More Tombstone Updates

I finished up another two tombstones for the cemetery this week. These two were part of the original cemetery many years ago, and were in desperate need of an update.

The first was our old Silas Long tombstone. It was one of the first stones we did. For the astute Scooby Doo fans in attendance, Silas Long was, in fact, the wolfman villain from the 1970 episode, Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Werewolf?

Why not take a second out of your busy day and watch the entire episode here? It's quite good!

So the tombstone was in pretty bad shape, as I had originally tried to mount it to a wooden stake by driving two screws through the foam. After a couple of years of wear and tear, the screws tore through the foam, leaving two nasty holes.

The first thing I did was repair the holes by filling them with spackle.

I then painted the entire thing with flat white ceiling paint. The moisture in my basement got to the spackle on the bottom hole and you can see a patch of brown mold discoloring of some sort...

Not a problem, as it was covered by a wash of watered-down black paint, followed by a quick wash of watered-down green. I have used this same color pattern on a few of my tombstones, as well as my new obelisk.

Next, I created a full-size epitaph. I printed the tiled 8.5" x 11" pages out and taped them together.

The difficult and time-consuming part comes when it's time to cut out all of the lettering and the flourish at the bottom.

I then traced everything onto the front of the stone with a permanent marker. After the initial tracing was completed, I used black paint to fill in the larger letters. I just filled in the small letters and detail areas with the marker.

After all of the lettering was complete, I wanted to add a few extra details, as Abigail Harrington is the new witch in our cemetery. She will also be flying around my new crypt on Halloween night (she is my new Flying Crank Ghost).

A hole at the top of the stone (from the years we used actual candles and the hot wax melted down into the foam) was perfect for a new PVC flicker candle, complete with melted wax down the front. The scribbled "XXX"s were taken directly from the mausoleum of Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. The story goes that if you put an XXX on her mausoleum, she would grant you your wish. And I figured, if Abigail Harrington is a witch, perhaps she would do the same. This also allows for her followers to leave flowers and other small offerings at her grave during the dead of night. I'll have some plastic flowers and other offerings (whatever I can find that will work) to place around the stone when it's set up on Halloween night...

I was also able to quickly update another old tombstone that we had created years ago. This time it was poor Solomon Grundy that needed a refresh. I'm not a comics guy by any stretch, but the idea came from a rather hilarious commercial that was done by Cartoon Network back in the late 90s...

"Solomon Grundy want pants, too!" was the catchphrase that entire Halloween. But after years of wear and tear, it was time for Solomon to be retired. In keeping with Abigail Harrington's witch theme (as well as adding a coven of live witches to this year's haunt), Mrs. Highbury did some research on the Salem Witch Trials and came up with a fantastic new epitaph for poor Bridget Bishop, the first convicted witch to be hanged at Gallows Hill. 

I filled two nasty holes at the bottom of this stone, too, but used two coats of a watered-down brown paint on top of the white base coat. This gives the stone a more sandstone appearance.

But don't worry comics fans. The spirit of Solomon Grundy lives on, because if you look closely, his original epitaph is starting to come through the paint. His memory of wanting pants will live on in Highbury Cemetery!!

3 more days until the big night!! All major prop building is complete and I'm into the frenzied state of sorting out all of the lighting and extension cords and stereo equipment. Once this mess is all sorted, I might be able to relax for a second, although I do have one last project to complete. But you'll have to check back later today for our final Freebie Friday to see what it is. Just be sure to bring your thinking caps with you when you stop back...

Current weather forecast for Halloween night:
54 degrees with a 30% chance of showers



Lisa said...

You do such beautiful work! Can't wait to see it all together!

wicKED said...

Amazing work on those! I look forward to the who haunt pictures.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Abigail Harrington just spooks the crap outta me - just as bad as when I stood in front of Marie Laveau's err, spot (not really a stone but more of a crypt, as I recall?) anyways, those XXXs just creep me out!!! Thats the first stone I have ever, ever seen in this hobby that just makes me shiver! Bleckh!!!! :D (I love it!)

highbury said...

Wow! Thanks, Dawn! That's the highest compliment I have ever been paid as a haunter. And yeah, Marie Laveau's mausoleum, which by some accounts might not even be her real mausoleum :) is an awesome spot. I cannot wait to get back to New Orleans. The city's influence is slowly creeping into my haunt!

(Typing this while wearing my "Marie Laveau's House Of Voodoo" shirt. Coincidence??)

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