Shrewsbury is the home to eight cemeteries, including three dating from before 1800. The most obscure of these older burial spots is South Cemetery (aka Grove Street Burial Ground). Now located in a residential neighborhood just slightly south of Route 9, the stones here are in generally poor condition, probably due to a combination of age, stone nature (i.e. marble), and neglect. While there are not any particularly interesting stones, the grounds are interesting, with a large pair of crypts built into the hillside. The hill top is covered in a thick layer of moss and spongy plant life, causing your feet to sink more than one might expect. In a cemetery, this is never a welcome sensation.
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.)
Having some free time, I paid a visit to Auburn Cemetery (aka Auburn Center Burial Ground) in Auburn, MA. Established in 1777 it is the second oldest burial site in Auburn (after the Cudworth Family Burial Ground c. 1750; that graveyard has only a 20th century marker however). There are a nice collection of stones created by William Young as well as an unusual portrait stone by James New.
Unfortunately, I arrived while a grounds crew from the city of Auburn was mowing the grass and cleaning the grounds so, even when I wasn’t in their way, many of the stones were coated in grass clippings. Combined with intermittent rainfall coloring the stones meant that the quality of the photos is not very good. There are more stones of interest to photograph but it just wasn’t to be, today at least.
I did have a lovely chat with the director of the grounds crew about the cemetery and his hope to find funding to have some repair work done. They do have a grant to repair their Civil War monument in Hillside Cemetery, so perhaps there is hope? I always like to see a cemetery that is well-kept (and to thank the people who care for them).
As summer approaches my corner of Lovecraft Country, free time fades like the bloom on my daffodils (what, I can’t talk about Lovecraft, colonial graveyards, AND flowers?). Nevertheless, I wanted to pass on a few items that might be of interest to my small cadre of readers.
- The gents at 314 Games have let me know that some reviews have come in for Central de Maquineria Jarkov-37 and they are positive… assuming that I passed my R/W Spanish roll (current skill level 4%), of course. Here’s a video review (he’s wearing a Red Army hat) and a text one, where it looks like the book tied for Best CoC product of 2012. ¡Excellente!
- In Kickstarter news, Golden Goblin Press’ Island of Ignorance has reached it’s funding goal and is creeping upwards while HP Podcraft’s “Live in Providence” project, which reached in initial goals weeks ago, will close up in a little over 40 hours. I kind of hope the later somehow his $8000 so they’ll do an audio production of “The Yellow Wallpaper” but that’s not looking too likely at this point. C’est dommage.
- The gang at the Miskatonic University Podcast released a new episode… now almost 10 days ago… guest hosted by Brian Sammons who talks about Atomic-Age Cthulhu and House of R’lyeh, among other topics.
- I’m still at work on the demo issue of the Arkham Gazette. I hope to have it wrapped up by the end of the month, ideally sooner.
- I’ve had the time to do a few more visits to smaller graveyards and will post about those as life permits.
- Speaking of graveyards- I finished my map of Franklin County’s graveyards. Check it out.
Perhaps I should wrap up with a quick survey of my current Lovecraftian projects?
- A “Mysterious Manuscript” submission for the Unspeakable Oath.
- Another article for the Unspeakable Oath.
- Large, unannounced project of which I cannot speak in slow development.
- A booklet for Necronomicon of which I shall speak more on later.
- A scenario and article for a publisher I’ve not worked with before, due by the end of July.
- Weekly attempts to prod various parties into releasing the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion at long damn last.
I should go and actually get to work on that list. Until later…
We’ve had some nice developments in the land of Cthulhu. Aside from my receipt of Bumps in the Night a couple days back, I’ve also had an update from Dennis Detwiller regarding The Sense of the Sleight of Hand Mancampaign (including a little preview, woooo) Kickstarter project. Looks to be shaping up very well.
Finally, Shane Ivey has posted the audio recording of the Delta Green seminar at GenCon this year. Give it a listen, here.
Outside of gaming, I have also learned a bit more about a more obscure burial site in Worcester County, this time the Baptist Church at Harvard at Still River. Looks like one of the stones is legit (or the late Deacon William Willard, d. 1793) but the other two are discarded stones found in secondary use near to the church. My thanks to the Harvard Historical Society for the information. (Oh, and I’ve finished a preliminary survey of Middlesex Co. graveyards on my Graveyards page; Norfolk County is up next.)
All that, plus it is once again apple picking season here in Lovecraft Country so I’m happily saited with cider and fine varietals. Yum.
[[“At this point I’ve not found an interested publisher (and don’t want to go the monograph route), so I might self publish as a PDF, look at other licensees, etc. I’m curious what my readership (all 6 of you) think about such a book.”]]
I can’t speak authoritatively for the commercial viability of the book if it is going to be geared specifically to the CoC community. Certainly there will be interested rpg enthusiasts out there — myself included — but I don’t know if you will recoup your investment of time and capital if that’s important to you. On the other hand, there ARE presses interested in just this “local interest” sort of thing (I can think of Rutgers University’s books on New Jersey history, for example) that might be able to market it to a more generalized audience if you’re willing to go that route. The fact that you’re doing the research, fieldwork and taking photographs might go some way towards engaging a small press that specializes in local history.
If it is to be principally a labor of love rather than a commercial venture, I’d say go ahead with it. I, for one, would be a customer.
I guess I should clarify. I’m working on two parallel projects, one a visitor’s guide to graveyards (at the present time limited to Worcester County, Mass), the other an RPG project covering graveyards (and funeral practices, gravestones, etc.) focused on Lovecraft Country. The later would literally be a monograph, tightly focused on a single topic in depth, but I would rather hold onto some control of the book rather than sell it to Chaosium for $250. I’m not sure how I’d like to proceed with this project, but I figured I could float a trial balloon here.
The other book, the non-RPG one, would hopefully be of interest to local historians. Someone published a similar book for Cape Cod and the Islands in the early 1980s; hopefully a similar project would be of some interest.
Bits and pieces of small news that, when gathered together, merit a post I suppose.
- Second time was the charm for Christoforo, it would seem, as Mr. Phinney was able to raise over $10,000, well over his goal. I look forward to getting my copy when the font is ready.
- Meanwhile I am still awaiting the last of our proof-reading for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion. I’ve had a pair of drop-outs to the effort (drop outs for good cause, of course) and their work has been taken up by others. Hopefully we’ll have the last sections at hand soon and, once their carefully read corrections have been applied, we can finally release the Beast.
I’ve made some updates to my page about New England graveyards; I’ve expanded my notes about resources as well as visited a few new sites, including the hard to find Elliot Hill Burying Ground, and a supposedly haunted cemetery in Leicester, MA. Elliot Hill wasn’t all that exciting, though there were two stones from William Young. At the later location the most dangerous thing I spotted was a tick. Wooooooo! (Please people, can we not let the gossip of inebriated teens be the basis for our ghost stories? Only an idiot, or someone drunk on aftershave and root beer schnapps, would imagine a Quaker Cemetery is a secret gate to hell).
- I’ve made a few interesting finds at the bookstore, used and otherwise. Titles include Roadside Geology of Massachusetts, New England’s Visitor’s from Space, and a 1919 High School yearbook. If I have some time I’ll post a few listing from the students’ entries naming their favorite drinks… sulfur and molasses, anyone?