A Grave Fear

“It’s the safest place in the world to be.” So often I hear this when it comes to the reference of cemeteries. Why? People always tell me it’s because the dead are not a part of the living any longer and it’s impossible for them to inflict harm to anyone. Then why is there such terror in the hearts of the individuals who suffer from coimetrophobia? Hmm… good question!

Coimetrophobia is the fear of cemeteries. Those who live with this phobia say that when they are in or around cemeteries, they experience shortness of breath, bodily shakes and breaking out in a sweat, just to name a few. More severe cases even experience heart palpitations and a sense of temporary paralyzation, preventing the sufferer to move. In fact, some people are so terrified by cemeteries that they avoid them all together.

Now, this is not a fear that has manifested itself only in recent years. It actually has been around for quite some time. Fear of the dead rising due to superstitious lore has plagued mankind throughout the ages. It has given birth to such creatures like zombies, vampires and other similar beings. And thanks to Hollywood, such frightening legends have been given a form of life across the silver screen. I, myself enjoy a hair-raising tale. I believe it keeps the blood pumping and the senses intact.

I personally do not have a fear of cemeteries. However, one night when I was much younger and while out with some friends, we went to an old church and cemetery that were way out in the middle of the countryside on an old gravelly road. The night was solemn as the moonlight shined on the top of each grave. We all walked among the headstones in search of anything that had the potential to frighten a bunch of teen girls. Nothing out of the ordinary was seen that I can recall, except for a small red glow viewable through the church’s window. Keep in mind that this church was not hooked up to any electricity. It even had an outhouse located at the back of its property. So, how was it possible to see the red light inside an old structure with graves dated back from the late 1800s?

We never investigated it, nor did any research relating to the site. We decided to keep our distance and leave it alone. But to think of that night still ponders me to this day.

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~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter @sheilarparker

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14 thoughts on “A Grave Fear

  1. I personally love cemeteries. I find them quite peaceful. 🙂 In fact, when I was in high school, I used to ride my bike to the town cemetery and just sit among the graves in an older part of the property. Most of the graves there dated back to the late-1700s and early-1800s. At that time, I dealt with being bullied, and I honestly preferred the company of those departed souls to my flesh and blood classmates.

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  2. Creepy stuff, Sheila. I’m not sure if I would have gone up to the Church and tried opening the door. Had it opened, I would have probably ran a mile!

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  3. When my daughter died the last 2 years, graveyard has been a place of comfort for me. We love to go there for the place itself is peaceful and it is one of the beautiful graveyard in this area as it is nearing the forest. When the sun comes and shine on the place it is terrific. And when evening comes, there were lots of candles were burning there as well.

    But there are spirits there as my husband told me that a few times when he went to visit our baby girl’s grave, he felt there are many people surrounding him and even after he get into the car to drive home after. He love also to do walking at the nearby forest and he told me that he saw shadows following him too, until her return to the car.

    He was not frightened, he said, but he felt uncomfortable because the energy is not that positive. He felt like there were this sort of coldness crawling on his skin.

    Creepy at the same time, indeed.

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      • I am still struggling with this, Sheila. It is not an easy battle and it is a day-by-day battle. But I know I must manage this as my family needs me in this heavy time. You know, we are blessed in so many ways as on the same month when our Amanda passed away, I was pregnant. And now, my baby boy is a year old and he is such a beautiful angel that came into our lives that heals our heart away. I know I am blessed as I have all of my wonderful children and a husband who hold me and keep me strong along this journey together.

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  4. Hmm. But is it “impossible for them to inflict harm”? On a scorching hot summer afternoon I tagged along with someone who loved to visit old cemeteries to read the inscriptions off the old weathered stones. This was on Martha’s Vineyard – an island off Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The island had been colonized early so some of the stones dated back to the 1700s and 1800s. A lot of the men died at sea, and a lot of the women died in childbirth. I was standing at one family plot. One stone was for the sea captain, and 5 stones were for his wives, all of whom died in childbirth except the last. I made some flip, sarcastic remark to my friend and immediately the end of my tongue was stung, it felt like by a bee, or maybe from an electric shock. I quickly and profusely apologized. The pain ebbed after a minute or two, and there were no visible or lasting effects. But it was the last smart-aleck remark I ever made in a cemetery. True story.

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  5. I have no fear of cemeteries, they strike me as tranquil and reflective places. We even used to spend evenings in one when we were kids.
    As for people with a phobia of them, I wouldn’t have thought that would be much of a problem, after all, it’s not as if visiting a cemetery is a normal everyday activity. How often (and why, for that matter) are these phobics putting themselves through such a fearful experience?
    I’d have to assume that, if you suffer from the phobia, you probably would not have your loved ones interred in such a place anyway, would you?

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