It has been said that the mythology of the Hallowed Haunting Grounds is as mysterious as its very ambiance. Indeed, the shadowy statue of an angel that one first encounters upon arriving at the graveyard can be viewed as both consoling and disconcerting. Some say they can hear her humming softly to the baby she holds as she keeps watch over the graveyard.
From between the headstones creatures peer out at us and scurry back into the darkness. As moans of unrest begin to fill the air, an old flickering lantern floats out from the shadows, illuminating the dirt on a freshly-dug grave. The grave-digger has left in haste after seeing the mound of earth begin to move.
Thinking it wise to move away from this place, we discover a large stone tablet ominously inscribed,
"Within these hollow grounds
the anguished souls immortal
of the spiritless shall dwell
eternal without portal."
Within the stony confines of a nearby crypt, a wispy apparition appears, foretelling the fate of these lost souls.
"They died, but lived on.
Stubborn in their old ways,
blind to the Eternal Spirit,
They lived on after death
the way they lived before ..."
True to the prophesy, a dry and desolate wind has begun to envelop the shrouded specters who moan unendingly in torment. Gnarled tree branches throughout the graveyard reveal the contorted limbs and faces of other tortured souls. As the sterile thunder rumbles overhead, yet another soul in agony tries to struggle against his intended entombment.
Here as well, like a macabre centerpiece, sits the decaying statue of a skeleton playing a flute fashioned from a femur. The eerie sounds invoke several new manifestations to rise from the cold, lifeless earth. Traversing the graveyard, the ruins of a deserted chapel stand forebodingly as the hollow wind echoes through its now rather sinister arches.
From within the crumbling niches, aging statues follow our every move as we attempt to pass. The wind grows louder, and the echoes of the chapel's former life flicker and die, revealing the seventh and final "Face of Man."
Turning to leave this disquieting place, we pass a strange sundial where a tormented creature wrestles with the passage of time. We are beckoned by the bell-like tones of a music box that seem to come from an nearby house.
The sudden toll of a requiem bell rings out and the shadowy figure of the Grim Reaper appears. His boney hand is extended and a candle in the window is ominously snuffed out. Across the way, two shrouded figures huddle near what appears to be a small child's grave.
As we carefully look into the old house, toys and furnishings reveal the room within to be a nursery. Here we see the ghost of a little girl searching for her parents. Near the porch of the house, a shrouded apparition hovers, clutching a flickering candelabrum. Also searching, she tries to console the ghost in the nursery.
Keeping a watchful eye, a cluster of restless bats peer down from the branches overhead.
Through a large window, a phantom organist and skeletal harpist can be seen playing a spirited duet. As they vanish and reappear, the ghostly shadow of a couple dances to the haunting refrain, while flashes of lightning stream in through the windows beyond.
A small brick path leads us into the graveyard, where the stones on a prominent crypt bulge forth amid groans of despair.
Turning a corner, we enter a secluded hollow where fireflies dart among the pine branches. In dramatic contrast to the
adjacent necropolis, the scene here is one of peaceful rest. At the threshold of these sacred woods, a large stone tablet reads,
"Upon this Hallowed ground
bestowed is passage vernal
as the blessed soul wherein
the Spirit lives eternal."
Inside the house, the marble bust of a young woman comes to
"For you, in whom the Spirit lives,
I now invoke the blessed dead.
Commune with us this hallowed evening.
Appear within these sacred woods.
Reveal to us the Eternal Spirit,
Who animates maternal earth. ..."
In response, a veiled figure appears, gently wandering through the mist. The toll of a funeral chime beckons us to a clearing where a hooded figure stands. Reaching forth, he invokes the lightning and thunder. At last, the brewing storm yields a nourishing rain. The echoes of a distant requiem are heard, and the glimmer of a rainbow arcs from the sky.
At the heart of these humble grounds, we find the remains of a small chapel. Silhouetted by votive candlelight, the shadows of the blessed departed are cast upon the far wall. Kneeling over a well-like portal, a hooded figure chants a supplication. As he waves his hand over the opening, a violet light emanates through the ground, spiraling upward into the trees.
On the other side of the wall, the statue of an angel has been waiting for us to complete our journey. She hums softly, opens her eyes, and continues to keep watch over the Hallowed Haunting Grounds.
The End of your Walk