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Cemetery Tourism, the New Catchword in US

of efforts to lure visitors. Its a way of saying, We would love you to stay with us permanently.

Gary Laderman, a professor of religion at Emory University and the author of Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in the 20th Century says there is a sense in which, like sex, death sells.

But he also sees cemetery tourism as a chance for civic engagement. The mobility of society and the growth of the death care industry have served to isolate these historically significant places from the mainstream, Laderman said.

Of course, some think that cemeteries are sacred spaces, and that Halloween flashlight tours and historical re-enactors jumping out from behind tombs crosses the line in taste.

A 2005 fund-raising calendar for Oakwood Cemetery in Troy inspired by the movie Calendar Girls and featuring socialites who appeared to be naked was a tad too risqu to repeat, some thought. After objections, Green-Wood scuttled plans to show horror films.

Trust though the cemetery managements, hard-pressed for money, to look for more and more out-of-the-earth ways of luring the living to the abode of the dead.


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