The Seaside Calls


One girl's mission to escape monotony

Black Diamond Cemetery | Washington

This was, without a doubt, the creepiest cemetery experience I’ve ever had… and I loved every minute of it. While I was planning my trip to Washington, I couldn’t pass up a visit to the state’s most haunted cemetery. The drive was just under two hours from Silverdale. As soon as we got into King County, things started getting weird. Unfortunately, we were on a race against the setting sun, so we didn’t have time to photograph the horrors we witnessed along the drive.

The first thing we noticed was a Victorian mansion on the side of the road. There was a couch sitting in front covered in glass dolls, and a sign advertising that you could have tea with the dolls … Then we had to drive on this really dark and windy road for about 8 miles. The trees were overgrown to the point where you couldn’t see the sky. The canopies were keeping the sunlight from reaching the road, so it felt like it was night. There was an old abandoned bridge on the side of the road and a bunch of abandoned buildings. About halfway down the road, we saw a sign nailed to a telephone pole that just said “handyman”, followed by a phone number. Noelle and I both concluded that it was put there by a serial killer. Right around this time, we noticed a white van following us (and that was the only living soul we saw in the whole area).

Things only got scarier when we made it to the cemetery. After walking around for a few minutes, we began to hear a chainsaw and very loud screaming coming from the nearby houses. Eventually the chainsaw and the screaming both stopped… at the same time. A few minutes later, we could hear what sounded like a gramophone recording of a woman singing something Tiny Tim-esque. As we strolled through the graves, we were both on the alert, convinced that an axe murder was sure to jump out of the surrounding pines at any moment.

 

 

I have a theory that Victorian-era cemeteries are the most haunted due to that generation’s deep interest in Spiritualism. That theory seems to align with this particular cemetery.

Black Diamond was a mining town during the 1800’s, and visitors have reported hearing whistling, smelling strange smells, and seeing the dead miners’ lanterns swinging in the fog. A few have also reported seeing an apparition of a white horse. I can’t claim to have experienced any of these, but Noelle and I were both overcome with a feeling of unease that neither of us had ever experienced before. It was awesome. And terrifying. And awesome.

I found an instagram account run by a couple of ghost hunters, and they posted a video of an EVP they took at Black Diamond Cemetery. I don’t know if I believe that it’s real, but it gave me chills.

 

 

 

One thing you’ll notice when visiting any Victorian cemetery is the frequent amount of children’s graves. Thanks to the lack of sanitation, poor nutrition, and the many rampant diseases, only two in every 10 babies born would live until their second birthdays.

 

 

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And, of course, we just had to take a few etherial, death-inspired portraits. Then, as the sun finally set, we rushed back to the car because the strange noises were starting up again and we were extremely creeped out. Someday I will return to Black Diamond, and I will use this horrifying experience as inspiration for a short film. Mark my words. Mere words cannot convey how frightening this experience was, so I’m committed to recreating my experience as accurately as possible for you all to enjoy.

 

 

Have you ever experienced something paranormal? I want to hear your stories! Let me know in the comments below ⬇👻

 

Nena’s Travel Essentials

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Wonderspaces | San Diego


UPDATE: Wonderspaces is returning to San Diego in 2018! As of February, dates haven’t been announced yet, but keep checking back here for new info.


From time to time, my dear Lexington will hire me to do some photos for her instagram feed, and I’m always so stoked because she’s incredibly fun to work with, and she always comes up with fantastic ideas… and this time was no different. She had the idea of doing this shoot at Wonderspaces, a temporary art installation here in San Diego. I’d been wanting to check it out anyway to see what all the hype was about, and this was the perfect excuse. Plus, it gave me a great reason to bring my camera along!

Now when it comes to art, I’m a bit of a snob, and I tend to stray away from modern contributions (I would take Caravaggio over Banksy any day)… But the stuff I saw here reawakened my appreciation for the artists of my generation! It was weird, quirky, and interactive, and I couldn’t get enough!

 

 

 

If you’re in the San Diego area while Wonderspaces is still up (until August 27, 2017), you should absolutely check it out. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time!


UPDATE: Wonderspaces is returning to San Diego in 2018! As of February, dates haven’t been announced yet, but keep checking back here for new info.


 

Nena’s Travel Essentials



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Stone Church Ruins | Eleroy, Illinois

The Old Eleroy Stone Church

You know the best thing about road trips? Besides snacking on beef jerky and slurpees? Finding weird things on the side of the road. Especially abandoned things. If it looks like it’s been forgotten by society, I’m in love. This was one of those discoveries that was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

We were driving from Galena, IL back to my aunt’s home in Chicago, when I noticed this stone church without a roof, and very clear signs of fire damage. Obviously I made my aunt pull over, and I went in to explore. The caution tape did not deter me… in fact, it made my rebellious side come out. I wouldn’t say I break the law often, but I’ve definitely done my fair share of trespassing. I think most photographers have a tendency to do things like that, but it’s totally fine because it’s all in the name of art 😉

After doing a little research, I found out that this building actually hadn’t served as a church for a couple decades, and had recently been utilized as an antique shop. The owner lived inside, so unfortunately he lost both his shop and his home… and possibly his cat, from what the locals were saying on Facebook. The fire had taken place a few weeks before I stumbled upon it.

I tried to go in, but I didn’t get far. From wall to wall, the building was completely full of fallen beams, chairs, and other debris.

The stained glass windows had fallen out and were still laying in small fragments on the ground below. The strong scent of fire still lingered in the air.

I don’t know what is to become of this building, or how long it will sit there in this condition, but getting to explore it in its abandoned splendor was exactly the kind of thing I live for.

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Graceland Cemetery | Chicago

Day 1 In Chicago

Half of my family live in Chicago, so I usually visit the city at least once a year. Having been so many times, I wanted to skip the usual attractions and explore corners of the city I’d never seen before. So, naturally, I asked my cousin to take me to a cemetery. I was not disappointed. Graceland Cemetery is one of the largest and grandest graveyards I’ve ever had the pleasure of strolling through. Well, in this case, it was less like strolling and more like trekking. The grounds span nearly 120 acres, so we spent about 3 hours wandering in the horrible humidity of June. I kid you not, the cemetery provides maps for its visitors because it’s so easy to get lost.

The History

Graceland Cemetery was built in 1860. After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, many of the bodies which were originally laid to rest in Lincoln Park were transferred to Graceland. Unlike our usual dark and gloomy idea of cemeteries, Graceland was designed to have a comfortable, park-like atmosphere. During the 1800’s, this was actually quite common. When people felt like spending time outside, they would often go for walks through their local graveyards. Victorian-era cemeteries were made to feel welcoming. Unlike the tight, ordered rows of graves in modern cemeteries, the Victorian graves were purposefully placed in an irregular manner, leaving plenty of space for visitors to weave through them as they walked. 

Notable Graves

Here lies Inez Clarke, daughter of John and Mary Clarke (although there is some speculation that she is actually Inez Briggs, Mary’s daughter from a previous marriage). Legend has it that Inez died when struck by lightning, either during a picnic or while being locked outside. They say that her statue disappears during lightning storms because poor Inez is so afraid.

Here lies Dexter Graves. He died in 1845, and was one of the bodies moved to Graceland after the fire. His remains are guarded by a terrifying statue entitled, “Eternal Silence”, which was created by Lorado Taft in 1909. There’s a legend that if you look into the figure’s eyes,  you will be given a vision of your own death.

See anything? 
          

Jack Johnson

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that this woman’s name was Olive Branch? 

I love finding graves without a death date, especially when there is no possible way that they could still be alive. I like to imagine good ol’ Marie enjoying her golden years (she’d be 128 as of 2016) sipping mimosas on some beach in the Bahamas.

Sorry, kids. Santa has been dead since 1914.

Other Highlights 

Graceland Cemetery, final resting place to so many of Chicago’s elite, was so overwhelming. So much land, so many spectacular graves, some of which don’t even seem like they could possibly be in Chicago. Overall, I give this cemetery an A+, but, if you plan to visit, I suggest that you avoid going on one of the hottest days of the year, because you will be miserable.

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