a few of my favorite headstones

by Kaylah Stroup

angel of death victorious, haserot, crying angel, headstone, cleveland, lakeview

The Haserot Angel. Lake View Cemetery. Cleveland, OH


Last year around this time I shared a list of my favorite cemeteries but some recent awesome finds have prompted me to start a list of my favorite headstones. Over the years I’ve been to tons of cemeteries. So many headstones look exactly a like, and as cheesy as it sounds, they just don’t make them like they used to. There are definitely exceptions though! So, I present to you, a list containing a few of my favorites I’ve seen made the journey to see in person…

▴ Giant lion

Lake View Cemetery. Cleveland, OH
I’ve spent hours wandering around Lake View Cemetery but only recently noticed this lion. When I turned around and spotted him for the first time he actually startled me. I think part of his appeal is that he just seems out of place.

weird headstone

▴ Specimens

State of Ohio Asylum for the Insane Cemetery
This one had been on my radar for years before I finally took the trip to go see it. I still can’t believe it’s real. Specimens in this case are most likely parts that had been removed during standard procedures and kept to study at the hospital. (Tumors, gallbladders, kidneys, etc) After a number of years it’s easy to imagine they’d probably have a pretty large collection of spare parts that they didn’t know what to do with. I guess it’s also in the realm of possibilities that it’s something a lot more sinister… Either way, this definitely ranks among my top three! The State of Ohio Asylum for the Insane Cemetery contains quite a few interesting headstones, definitely check out this post if you’d like to see more.

▴ Be of Good Courage

Bonaventure Cemetery. Savannah, GA
I don’t know what it is about this headstone but it first caught my eye back in 2014. I loved it immediately. When I returned to Savannah a few years later, though I had completely forgotten about it, I managed to end up stumbling upon it yet again in the massive cemetery. There’s just something about it… Find more photos of Bonaventure here.

▴ Skull with wings

Granary Burying Ground. Boston, MA
This isn’t so much about this particular headstone but in general, headstones with skulls on them are my favorite. It wasn’t until I visited Granary Burying Ground in Boston that I saw my first one. It’s fairly common on older headstones found in the North Eastern portion of the US but definitely not something you see around Ohio. I think I’m drawn to them because they seem like something that would be a Halloween decoration, something you’d see in cartoons, not something that is on a real headstone.

▴ Tom’s collage

Riverside Cemetery. Cleveland, OH
This is easily the weirdest headstone I have ever laid my eyes on. The first time I spotted it I took enough photos to write a whole post about it… but then I felt weird writing an entire piece about one specific headstone. I still don’t even know what I’m really looking at. It has a little bit of everything on it…

girl in blue, killed by a train, headstone, josephine klimczak

▴ The Girl in Blue

Willoughby Village Cemetery. Willoughby, OH
The Girl in Blue was the very first headstone I ever shared on The Dainty Squid. I remember it being such a huge deal to be blogging about a cemetery. I didn’t know how people would react or if I’d lose my readership because everyone just thought I was a giant weirdo. The post was surprisingly well received and I still catch these photos floating around the internet. Read more about her here.

▴ Corrina Shively

Brown Pet Cemetery. Columbus, OH
Brown Pet Cemetery still remains the only cemetery that has made me cry. It’s filled with incredible memorials. I just think it’s so touching that in a time when photography wasn’t as accessible as it is today that someone got glamour portraits of their kitten done. Check out more photos from my visit here.

▴ Seldom Seen Slim

Ballarat Cemetery. Ballarat, CA (a ghost town!)
“Me lonely? Hell, no! I’m half coyote and half wild burro!” That has to be one of the most interesting epitaphs out there!

▴ Unknown man died eating library paste

Goldfield Pioneer Cemetery. Goldfield, NV
Of course this makes the list! I mean, c’mon! The story of this one is that a homeless man was wondering the streets, looking for something to eat. In the library’s trash he found some book paste which at the time was a mixture of flour, water, and alum. Large quantities of alum are toxic when consumed, especially on an empty stomach. You can find more photos of the unique headstones in this cemetery here.

▴ Home for the Friendless

Erie Cemetery. Erie, PA
The Home for the Friendless was a home for orphaned or unwanted children in Erie, PA. (It was later renamed the Sarah Reed Children’s Home, thankfully.) I’m a bit more immune these days to the not so PC names certain institutions used to have but I’ll never forgot the complete shock I felt when I stumbled upon this one for the first time.

lilly e gray, salt lake city cemetery

▴ Victim of the Beast 666

Salt Lake City Cemetery. Salt Lake City, UT
If you’re having trouble reading the above headstone, it reads ‘Lilly E. Gray June 6, 1881 – Nov. 14, 1958 victim of the beast 666’ There are lots of interpretations that seem to just be made up by folks looking to write a good story but no one really knows for sure why her headstone says this as the only information on her death, straight from her obituarty, reads that she died of natural causes.

Laurel Grove Cemetery. Savannah, GA

Other notable spots;

Mound View Cemetery. Mount Vernon, OH

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