Swain Cemetery is a rather old grave site that ceased being used when it filled up at the end of the Victorian era. The only burials conducted on the site these days are those where family members are interred in the large tombs and vaults that were built for generations of that family. Otherwise the graveyard is barely maintained, overgrown, run down and a haunt for local goth kids, occultists, drunks, bums and dog walkers, as well as a great deal of wildlife that takes advantage of this semiwild area to live. Swain has individual graves dating back to the time of the first significant settlement in the area but the majority of the graves are from the Victorian period, ornate, sometimes ghastly and as ostentatious as each family could afford, often carved with florid prose in homage to the people interred there.
Since the 1970s there have been stories circulating about Swain Cemetery, that Satanists use the site for their rituals, that a vampire haunts the grounds feeding on animals and human victims, that a werewolf makes its den there in amongst the graves having turned one of the vaults into a home – of sorts – for it’s human self while walking abroad at night as a beast. While there have been a couple of murders where the bodies were dumped in the cemetery and a few old bums have passed away there, as well as house pets and wild animals fighting it out in the overgrown bushes, the police don’t believe anything strange or untoward has really happened there. Local hysteria over the cemetery and it’s alleged occult goings on wax and wane over the years with people, in some years, heading out there to stake it out and even with graves being dug up to look for vampires. There may well be something here but it’s hysteria as much as whatever horror might dwell there that is the enemy.
The cemetery is large and sprawling, occupying a trapezoid shape and lined with trees on every side. So large is the cemetery that a single lane road was cut through it to allow hearses to access every part of the cemetery with relative ease. This road follows a ‘u’ shaped path from one gate to the other, the main gate also having a small, paved area with a chapel and a reception office constructed on the site of an old funeral parlour; neither are much used and are kept locked most of the time. The poorer graves are the ones nearer the road and they are interspersed with avenues of trees and tangles of brambles and bushes that sprawl over whole sections of the graveyard. The vaults and sarcophagi tend to be further away from the common graves, set in greater seclusion and better maintained, the ground around them cleared and mowed and these grave sites being some of the few that flowers or other tokens are still left at. The homeless tend to congregate in the central stand of trees where there are old benches and plenty of tree cover.
1. There is a vampire living in the cemetery, spending a few years sleeping and then a few years awake and hunting, living much like an animal. It’s every thirty years or so that he rises and feasts, on animals if he can but being made animalistic by his long deprivation humans are also sometimes his prey. Left alone he will drink his fill and then return to his sarcophagus but a spate of animal deaths or deaths among the homeless will likely trigger a new media frenzy and parapsychology investigation of the graveyard and that may disturb him.
2. The Satanist wannabe kids have been infesting the graveyard more and more of late, having their rituals, listening to music on portable systems, drinking and having sex. A cheaper and edgier alternative to a night out on the town. The ritual side of it hasn’t been so important to them and their ideas are largely coming from the internet, not LaVey and not any of the old books. The most they’ve done is kill a few animals but that’s enough to cause a frenzy of hatred and a backlash from the locals who are convinced something supernatural and untoward is going on.
3. The parapsychologist from the 1970s was young and eager back then, he’s still alive today, in his fifties and has still gotten no further in any of his supernaturalist claims than he did back then. Frustrated by decades of disbelief despite what he believes to be genuine encounters with the supernatural back in the 70s he’s now staging supernatural murders and events in the graveyard in order to either get revenge, or the kudos he feels he deserves from an unbelieving public.
This story comes from ”100 Dark Places” by Postmortem Studios.
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SYSTEM: any horror
AUTHOR: James ”Grim” Desborough, Postmortem Studios