Tag Archives: graveyards

Why are there so many graveyards?

Candles at the O’Stoat Crypt

Those of you who read the Hopeless, Maine graphic novels will likely have noticed that there are a lot of graveyards on the island. More graveyards than make any kind of immediate sense in relation to the apparent population size. There are reasons for that, of course.

Some of the reasons are geographical. There are a lot of places where the soil is thin. Bury the dead in shallow graves and hungry things will dig them up. No one likes seeing the partially eaten remains of their dead loved ones. It’s not even that much fun when it happens to people you don’t like. There’s also the problem that sometimes you bury people in shallow graves and they get up out of them. Therefore sometimes graveyards are small because they run out of useable land.

Of course there is halfway decent farmland on the island. Most people prefer not to put people into the soil where they intend to grow food crops. There is a story about how this is where night potatoes came from in the first place. It’s as well to think carefully about what you plant.

Some of the graveyards are just practical. They were the first bit of suitable soil nearest the pile of bodies. Usually the pile of bodies are on a beach and have washed in from a shipwreck which is why small clifftop cemeteries are so common. Dead people are one of the island’s major imports, thanks to the tides, and malevolent local magic. No one wants to go hauling dead strangers across the countryside and not everyone wants their beachcombing ruined by dead people. There are arguments over this, because there’s nothing like a shipwreck for bringing massive crabs onto the beach looking for food, and crabs in turn, are tasty. Still, the general consensus is that using human corpses as crab bait is a tad uncivilized.