERY built in 1849. This graveyard ALSO had most of it's markers and headstones removed and the bodies left burried! The first time was in 1889 to place a horse-drawn streetcar line right-of-way. Over the years, homes and businesses and streets and sidewalks covered up most of the unmarked bodies. You can still visit the remaining "stones" today. One of it's remaining guests is that of "Yankee Jim" the first recorded resident ghost of the Whaley House, who was hanged on the same property house was built! (on the site of the former town gallows!) I wonder how many people eating and shopping know there are 19th Century citizens below them!!

Davelandweb said...

Major - you need to go back and get a photo of that! Lannie - No - I can't believe I never noticed Liz was there! Ha! Robin's - If I'm related to Kimi, it would be very distantly; I don't know her. Thanks for the info on the other cemetery - hadn't heard that one. Mike - that really boggles my mind that the city could do that...well, if they could let Casa Bandini leave Old Town, then I guess paving over a cemetery shouldn't amaze me!

Donnie said...

Awesome post/ creepy story...

Howard hughes is buried here in Houston and I have visited his grave a few times.

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

Per the Whaley House in Old Town...the Whaley's 18 month old son, Thomas Jr., who died of scarlet fever and supposedly haunts the house (but I worked there for 5 years and don't believe that) is buried under Interstate 5 adjacent to Old Town.

Per El Campo Santo cemetery in Old Town a block away from the Whaley House...the persons buried under the street and sidewalks are marked by little metal discs embedded in the concrete and asphalt. There are houses built over parts of the old cemetery, so I wonder if the residents have had weird occurences.