Cemetery Gates

To fence in and bolt a gate surrounding the dead seems almost absurd – they really aren’t going anywhere, and the days of grave robbers is pretty much behind us. Well, there is the zombie question, I suppose, but otherwise, not so much rational reason remains for this anachronism. But historically, there were many reasons.

 

It is likely the first walled or fenced graveyards occurred as a means to prevent carrion from digging up Mum and Pa and having at the entrails. And as the linkage between the dead and the gods and/or daemons became more prevalent, there grew a rationale that such walls might work both ways, and keep the ghosts of the dead from making excessive mischief. Almost simultaneously, graveyards began to be held as sacred grounds, and thus a wall and gate served to delineate the sacred from the encircling profane. And somewhere in that evolving concept, the gates, and in many instances the fences as well, began to grow more ornate, more imposing, more forbidding.

Cemetery gates have figured into film, cartoons, stories, and most importantly, ghost stories. The gates fronting the Addams Family mansion are quite clearly those of a cemetery. The strange thing is, they are almost always metal, and quite porous, and one must wonder how something as insubstantial as ghosts could possibly be held back by gates so ephemeral. And this also brings forth an eternal question:

 

How does the fog remain inside the cemetery without leaking out into the rest of the world?

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The Gate is Open

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