El Carmelo Cemetery

There are lots of ghost stories about the Monterey Peninsula, which is made up of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Whether it’s the eerie feeling that comes in with the dense nighttime fog, the oddly shaped Monterey cypress trees that reach out to you from the sea or the many old shipwrecks at the bottom of Monterey Bay, it’s easy to find a creepy tale and an unabashed believer.

One evening when checking out at Trader Joe’s, the girl ringing us up mentioned her other job at a restaurant with a reputation for being haunted. I asked if she’d seen any ghosts there, and, while she hadn’t seen anything at the restaurant, she had experienced all sorts of things at Trader Joe’s. Most notably items flying off shelves at night when they were closing up. Whether those activities could be blamed on a pranky coworker or not, it was interesting to hear a stranger talk so openly about ghosts. And she’s not the only local I’ve run into with a story to tell. Ghosts and ghostly activity are just considered part of life around here.

There’s a cemetery not far from the path I walk on along the ocean. It’s called El Carmelo, and it’s been here since the late 1800s. I’ve heard stories about the cemetery–of course, since ghosts and cemeteries are like PB&J–so I decided to take a detour to check it out. It’s a peaceful place with a constant breeze off the Pacific. And there’s a lot of activity alright. But not ghosts. At least, not so far.

El Carmelo Cemetery
El Carmelo Cemetery, founded 1891
though my first visit occurred on a bright, beautiful day, the cemetery was cast in shadows and hard to photograph with my phone's camera
though my first visit occurred on a bright, beautiful day, my phone’s camera had a tough time with shadows
I saw the first deer out of the corner of my eye, sensing there was something alive on a plot to my left - soon I noticed half a dozen deer nearby, either grazing or lazing on top of someone's grave
I saw the first deer out of the corner of my eye, sensing there was something alive on a plot to my left – soon I noticed half a dozen nearby, either grazing or lazing on top of someone’s grave like this brave fellow who looks like he’s part of the cemetery, not an interloper like I am
the next time I visited El Carmelo, the fog was thick
the next time I visited El Carmelo, the fog was thick (this is looking back toward PG as I made my way south to Asilomar Beach)
it was hard to see the water  - looked like the world just faded into a gray mist
closer to Asilomar and the cemetery, it was hard to see the water – looked like the world just faded into a gray mist
dense fog + cemetery = atmosphere (my phone's camera did what it could, but you can't see how thick this stuff was - it felt like a light rain)
dense fog + cemetery = atmosphere (my phone’s camera did what it could, but you can’t see how thick this stuff was – it felt like a constant light rain)
all cemeteries should have so many trees - they add a sense of protection
all cemeteries should have so many trees – they add a nice sense of protection
the deer are fearless - they checked me out for a bit and then ignored me - at one point, two of them walked toward me and came within a few feet
the deer are fearless – they checked me out for a bit and then ignored me
as;dlkfj
this one walked within a few feet of me, then ambled over to this spot to take a load off
Punkin
Punkin
uh, thanks?
uh, thanks?
bahai
Baha’i
daughter
Daughter (the person buried between this stone and the next had his full name and military info)
grandma
Grandma (guessing she was also a mother, daughter and person with a name)
couldn't make out what this used to say - maybe it was an image? it looked like the outline of an animal
couldn’t make out what this used to say – maybe it was an image?
punkin
Tiny
as I stood there on that first visit feeling the ocean breeze and listening to the white noise it brought, I thought about how remarkably peaceful and at ease I was in that space - then I looked down and saw I was next to some Jacksons
as I stood there on that first visit feeling the ocean breeze and listening to the white noise it brought, I thought about how remarkably peaceful and at ease I was in that space – then I looked down and saw I was next to some Jacksons (and, yes, that was kind of creepy)

6 Replies to “El Carmelo Cemetery”

  1. Thank goodness those deer were not here in Houston with all the trigger happy bubbas…

    1. Harry, I still have a hard time believing deer just roam the streets here unmolested. Not counting the mountain lions, I mean.

      1. In some places in Pennsylvania, they have become pests, eating people’s gardens, trees and flowers and trampling their yards.

        1. They’re pests here, Harry. They’ve eaten a number of blooms on our plants out front (one even hopped our fence and came into our yard, much to the irritation of our big dog). But they’re so damn cute.

    1. Just looked it up. You can get a spot for a little over five grand. Half that if it’s for a child, which is really depressing. I didn’t realize mausoleum crypts are so expensive. Up to $20,000 in this cemetery.

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