New Hampshire Book of the Dead: Graveyard Legends and Lore by Roxie J. Zwicker is such an interesting and well written collection of tales from the beautiful state of New Hampshire.
When I saw this book sitting on a shelf at Deadwicks in Portsmouth, New Hampshire while on my bachelorette party trip, I just had to snag it!
When I was at the counter to pay for it, the gal working the shop let me know that the person standing next to her was actually the author! So of course we asked if she would sign my book. What she wrote was just perfect:
Let’s dive in!
New Hampshire Book of the Dead: Graveyard Legends and Lore by Roxie J. Zwicker
New Hampshire’s historic graveyards, from Portsmouth to North Conway, have bizarre and eerie stories to offer their visitors.
Graveyards often invoke fear and superstition among the living, but the dead who rest within them may have more to communicate to the world they left behind. The sands of Pine Grove Cemetery in Hampton once concealed the tombstone of Susanna Smith, but now its message–which reads simply Slaine with thunder”–and her story have risen from beneath the soil. The Point of Graves Cemetery in Portsmouth is home to the spirit of Elizabeth Pierce, who beckons departing guests back to her grave. Along the state’s southern border in Jaffrey, tombstones at Philips-Heil Cemetery caution the living to cherish life.
Author Roxie Zwicker tours the Granite State’s oldest burial grounds, exploring the stones, stories and folklore of these hallowed places.”
While reading, I couldn’t help but let the narration in my head sound a bit dramatic like one of the history channel specials. This certainly made the read even more fun!
I learned so much from this book!
Right from chapter two I learned that the oldest cemetery in the state of New Hampshire is in Rye; Old Odiorne Point Cemetery located in the woods at Odiorne Point State Park. I learned that in Pine Grove Cemetery in Hampton, headstones appear and disappear when the weather shifts the sand and dirt. I learned that at the Point of Graves in Portsmouth, there is a rare turnstile that are not frequently seen in New England as well as purple headstones that would have been shipped here from England. Also at Point of Graves is a headstone for Elizabeth Pierce, which is said to be an active location spiritually.
Later on, reading about a cemetery very close to where I currently live was heartbreaking! There is so much history with the Valley Cemetery in Manchester… and hearing about how many areas have been vandalized with graffiti really got my blood boiling!
The rest of the book covered tales and lore from other New Hampshire towns. Whether I was reading about an old cemetery or a horrible tale of injustice, this book had me totally hooked.
My favorite passages:
New Hampshire is also proud of its scenic (albeit tiny) seacoast, where visitors from Europe visited the shores as early as the sixteenth century. Here, seeds of revolution were sown in the eighteenth-century, and the echoes of the past can be found in the old town neighborhoods.
For some people, graveyards are uncomfortable places, and this sentiment is usually tied to superstitious belief. But what we should really be fearful of is forgetting where we come from. There is much to lean and see among the forgotten stones, if you dare to look.