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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Graveyard Camping. Only in Madera.

Last Saturday I was with my friend Ashley and her brother as they needed some help filming a project. One of the locations they needed was a cemetery, preferably an older one. Being that they lived in Madera I suggested one out in the country called New Hope Cemetery. I had been out there many a times when I was a kid looking for ghosts and the place had a creepy factor, even during the day. We pack up out gear and head on to the cemetery. As we get near it, we can see a truck with a camper on it parked near the ruins of the church and a man, who appeared to be in his 40's) on the ruins of the church with what looked like a camper stove. Shocked and honestly a bit terrified by this we drove past and didn't stop. As we drove by the man actually walked out onto the road, dragging his leg like he was Keyser Soze or something. We kept driving on for a mile or so and curiosity got the best of us, so we headed back. Since I had recently sold my soul and bought a new iPhone with video, I thought this would be a good chance to test it out. Below is what I filmed. I apologize for the Blair Witch-esque video. Though I find it funny that I'm talking like I haven't yet reached puberty.

Ashley says the guy waved, but I didn't see him. Honestly I was so focused on videoing him that I didn't really pay attention. We decided to go to another place in Fresno and did the filming there. But I was still curious. Why was this guy there? Was he just camping for the weekend or was he squatting? I had to go back. I drove back by on Monday and the same truck was there, but there was also another vehicle there. Looked like a mid 70's Ford Ranchero. I have no idea what the hell they were doing there, but I did take a bit of video. Though it's choppier than the first. Mostly cause the road is full of potholes and I was driving as well as filming.

I'm not sure what's going on. I know the cemetery has been abadoned since the mid 80's, when the church burned down (rumored by Satanist, but that's for another blog post) and there has been a group of people that go out there and clean up the cemetery every once in a while. Perhaps this person is some sort of caretaker/watchman? I know in my high school days this was somewhat of a party spot and kids would go there all the time. Maybe they have someone out there to keep a watch on it. Or maybe the person is homeless and is staying there as they have no other place to stay. I honestly don't know. But It gets weirder.

The shot from Google Maps Street View. Looks to be the same
truck as in the video minus the camper shell.

An enlargement of the truck from a different angle. The front
looks similar to the one in the video.

I have no recent photos of the place, and didn't want to go by a third time and risk the ire of Keyser Soze, so I went to Google Maps, specifically their Google Street option to see what I can find. Well as luck would have it, the same truck (or at least the same model) sans the camper is in the Google Streets shot. I have no idea how old the shot is, but I think they came through my neighborhood about a year ago and I live maybe five miles from the cemetery. And it's not like I drive by the place daily, so I really can't say how long it's been there. But it's just weird that someone is camped out at a cemetery. Someone wants to go interview them? Do it and I'll be your best friend. Forever and ever and ever.


K said...

Haha, maybe I'll go check this place out.

My friends and I just got back from a trip around Lemoore, Hanford, and Kingsburg, where we went to a few graveyards, check out some haunted places, and searched for the haunted lodge of The Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Michael said...

Any luck with the Odd Fellows lodge? I could never find anything on that.

And be careful with the cemeteries, going to them after dark without permission is considered trespassing. I remember a few years ago some kids broke into the Academy Cemetery, vandalized the place (including breaking some old tombstones). Made it extremely hard for any actual paranormal investigator to do anything in Clovis. Even today.

Anonymous said...

my dad & grandparents are buried there

cat_p said...

The man you saw lives out at the cemetery - he is a caretaker. The church burned down not because of satanists but because of a party where kids were drinking and being stupid. My grandparents help take care of the property and I have many family members buried there. I have not investigated it but it sounds interesting!

buck knife said...

This one reminds me of the ghost chasers. They camp out in the grave lots looking for the paranormal.

Anonymous said...

Haha that's my family's cemetery and I'm not lying if you go out there I can give permission the guy in the camper is frank my uncle he's there because people were grave robbing.their used to be a church in front of the gate but worshipers burned it down in the 80s 559 706 4820 you can call me and I'll be happy ro escort you out there

Unknown said...

Hello I live in Madera and I would love to walk through the cemetery. Can I just stop by.