Haunted Real Estate Blog by Mary Pope-Handy mary@popehandy.com

Is it a Cemetery or a Graveyard?

Cemetery or Graveyard?

Search for “graveyard” in a dictionary and the definition will likely be a single word – “cemetery.” When used in everyday conversation, the two words are commonly interchanged without a thought, but these two eternal resting places have their differences.

Word Origins Tell a Story

The first known use of the word cemetery predates graveyard by three centuries. It stems from a melting pot of languages, according to merriam-webster.com, and roughly translate to “sleeping chamber” or “burial place.” Graveyard, on the other hand, appears to have evolved from the much older terms “grave” and “churchyard.” Churchyards, or land belonging to a church and usually adjacent to it, were regularly used for burial grounds although it was not their exclusive purpose. Designated areas within a churchyard that were reserved for burials came to be known as graveyards.

There is a long and complex history of Western burial practices, but suffice it to say that religious organization (i.e. the Church) usually dictated the terms. This means graveyards were often exclusive final resting places for members of a shared religion, and more often than not, of a specific local parish community. While graveyards used to dominate the scene for burials in the Western world, they’re extremely uncommon in modern use. Why is that?


Saratoga’s “Golden Triangle” Houses More Than Expensive Homes: A Ghost Who Lingers On

Forgive the rumor-mongering, but emails about a ghost in the prime Golden Triangle neighborhood of Saratoga, California, are finding their way to my inbox. 

The word is that an owner passed away many months ago and the home is being fixed up (or remodeled) for sale.  (When done it will be worth somewhere between 1.4 and 2 million dollars is my best guess.)

According to a neighbor: 

“Contractors have been in there and report unanimously that a ghost lives upstairs.  It looks exactly like the elderly person who lived and died there.”

No, I won’t give you the address.  And no, the house is not yet on the market.  But buyers beware, the owner of this home died quite awhile ago, and if it goes past 3 years, the sellers will not have to volunteer that a death occured on the property.  But if you ask, they’ll have to answer truthfully.

It wouldn’t hurt to knock on the neighbors’ doors and ask about the home before deciding to purchase it.  A lot of buyers do that for any home.

KGO Radio Listeners Share Stories of Experiences After the Death of a Loved One

Gil Gross, who hosts the afternoon radio program from 2 – 4 on San Francisco’s KGO Radio, had a change of conversational direction today.  While discussing and listening to stories about the multiple, devastating tragedies on Sept. 11th 2001, one of Gil’s callers (a widow from that day) relayed having an experience after the death of her husband that convinced her that he was sending her a message of hope. It was a very moving call, and Gil invited others to share any similar experiences.

And they did.

It’s really not often that mainstream radio or other media will be open to this type of conversation, unless it’s at Halloween (and then there are a lot of giggles). Instead, this was a very serious sharing by all kinds of listeners, many of them skeptics themselves until they’d had some sort of experience of a loved one after death.

Although my radio track record is pretty much limited to having been a college DJ at a small school in Spokane (Gonzaga U “KZAG, the voice of Gonzaga”), I do know that radio personalities and their producers do not want to risk offending people (and their advertising dollars) and they don’t want to cause eye-rolling and dial switching. So it’s a bit gutsy for Gil and his producer to just go with the flow today and encourage & take those calls.

Not only that, but it was handled very well, in a very supportive way that was neither sappy nor skeptical, but open and intelligent.  I don’t think that Gil could have done a better job with this highly sensitive topic on an emotion-charged day.

The synopsis of today’s program really does not do it (or Gil) justice as it not only sidesteps this very interesting segment of today’s show, but actually fails to mention it at all. I wouldn’t say that this element was so important that it overshadowed weighty interviews or the more “meaty” element of talk radio, but it was a dimension seldom broached and it should have been noted in the synopsis.

That’s OK, we’re mentioning it here. Kudos to Gil and to his producer too (my apologies, but I didn’t see the name of that producer online).  Want to hear the pocast? It’s online – enjoy!