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Behind Every Cloud is a Kindred Spirit (BECKS)I lost my grandfather when I was 17. I had a VERY difficult time getting over it. How could I still communicate with him? I loved him so much I didn't think I could live without him. I read everything I could get my hands on to do with the "afterlife" and that started it all...the love of Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal. I have been researching the paranormal for over 37 years!! It is my way of staying in touch with my grandfather. Being a Ghost Hunter is not always as exciting as it seems on TV. Many nights I have sat in the dark and not a thing happened. BUT it is those times you DO get that one voice, that one explainable picture or have an experience that sends chills down your back that makes it sooo worth it all!!! My purpose of this blog is not to make people believe in ghosts but maybe to open their minds just a little bit... I LOVE this crazy thing called Ghost Hunting. It is as much a part of me as breathing. I am just a girl that refuses to accept we can't still contact our loved ones after they die. My grandfather won't let me.



As I am writing this post I get the word about the bomb at the Ariana Grande concert so I would like to send all my love and support to all those that were affected by last night's devastating bombing in England.  Many angels coming your way.

It's long, sometimes made of wood, sometimes made of metal.  Only one person at a time can get in it (normally) and it is NEVER re-used.  Any guesses???  Well if you said casket you are RIGHT!!!  So, lets talk about caskets!!!  Creepy right!!!!!

So, if you have been ghost hunting very long, more than likely you have ended up at a scary old cemetery!  Well, at least I hope you have.  I love cemeteries.  Lots of ghost hunters will say that a cemetery is the least active place because the spirit does not rest with the physical body.  I say.....baloney!!!  IT'S A GREAT PLACE!!!!!!  Although, we all know spirits are around us all the time, sometimes they are attached to a person, place or thing, right???  Well, think about it......first at the cemetery what is there......well besides the body....it is a place of GREAT EMOTION!!!  Second.....people are usually buried with their favorite things.  And what happens....the spirit stays attached to their favorite belongings.  So why wouldn't the cemetery be the PERFECT PLACE for an investigation.

Now,  a couple of things to watch out for if you are investigating a cemetery and especially if it is OLD!  First, a long time ago people were buried in wooden caskets and over time.....wood rots.  Yeah...from that alone I am sure you can figure out what happens next.  So be careful if you feel a "soft spot" or "sinking spot" in the older cemeteries.  You could find your leg sharing a coffin made for one!

I recently ordered a book called Gone to the Grave by Abby Burnett-Burial Customs of the Arkansas Ozarks, 1850-1950.  If you don't have this book...get it!!! It is filled with soooooo much information about the whole process of a funeral a long time ago....from the people who made the caskets to the how society dealt with death from 1850-1950 as well as a more difficult topic of how African-Americans practiced death in the Ozarks.  Much of what I am going to be writing about on caskets came from her book.

If you guys will remember a while back I went up to see my brother Jr. and took pictures and posted them on my blog and FB asking if anyone knew anything about the "coffin like" caskets on top of the ground. This is a TOTALLY CREEPY site if you have not seen these before.  Know one knew anything about them!   There were all different sizes but I think the ones that bothered me the most were the little small ones that obviously were for the children buried beneath them.  These pictures were taken at McBroom Cemetery, Kingston, Arkansas that I posted previously asking if anyone knew anything about them.

Anyway, I finally found some information in Abby's book that explains them.

"A coffin, the sounds, the isolation, the loneliness along with the revisualizing of those last gasping moments of one struggling to ward away the grim reaper and losing the battle wrought in us fears almost too esoteric to be endured by mortals"  written by Columbus Vaughn.  I don't know why but I thought this was a pretty cool statement.

Coffin and casket are often used interchangeably.  There are distinct differences, however.  The coffin, which is the older of the two styles, is six-sided, widest where it accommodates the body's shoulders, and tapers toward the feet.  Sometimes called the "toe pincher", the coffin has a separate, one-piece lid, which must be lifted off when mourners view the body.  This style, with variations, is seen above ground in the Ozark's oldest graveyards. (BINGO!!! Now I know)

Known as false crypts, these stone "coffins" though made to the same scale as the one below ground, do not contain a body; instead, they serve as a memento mori, reminding viewers of their own mortality.

The word casket originally meant a jewel box or a container for something precious (isn't that cool!) and is the more recent of the two container styles, still in use today.  These are rectangular boxes, or rectangles with beveled corners, whose lids are attached with a hinge along the box's longest side.  Casket lids are usually viewed from the waist up when the upper half of the lid is raised.  Caskets usually had handles and other decorative hardware and cost more than coffins.

Most men living in rural areas stated their profession as "farmer" on the various censuses, many worked at variety of jobs.  That made it difficult to document such part-time jobs such as preaching, funerals, carving tombstones, or making coffins. One man, James Willis Phillips, listed as a farmer on four censuses, is credited with having made 135 caskets for neighbors in his Pleasant Grove community, work he did not charge for.  Blacksmiths were the ones who most often built coffins and wooden vaults or boxes that protected the coffin in the grave.  By the 1970's life had changed so radically that blacksmiths and their skills were no longer needed.

Because the body was waiting to be buried, a coffin was used as soon as it was finished, which meant there was no time for paint or varnish to dry.  Instead, the coffin's exterior would be covered with fabric, held in place with tacks or decorative brads.  Generally, adult coffins were covered in black and children coffins were covered in white lining.  Fayetteville's African American community typically chose white, grey or pink linings.

It is believed that grave robbers were not always after something buried with the body.....the wanted the BODY!!!  Medical students were allowed to work on "regular" burial bodies that were buried at the public expense. How crazy is that...hey let's go dig up a body and see if we can take out it's tonsils????

An oversized corpse presented a different problem, as happened when 350 pound T.D. Cain died on a visit to Pocahontas.  The town's undertaker had to have a casket made-to-order by a St. Louis firm so Cain's body could be shipped home to Missouri.  Oversized caskets were occasionally built to accommodate multiple family members killed in a tornado,
or a mother and child burial.

No matter what the dead was buried in, they were treated with love and compassion....mostly by the neighbors who would often prepare the deceased for the family.  They would dress them in their best, place a cloth over the face that had been soaked in a solution of soda and water to keep the dead from darkening.  They would also place coins over their eyes keep them closed.  Sometimes, the body would stiffen before they could get them in the casket or coffin and you could hear the bones breaking when they would move it.

In many communities, a bell would ring out.  Many times in the amount of years the person lived. The men would dig the grave and the women would cook for the family.  Many times, if a child died, family and friends would bring curtains or sheets over to wrap the child in.  There were no big fancy wreaths only simple wild flowers placed on the casket.

Many of us, are curious about life and death.  After reading this book, it made me think of a time, where friends helped each other in many different ways...and not one TEXT message was sent saying "I'm sorry for your loss"...but true feelings would be expressed in person and the dignity of the dead was the goal of every person there.

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