Monday, November 15, 2010

chc - part one

since the last time i tried to have a few photos and a bit of text in one post and all of the text formatting went wonky i am breaking this up into two posts.

since my failed attempts at reaching coon hill cemetery via bicycle and by car i opted for the next best thing: the scooter. i convinced remy from the shop to join me on his honda too. it actually didn't require too much arm twisting.

the ride out was cooler than i had anticipated, but not to the point of being cold. once we turned off of Hwy 90 we didn't encounter very much traffic, and after Hwy 184 i think we only saw two or three more cars the entire way out. i was glad to finally get to 10 mile road, where the dirt and gravel start.

it took us just under two hours to get from downtown pensacola to the gate about a mile from the cemetery. flipped the zuma on it's side and slid it under the gate. cranked it right back up. did the same for the honda, but after a few kicks there was no cranking. some harsh language was flung in it's general direction and then it cranked back up and we were almost there.

some back story: coon hill cemetery is supposed to be haunted. when doing some internet searches i found that most of the haunted/paranormal websites use virtually the same text when describing coon hill. according to these sites there are voices and apparitions, due to the cemetery's remote location multiple murders have occured out there, reports of people trying to walk the perimeter wall only to be pushed off by unseen hands, etc. also, due to widespread vandalism in the early to mid two-thousands and numerous people falling off the wall and breaking parts of themselves it was pretty much put on lock down. understandably.

anyway - after passing the gate we took it pretty mellow so as to not spook the locals. we parked and entered the cemetery trying to be as respectful as possible. first impressions: while yesterday was a beautiful day the cemetery was still a bit creepy at first, maybe because of the remote location, maybe because it's a cemetery, maybe both, i don't know. i read that there were graves dating back to the early 1700's but the oldest one we found was from 1850.

we walked around snapping pictures and checking out the headstones until we decided it was time to walk the wall. remy jumped up without hesitation while steadily talking trash in attempt to provoke being pushed off. nothing. he walked about a quarter of the wall and then i jumped up and we both walked it. nothing. we walked the entire perimeter once while taking pictures the whole time. then i broke out my cellular with the voice recorder and walked it again while the voice recorder was going. again, nothing. so, we jumped down and had a drink before loading up and heading back down the road.

we decided that since remy and his honda had issues going under the gate when arriving, we would go around the gate when leaving. there was what looked like a trail, which turned out to be not much of anything. after getting turned back around in the woods and then finding a clearing in the woods with about a two-and-a-half foot drop on the other side we put our tiny scooter suspensions to work. shazam, we were out and back on the road.

on molino bridge road we stopped at another cemetery. i don't know if this one has a name or not - i didn't see any signs. we snapped a couple pictures there. we made a couple observations though: 1) both cemeteries had headstones for women who passed away on christmas day, 1900; 2) this second cemetery seemed to have good bit of graves that were either just a blank concrete slab, or a concrete slab with initials scrawled into them; 3) again at this second cemetery, there was grave site that had hummingbird pinwheel things in the ground and windchimes hanging at it and at one point during our visit only one of the hummingbird things started spinning - the windchimes didn't move and none of the other hummingbird pinwheels moved at all. strange? yes. paranormal? beats me.

we jumped back on the scooters and made our way back to pensacola which included a brief run through the trails by the airport for some entertainment. after that the trip was done. complete. coon hill cemetery accomplished.

a few side notes about coon hill - walking the wall: i don't know how old this wall is, but it has obviously been there for a while. the top stone is cracked and wavy and the wall itself has settled and shifted and has become less that straight and level. i can see how it would be difficult to walk on while creeped out. i can also see how the difficulty level would be multiplied when trying to do it at night, in the dark, or by flashlight. i'm not trying to say that people who have experienced being pushed off have poor balance. i am saying that there could be other contributing factors. the history, specifically murder related: i looked online, which isn't saying all that much, but i spent hours trying to find any legitimate historical facts about the murders that have reportedly taken place. i found nothing. zero. the only place i found them mentioned was on haunted place websites that had so little information about anything they should probably be deemed virtually useless.

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