East Hill Cemetery in Salem looks a lot different in the daytime than it does at night.
A couple of days ago a friend and I started our walk at Longwood Park in Salem, covered the perimeter of the small cemetery behind the Salem Museum and eventually found our way across the street to the larger portion of East Hill Cemetery. It was a nice stroll in the daylight that afforded us a better view of some of the interesting headstones. There were a couple of odd ones such as this one which looks like it was carved from a tree trunk but really is stone.
I counted three of them and noticed that all the buried persons were Woodmen of the World. What was odd about this monument is that even though it is carved from stone all three of the them had moss growing on them as if they were trees. I still found Board's resting place to be the most intriguing. If you look closely it almost looks like tears have stained the woman's, who I think is Mary, cheeks.
We hiked almost an hour and headed back to our cars across the street which we had parked near the Chamber of Commerce. That's when I got scared. It wasn't the dead that scared me, but the living. As we approached our vehicles some guy called out to us from where he was standing near his pick up truck. He asked us if he could walk around the cemetery. My friend said yes. As soon as I looked at this guy my New York went up. He had his arm in a sling, but I immediately had the feeling it was a fake sling. Images of Ted Bundy flashed through my mind. The passenger door of his truck was opened. He started to walk towards us.
He had grey hair tied back in a pony tail and front teeth missing. He started to ask us more questions like what is the name of the cemetery. As he stepped closer I was mentally telling my friend to get in her car and lock the doors. She was answering him but I was giving him the death stare. He said he was rehabbing and I thought he meant from drugs or alcohol but apparently he meant from an injury. He said his doctor said he shouldn't climb hills, so I was wondering why he would want to climb the hills of the cemetery. Then he came closer still and said he was waiting for a large disability check that should be coming any day. Did we look like the type that would say, "Hey, cool, let's go party!?" Now it was getting too weird so I jumped into my car and gave my friend the stare and she went into hers. I locked the doors and looked into my rearview mirror.
He headed back to his pickup and I noticed he put his good hand in the back of his waistband where one might keep a gun or a knife. I got the creeps. I pulled out quickly making sure my friend was on my tail and noticed that the redneck Bundy pulled out as well. Shit, I hoped he wouldn't follow us. Luckily for us cars got between my friend's car and his so we pulled into Mac and Bob's lot. I parked and waited for my friend to come. As I was standing there I noticed redneck Bundy came onto Main Street and made a left turn. I guess he didn't want to go for a walk after all. My friend and I made it safely into the restaurant where we spoke about the encounter. She felt he could have been a pedophile. I didn't think so as it was during the day and no kids were out. I felt he could have been a serial killer.
It was disturbing to realize that if he was and we had met him in the cemetery we would have been in trouble. It was deserted and no one except the dead would hear us scream. We both agreed that even if he had a gun neither one of us would have gotten into his pick-up as that's a death sentence for sure. The odd thing is both of us had mace sitting at home that we thought about taking for a minute but didn't. No more. I will now carry what the New York Police Department carries...
I'm not afraid to use it. Yup, it's not the dead that scares me, it's the living.