People didn’t always treat cemeteries as they do today, according to Clatsop County Historical Society Director Mac Burns. They used to be a place to celebrate the lives of those interred. “That’s why they look like parks” says Burns, who adds “Once they were places where families would go to have picnics and remember lost loved ones. That’s why tombstones have names and stories and dates on them” That would be the motive behind the historical society’s popular annual event ‘Talking Tombstones” which will be held during daylight hours on Sunday afternoon, October 25th at the Clatsop Plains Pioneer Cemetery beginning at 1:00pm.
While it’s true the event is scheduled near Halloween, it is not intended to be a scary experience. Rather it is a form of living history where you may have a graveside chat with a costumed actor playing the role of the deceased.
The event makes use of the vast archives maintained by the historical society to identify a few individuals and provide the information to help tell that person’s story.
They are not necessarily famous people from the past and that is by design. “We pick ten colorful stories. Sometimes they kinda run of the mill because many of us have run of the mill lives”, says Burns. “I usually start by asking my archivist to find a murder victim, a prostitute, and a grieving mother and then we’ll go from there. We want the stories to be entertaining”
The society treats this as free event but donations are welcome. Burns suggests arriving no later that 3:00pm in order to ensure enough time to make the rounds of all the actors. This is done in small groups moving from one actor to the next.
Event: Talking Tombstones XII : A Serious Undertaking
Sunday October 25th 1:00pm to Dusk
Clatsop Plains Pioneer Cemetery
Free. Donations Welcome