Category Archives: Death

An update on KD

About a year ago, I wrote about KD Cyr, a young woman and fellow lover of the weird who died in a car crash. I wanted to let you know that you can learn more about her through the website that her family created not only to mourn her loss but to also celebrate her many talents. Please take the time to check it out.

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Filed under Death, Weird NJ

Katie Likes Flowers

This short piece about an experience I had in a nearby abandoned cemetery was originally published in Weird Hauntings (Sterling, 2006).

Many abandoned bits of civilization are found in the woods in the part of New Jersey where I live: Towns that simply disappeared off the map for one reason or another. Their remnants include foundations of buildings, mineshafts and cemeteries—and the closest I’ve ever come to a haunting was in one of these forgotten cemeteries. Continue reading


Filed under Cemeteries, Death, Nonfiction, Uncategorized, Weird, Weird NJ

About those gone too soon

Hi there. It’s been a while since I posted. The thing that has prompted me to do so today is the death of someone I never even met, but whom you can check out through her Instagram site. I’ll bet it’s as close to a snapshot of her essence as you’d ever find online.

Her name was KD Cyr, and you can read her lovingly written obit here. She was only 23, and she died as the result of a car crash.

It really bugs me. Recently, I learned of the death of Charlie Carlson, who wrote Weird Florida and who contributed stories to both of the ghost anthologies that I worked on. But he was 72, and even though I wish he’d been able to beat the cancer that killed him, I’d say he had a full, impressive, and weird (I mean that in the best way) life.

KD was on target for the same, but she didn’t get that chance.

I’m fascinated with “death culture,” as KD seems to have been, too: though I can’t truly speak for her. But just generally, to some, it makes people think that we take death, when it happens, less seriously than others. Or that, when we die, especially in an untimely way, that we were asking for it. And that’s just not the case. We mourn when we lose others, and we don’t anticipate our own demise in a gleeful way.

Pastoral gravestone scene.

Pastoral gravestone scene with shades of Monty Python. Photo by me.

We just look at death through a different filter. Death is something that interests us, among myriad things that interest us. Like making stuff, or gardening, or cooking, or hanging with pets.

I don’t know if KD would have ever considered me a friend, or a mentor, or as even as someone to trade healthy recipes with, but I certainly regret the fact that I’ll never have the chance to find out. And I mourn for her family and friends.

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Contact List

It was a while ago, maybe two years back, when I had to stop by the Weird NJ office for some reason that has long been lost to me. But I didn’t have a key and I needed to make sure that somebody would be at the office so I could do the thing I needed to do, as I was already in transit and had to go to my full-time job immediately after. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the new office number: The magazine had moved its headquarters and their number had changed…and I kept putting off updating the number that is saved to my phone.

So I did the next best thing. I called 1-866-WEIRDNJ, which I figured somebody would be staffing, and I could ask whoever answered. And sure enough, when I called, I got Rich Moran on the phone. Rich, who is Mark Moran’s brother and someone I had worked with in the Weird office for a few years. Rich, who knew all kinds of things, relevant to Weird NJ and not. And Rich said that he’d give me the new number, and since I was driving (bad me) and could not write it down, he said that he’d text it to me.

Which he did, and I was able to call the office and make sure that someone would be there.

Rich’s text, which I assume he sent from his own cell phone, is still on my phone. I long had planned to transfer the office number to my contacts, and to add Rich’s number, even though I never had reason to call Rich. But it was one of those “just in case” things. And true to my usual procrastinating form, I still have yet to get around to putting either number in my contact list, and the text still sits on my phone.

Except now, I don’t know what would happen if I called the number that Rich had used, because he died suddenly last Friday. I assume that it was closed out by his family or a close friend, or maybe someone is still answering it to give people the bad news that he died way before the time that anyone thinks he should have had on this planet. Maybe it’s a direct line to some greater or lesser divinity, now. I don’t know. I’m not calling it.

But I do know that now, I’m conflicted about deleting the message from my message history, like doing so would be vanishing one more thing that establishes Rich on this planet as a living, breathing, human being. I think I’m going to leave it, and when I do eventually get around to deleting it, it will be a somber occasion.

Rich, who was in charge of retail sales and marketing management for the magazine, is the second of my Weird NJ office mates to die way too early. He joins Sue, who was Weird NJ’s office manager and who died almost two years ago. In the second book of ghost stories that I compiled for Weird NJ, I acknowledged their work behind the scenes, and it’s an acknowledgment that I would make all over again, in a nanosecond. I will miss them and I hope to see them again one day.


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The B side of a headstone

A few years ago, I accidentally stumbled across a family headstone while looking for interesting graves to write about. The stumble became a story in larger project, and in my returns to the cemetery to visit the grave in question, which marks the burial site of a great-grandfather and his two wives, I eventually got around to walking behind it.

Family Headstone

These are five of I’m not sure how many children that were born to my great-grandfather and his first wife – they are my half-granduncles and grandaunts. Four of the five died before their mother did (in 1910). I can’t imagine what it must have been like to lose so many children, so young: babies not yet walking, little boys just learning how to help out around the farm, and young men and women, full of promise and ready to start their own lives.

I’ve seen these names on various old census records, but census records have the habit of just dropping people off. You know what happened, but not HOW. I’m also not sure if they are actually buried in the family plot – this headstone came along probably after their mother died, if not my great-grandfather, so it might just be a memorial marker for them, listing them alphabetically when they didn’t die in such an orderly way in real life. Checking church records is for another day…and I kind of like the mystery.

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Filed under Cemeteries, Death

DEAD Robin…hummmm

A robin died behind a waterspout located in my flower garden last spring. This spring, while cleaning up the garden, I found the remains, including the skull.

Robin skull

It’s amazingly fragile, except for the beak. I now know why you don’t see little bird skulls all over the place.

I buried the rest of the body and left the skull nearby, like a grave marker.

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Filed under Death, Gardening