Call me a Tombstone Tourist

Call me a Tombstone Tourist

One of my favorite sayings in life is “You learn something new every day.” And for the most part I find this to be true. I especially love days when I learn new words, and today is one of those days. The new word: “taphophile.”

A taphophile is an individual who has a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries, epitaphs, gravestone rubbing, photography, art, and history of deaths.

I never knew there was a word to describe my lifelong fascination with cemeteries and gravestones. Or my tendency to lose numerous hours reading about unusual and historical deaths. Or why I always make a point to visit cemeteries in every old and historical place I visit, like New Orleans and Boston.

I've been known to spend a couple happy hours wandering around Forest Hill Cemetery in Anoka, MN, looking for Instagram-worthy photo ops. It's a perfect way to spend a fall morning.

My taphophilia provides endless inspiration for my writing as well. My books explore how trauma and death in the past can impact people in the present. The idea of an afterlife also intrigues me. What happens to a person’s spiritual energy when they die? 

Not that I expect I’ll be able to offer any real answers; humans have been trying to solve that mystery for as long as humans have been around. Still there’s no solid answer. All we can do is guess. And create stories.

Fortunately we have a way to remember those we’ve lost: our cemeteries. And the taphophiles who do their part to keep history alive.

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