On a dreary afternoon in late Spring of this year, I visited a little hidden cemetery near by my home that I had visited a few times before. This one in particular has a unique meticulously renovated log cabin chapel in which funeral services were once held. The cemetery is one of the several pioneer memorial plots that predate the modern suburbia that has grown about it and that it has gradually forgot. In such places I find I am usually the sole visitor, but this time I met a man within the gates. I stumbled on him tending a very old grave, removing the overgrown weeds and placing fresh daisies on the weather worn urn. I assumed he was family but after a brief introduction, I learned he was a fellow lover of cemeteries. He and his partner, he explained, had several out of the way graveyards that they weed, clear debris from, and liven with fresh flowers, a sort of charity for the dead. I suppose he felt me a kindred spirit at this point because he asked me if I'd like to join him and his partner for their "cleansing". He gestured to follow and led me across the cemetery to the old log chapel. The space was very dark, and I saw nothing immediately. The first thing I smelled was white sage. As my eyes adjusted an strange sight was laid before me. His partner, a young woman in a flowing dress, was making mysterious arcs with a smudge stick of burning sage over an odd assembly of objects- a white decorative skull, an herbal broom, two antique photos of open coffins, and a vintage Swami ouija board. "You see," she said, "these things are haunted, and they must be cleansed."
"The Cleansing" © 2017 Tim Stevens