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Touring cemeteries without pissing off the locals

One hobby that many Goths like to indulge in is visiting Gothic, historical or otherwise interesting cemeteries, and I am sure there are as many reasons for wanting to do so as there are Goths doing the rounds. Stripy Tights and Dark Delights looks into this in more detail here.

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While the graveyard has infinite appeal to those of a Gothy persuasion, I would hope that we are all also very aware of the fact that the cemetery is of course the final resting place for others, and as such, deserves to be treated with the appropriate amount of gravitas and respect.
There have been several incidents when the vicar/priest/resident God bod in charge has taken offence to the presence of Goths in the graveyard, sometimes out of principle but other times, for very good reasons. St. Mary’s in Whitby is one particular bone of contention, after the vicar got fed up with practically tripping over Goths lounging on tombs every time he walked the paths.
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Added to this of course there is the consideration that whatever graveyard you choose, it may either have a lot of local historical significance (for older cemeteries) or be the resting place of the loved ones of locals who are still very much alive.
So with this in mind, I offer up the following tips on how to visit cemeteries respectfully, and without pissing off the locals.The Everyday Goth has written a related set of guidelines too, which is also worth a look.
Don’t mess with the gravestones
You really shouldn’t need to be told this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Don’t lie or sit on anyone’s grave, don’t take funny selfies hugging head stones, and don’t walk over obvious graves. Do not piss around with floral arrangements or ornaments, and bear in mind that some of the older and more interesting headstones may be fragile, so avoid touching anything that looks like it might break.
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Be respectful
Don’t yell, run around or generally treat the cemetery as an amusement park, or you can, and will, bring the wrath of the locals and people responsible for the cemetery down on your head, and you’ll richly deserve it.
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NO.
Don’t take anything from the graveyard
Pictures excepted, obviously, and be speculative about how you take them; do not include other people that are not with you in the shots, however artistic they might be, and do not snap away right next to a group of mourners.
Never take flowers or ornaments or anything else from a grave; this is theft, y’all, as well as really skeevy, and if you do this, you richly deserve to be haunted.
Don’t leave anything behind
Take any mess with you! Don’t drop litter or crap in the graveyard, because honestly, what kind of animal are you?!
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Keep away from other visitors
Depending on when you visit, there are likely to be mourners visiting graves, or even potentially a funeral going on. Keep a respectful distance from all of them, even if you’re jonesing to get up to the grave right by them. When you pass other people on the paths, nod or smile respectfully, but don’t expect anyone to strike up a convo with you.
Be polite if approached
There is always the chance that the cemetery management (is there a name for this?!) or staff from any associated place of worship might come and ask you what you are doing if you are clearly not there to pay your respects to one individual grave. How likely this is to happen depends on a range of variables, including how well trafficked the cemetery is in general, how you’re coming across, and the personality of the person in charge.
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This guy is probably not the actual vicar.
Always be polite, answer their questions if they ask what you are doing, and follow any directions that they give to you. If you are asked to leave but have not been doing anything wrong, it is ok to ask why and to discuss this further, but if push comes to shove, be prepared to leave in good grace, and if you wish to, take the matter up formally later.

Lady Gothique
Lady Gothique
The gal who runs www.gothicangelclothing.co.uk.

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