Peaceful and solitude are just two of the words that come to mind when thinking of Chicago's Graceland Cemetery. My fascination with cemeteries began at college in the Indiana University Religious Studies program and has only grown as my interest and skill in photography have developed. In a class of prospective new Religious Studied majors in about 1987, I can remember an interesting discussion that somehow veered off-track to the idea of cemetery walls and their purpose. Each member of the small group gave their impressions and the general consensus was the walls of a cemetery exist to protect the sacred grounds from unwanted incidences during off hours. Vandalism and littering by drunken teenagers, homeless setting up camp and drug dealing were just some of the possibilities mentioned. Although I agreed with this in modern practice, I proposed another possibility on the origin of the walls. Initially, hundreds or thousands of years ago, the walls were not constructed to keep unwanted visitors out, but to keep the unwelcome (and unnerving) post-organic visitations by some of “them” in.
Here are a few select moments during my recent trip back to Graceland Cemetery, Chicago IL.