Graveyard Visit – Old First Cemetery

My second (and unfortunately final stop due to the rain) in Upton was the Old First Cemetery.  Established in 1735 near the site of the original meeting house, the graveyard is now up a dead-end street between some farms and a paintball course, just as the colonists would have wanted.

First off, some links – Findagrave; Macris; and the Farber Gravestone Collection.

Towns are not as permanent as we imagine.  The ‘gravity’ that draws people to certain spots fades or is overwhelmed by the pull of a stronger spot.  Graves, without human help, do not care about the vagaries of logistics, economics, rail roads, or urban development and stay put.  This leads to places like the Old First Cemetery in Upton, which once sat next to the heart of the community but now is in a forgotten, out-of-the-way corner.  While it is not the most poorly kept-up cemetery I have seen, it is definitely in need of some help.  Like with Bradish Cemetery, it was raining during my visit, necessitating speed on my part, causing some less than ideal quality photos.  My apologies.  Even under ideal conditions (when will I learn to have a light and mirror stored in the car?) the stones here would be a challenge.  Moss and lichen covers many stones; in some cases this is compounded by fallen leaves or even whole branches.  While a wall lines the yard, brush is encroaching the gravestones in several places, especially the southern portion where whole gravestones are all but buried in downed branches and knee-high growth.

Additionally there has been damage to a small but significant number of stones and I worry that vandalism or even theft has been going on.  While I could find the battered but intact stone for Rev. Fish, I couldn’t spot his wife Hannah’s (I didn’t double check since the rain really picked up by the end of my visit- to see both, click the link to the Farber database.)

As for sculptors, there are good number of those from James New, a several among the older stones a mix of winged skulls and abstract plant designes from Joseph Barber (in the somewhat overgrown section towards the back wall on the slope).  The most notable of these are the two portrait stones previously mentioned.  I believe at least the Rev’s stone appeared in Forbes “Gravestones and the Men Who Made Them”.  I’ll check my copy and update to confirm.

Hopefully the next time I come back this way it will not be raining (so I can finally explore the Upton Chamber) and someone will have begun to restore this historic graveyard.

Graveyard visit – Bradish Cemetery

With outside temperatures no longer conducive to the baking of bread, I figured I should continue my graveyard adventures.  Hoping to make multiple stops, I hied myself to Upton, Mass, a picturesque community in Southeastern Worcester County.

My first destination was Bradish Cemetery (aka Old North Cemetery), established 1771. (Findagrave listing; Macris Listing – click on INV to see record)

Unfortunately I arrived just as a rainstorm began so I had to dash from stone to stone, leading to some less-than-optimal photos.  Sorry about that.

It is a rather lovely and peaceful spot, set just off of Westboro Road, a few yards north of where it intersects North Street.  Parking is limited to a narrow strip off the road next to a few stones set to prevent further off-road driving.  As for the stones, there are a few soul effigies, mostly from James New and a goodly number of (unmarked) field stones.

(Next up, Upton’s Old Burying Ground)

Unspeakable Oath subscriber drive and more

As ever, as soon as I post some Lovecraftian RPG news, there’s even more to share…

  • The Good Friends of Jackson Elias have released their 7th episode, this time talking about how they discovered both Call of Cthulhu and Lovecraft himself.
  • NecronomiCon have opening up their (somewhat disappointingly small) gaming registration.  I’m running two games on Saturday the 24th.  Hopefully I can make time to play something on one of the other days…
  • ENnie Award Voting is still open through the 29th.  Vote now for the many wonderful Lovecraftian products of the past year.  If you don’t vote, you risk being eaten by a Yugg.
  • Shane Ivey at Arc Dream has announced a subscriber drive for the Unspeakable Oath.  I’m a big fan of the Oath (and not just because they publish my work) and hope that anyone reading this blog who isn’t already a subscriber to the Oath will become one.  Tell them ‘Tomes in Progress’ sent you.  Don’t make Hecubus angry.
  • Finally, I’ve just about wrapped up work on the Arkham Gazette.  Look for it very soon.

How do you say ‘Podcast’ in German? (Updated)

In case anyone was wondering why I’ve not posted any new graveyard photos, I’m happy to report that the current air temperature in my corner of Lovecraft Country has finally dropped below molten lead and I hope to post another soon.  Hopefully the stones have not melted.

ENies voting time is upon us again. There are a lot of great Lovecraftian books nominated this year; vote now, eh?

Arc Dream is having a sale on their One Roll Engine, Fate, and Savage World products in order to raise extra funds in advance of GenCon and NecronomiCon.  Let’s give Shane extra cash, eh?

In other news there are two more Lovecraftian podcasts to report-

First off, a reduced crew from the Miskatonic University Podcast (augmented by guest host Brian Sammons) picks over the bones of their recent discussion of Lovecraftian films and finds a lot more meat than you might expect.

Secondly, Paradroid (of the late, lamented ‘Paradroid Papers’ on Yog Radio) has interviewed Golden Goblin Press’ Oscar Rios.  The introduction is in German (about 45 seconds) but the remaining 18 minutes is in English and includes some tantalizing details about future GGP books.

(And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I publish this there’s another new podcast- the Good Friends of Jackson Elias have released another episode – number 7 – this time talking about how they got started in RPGs and Lovecraftian games in particular.)

(FYI – According to Google Translate, Podcast in German is… “Podcast”.  How disappointing.)

The Sense of the Sleight of Hand Man arrives

The Cover of tSotSoHM

I am happy to report that The Sense if the Sleight of Hand Man is now available, at least in PDF form.  As a contributor to the Kickstarter, I’ve had a chance to preview the book as it was coming together.  Perhaps I will find some free time to read it soon?  If you have any interest in the Dreamlands or in Dennis Detwiller’s writings, definitely pick it up.  (PDF, Print pre-order)

In other news, there is a new episode of the Good Friends of Jackson Elias podcast.  This time the potting shed crew talk about the revised chase rules from CoC 7th Ed.  Apparently it is “hot” in England right now.  Call me when you break 100, or umm… 37 degrees.

Graveyard visit – Old Revolutionary Burying Ground, Ashland

The homunculus otherwise engaged, I decided to venture a little further afield, and dropped by a small burying ground I had not yet seen, this time the Old Revolutionary Burying Ground (aka Simpson-Jones Burying Ground aka St. Cecilia’s Cemetery.  (Findagrave entry; no entries in Farber).

This small, mostly empty lot sits to the south of (the much more recent) St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church.  Established in 1771, this was the earliest burying place in what eventually became Ashland, Mass.  There are a few older stone, with a skull, a soul effigy, and several urns among them.  It is a pretty spot enclosed by a thick stone wall.  Not the most interesting graveyard I’ve visited, but they all can’t be thrill-a-minute, eh?

Look ma, more news!

Once again just as soon as I post a news update, more things occur in the world of Lovecraftian RPGs. Here are a couple of pieces to add onto the pile:

  • Chaosium has announced that Horror on the Orient Express 2nd Ed. has been delayed.  Number of people surprised: 0.  (I should add that I hope Mark Morrison isn’t beating himself up too much.  There is only so much one can do to put together a 345k book – well, books – including writing, playtesting, editing, etc. was assumed by just about everyone to be an impossible task.  I wish Chaosium had been more realistic about a release date, or kept the project to a more manageable size.)
  • There has been a new episode of the Good Friends of Jackson Elias, this time talking about their favorite horror TV shows.
  • My proof-reader has returned Arkham Gazette, issue 0 and apparently it was pretty well received.  I hope to have it available for download within a couple days; I still need to draw some maps…