Florissant Pioneer Cemetery

I’m very fortunate to live where I do. The Rocky Mountains are like old friends who have watched over me and mine since before I was born. I love to be outside in the mountains, smelling the pines, listening to birds sing, and watching the wild life do what it does. I don’t even mind it when our elementary school has a mountain lion or coyote dismissal. For the uninitiated, that’s when one of these predators is lurking near school and kids are not allowed to leave for home without an adult. No worries, we are in their backyard after all.

I’m especially found of driving or hiking off the beaten path to see what treasures nature might hold for my efforts. Sometimes its a spectacular view, a hidden lake, a mysterious mound that looks like it might be a grave, or perhaps a long forgotten cemetery (you knew this had to take a dark turn!).

The most recent cemetery I explored was with my ever patient husband on our way to a kid-free night out, a rare occasion indeed.

We decided to take a long drive on a road we had never taken to finally end up in Cripple Creek for dinner and a little gambling. Our trek took us through Florissant, Colorado where I spotted a humble sign pointing the way to the Florissant Pioneer Cemetery. Dinner and later-regretted-money-loss would have to wait.

We always treat any sight like this, no matter how long abandoned, with the utmost respect. We are careful not to tread where we shouldn’t and are mindful that these are memorials of someone’s loved one. They only thing we take home is the mud on our shoes and photos.

It is a pastoral setting, nestled peacefully in the tall pines and quivering aspens. Reading these headstones is always poignant for me but when we discovered  modern burial sites mixed in with the pioneer memorials it was quite moving. Some of the markers are mysterious which always gets my writer’s imagination churning.

Entrance to Florissant Pioneer Cemetery

Entrance to Florissant Pioneer Cemetery

Entire families with death dates within a few weeks of each other; was it an illness, an accident that left some languishing, or broken hearts? Huge elaborate pillar shaped memorials that you don’t see today. Such beautiful workmanship for people loved and respected, and missed. Once carefully placed grave-markers washed almost blank from time and the elements, a rather sorrowful metaphor.

IMG_0585 IMG_0580

This hand-made marker made me feel an overwhelming sense of loss for Catherine. I could almost feel the maker’s grief pouring from it. I’m not big romantic but how could you not feel the sting of a lost love looking at this?

IMG_0582 “Catherine; 1964-1995; Love is the pain in my heart that cannot be Stopped*” *last word is unclear

I found this hand-made marker attracted me like a moth to flame. The vibrant colors in a sea of somber stone tell me of a person who was probably vibrant in life. The little skeleton figures at the bottom make this as mysterious as it is beautiful.

Name and data obscured for owner's privacy

Name and data obscured for owner’s privacy

This person is lucky to have family looking out for them still. Gargoyles are used to keep evil at bay. I like that he has a brother wolf to help  him keep watch.


Anyone who knows me will tell you that I rarely get the willies. This guy caught my eye the minute the we pulled up. Obviously he was placed here because this person liked or collected pigs in life and it’s a thoughtful tribute. However, there was something so strange about his eyes. I can’t really explain it but I didn’t want to get too close to him and I could not look into  his eyes without feeling repulsed. I’ve never had that experience before or since.



Thanks for joining me on my exploration of the Florissant Pioneer Museum. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. You can read more about this historic place in Colorado at Teller County Attractions.

Never turn off the lights, that way little piggy won’t be able to sneak in your closet, or under the bed, or IN the bed!


Valentine Cards to Die For!

Valentine’s day can be kind of scary and raise all kinds of uncertainty. What to give? Will I get anything from anyone? If I give will it be received or thrown back in my face with a hardy laugh? Will I be gracious, by gracious I mean have the pepper spray ready, when the creepy person in my life gives me a valentine? Yes, truly terrifying.

In my quest to find the perfect Valentine gift for my valentine I ran across some pretty amazing cards. The kind of cards that just really celebrate the darker side of this love-fueled holiday.

Let’s begin with sweet and paranormal:

ghost ghostlove








Now for some pop-culture creepiness:

vampire hannibal









Specifically for the vegetarian in your life:














In case that wasn’t gross enough, try this one:







Nothing says “be mine” like these lovely examples (or should I say threats?):

stocks drowning skunk

Let’s just call it like it is:








A romantic dinner suggestion:



Speaking of cannibals, nothing is more romantic than zombies:

wlkingdead zombie brains




The one thing we all think of when we think romance:



Let’s not forget the demonic:

demoncat devil


What every teacher wants to find on his/her desk:



You can’t go wrong with hand-made, right? It shows how much thought and time you put into the gift. It’s a creative way to show what is truly in your heart.


Valentine from Mia Farrow to Woody Allen via Perez Hilton. Click image for the full story.

Well, there you have it. I told you Valentine’s day was scary. I hope these lovelies help the day live up to your expectations.

Happy Valentine’s day and remember never turn off the lights, especially if you got one of these, and particularly if it’s from Mia Farrow.



True Urban Legends


Urban legends are one of my favorite things; passed on from person to person with just a bit of “well maybe that could happen” to make it interesting. On doing research for some writing, I discovered that some urban legends are based in truth. Doesn’t that make them even more disturbing? I thought so. Here are few of my favorites to make you laugh, paranoid, freaked out, and just plain unsettled.

Tainted food urban legends abound, from bodily fluids in your fast food to spider eggs in your bubble gum. While some of those are plausible (maybe even likely and true!) I ran into one regarding my favorite food.

I love coffee. I make no apologies for my unabashed love of the stuff. When on a writing binge I’ve been known to drink a pot with maybe a Starbucks thrown in for good luck. At work the most annoying thing ever was to find the coffee pot empty and have to wait for a pot. Well, after I found this story I’m happy to make my own coffee and I’m very glad I work from home now.

badcoffeeIn 1994 workers at Wire Rope in Missouri knew their morning joe just didn’t taste right. These sleuthing workers set up a camera and discovered a fellow employ, Milton Ross, relieving himself right into the coffee pot. The information I found said the video made it to the news but I haven’t been able to locate it. Ross said his actions were due to an ongoing feud with a coworker. He was charged with assault and sentenced to 100 hours of community service cleaning public restrooms. Yes, very glad I work from home.

Ah, revenge. I used to have a scorched earth policy when it came to revenge but I have mellowed a bit with age. The longer I live the more I see that “what goes around comes around” is a true statement. It may take a long time for it to get back around but it always does. And when it does, it’s extra special when the fates allow you to watch, particularly if the baddies sin against innocents. There are many urban legends about getting yours but this one is true.

In 1982 two guys, David Grundman and James Joseph Suchochi, decided to do a little target shooting at saguaro. In case you don’t know, saguaros are tall cactus which grow in Arizona, California, and Mexico. They can live for an upwards of 300 years, get as tall as 60 feet, and weigh up to 8 TONS. For this excursion, Grundman picked a 100 year old specimen that stood about 26 feet tall. His crack shooting severed a 4 foot arm from the cactus which promptly fell and crushed him to death. My dad always told me to respect nature because it doesn’t respect you, it can kill you if you are reckless or disrespectful. Good advice, Pop.

Saguaro Cacti Specimen

Saguaro Cacti Specimen

Dumb criminal stories are a favorite around here. But a story about a criminal that ends with the criminal learning a lesson is truly treasured. I’ve heard urban legends about criminals getting stuck in the chimney (true, it turns out) or calling 911 on themselves (also true) but this one has a poetic justice that appealed to me.

Darker_nights_are_here_–_burglary_advice_(8124500096)In New Zealand, a young man illegally entered what he thought was a vacant home to burglarize it. He ran screaming after bumping into a hanging corpse in the darkened home. To his credit he phoned the police to report the body and turn himself in. It was determined that the person had hanged themselves a day or so before. Inspector Greg Nicholls is quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying “I’m hopeful that this might be a career-changing moment for that burglar.” You think?

Halloween has become one of the highest grossing holidays in America. Americans spent nearly $7 billion last year on costumes, decorations, and candy. Halloween attractions, such as haunted mazes or haunted houses can earn an upwards of $3 million in just a little over a month. I’ve seen some really well done holiday displays in front yards. Some I had to take a second look at they seem so real. I thought that’s what I would find behind the urban legend of people mistaking a real corpse for décor but I was wrong.

In 1990 as part of a haunted hayride attraction, a young man was supposed to pretend to be hung on a gallows set. He had successfully pulled it off for several nights but on this night something went terribly wrong and he accidently hung himself. The hayride driver became concerned when the boy didn’t finish his spoken lines as the wagon came by. There have actually been several tragic reports of accidental hanging during Halloween pranks.

This one is little more macabre and a twist on the first story. A few days before Halloween of 2005, a Delaware woman committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree near a busy road and in sight of many homes. She was first spotted around 7:30 that morning but people thought it was part of a Halloween prank. She stayed there until the police were notified at 11 am being observed by numerous passers-by. It’s quite sad and astonishing that it took that long for anyone to report it. Around here the HOA police would have been all over it in about 10 seconds, not that I’ve been in trouble for over the top Halloween displays or anything.


Hanging Tree by Joy Yehle

That’s just a small sampling of true urban legends that I found. So the next time someone starts a story with “my cousin’s-best friend’s-uncle’s-sister” keep these in mind. Lastly, never turn off the lights because that roommate in the dark…well she may not be what you think she is…alive, that is! Tell me if you know what urban legend that is and I will be very impressed!