If you were to describe yourself as a taphophile, you might get some weird looks. Simply put, taphophilia is the love of cemeteries. A taphophile may visit cemeteries and take pictures of the headstones, they may do grave rubbings, or research the deaths of famous people.
Some people find cemeteries to be sad, or maybe even spooky, but not me. As a taphophile myself, I find that there’s a certain peace in visiting cemeteries. For many of us, cemeteries will be our final resting place, so I want to be able to familiarize myself with my future groundmates. I also love the history involved in cemeteries. Everyone that’s buried has a story. Were they a local business owner? Maybe a state senator? Were they just an ordinary person? Through websites like findagrave.com, you can find obituaries of almost anyone in any given cemetery. I especially love older cemeteries, ones from the Victorian Era are my favorites, because graves tend to be more unique and full of symbolism. For example, if you see a grave that has a bale of wheat on it, it symbolizes that the person who died had a long life, much like how wheat must be reaped when it’s time for the harvest. The grave of an infant may have a lamb on it to symbolize youth, or perhaps that they were a lamb of God.
I, personally, enjoy photographing interesting headstones. I even have a blog dedicated to my photography. I also enjoy researching the cemeteries in Nebraska because they date from pre-Civil War to modern times. There’s so many interesting people buried in Nebraska cemeteries, some of them even have legends of hauntings! When the weather is nice, I’ll go out to Parkview Cemetery here in Hastings and walk around. Sometimes I take pictures, sometimes I go just to be alone, and sometimes I go to vent my frustrations. The dead are surprisingly good listeners.
So the next time you’re looking for something to do, why not visit your local cemetery? Who knows, maybe you’ll find somebody famous buried there.