Nestled along the winding, mountainous roads of Tazewell County, Virginia, is the Pocahontas Cemetery.
The establishment of the Pocahontas Cemetery can be linked to a mine disaster on March 13, 1884, where an estimated 114 miners and children were killed. There has been some speculation that there were more bodies, because it was not uncommon for miners to bring their children with them to work.
As I walked along the gravel road that trailed off into grass and leaves, I noticed damaged graves, crypts that had fallen apart and headstones knocked over, stains indicating decades of decay. I saw family plots, but the thing that stood out the most were the foreign graves; those decorated with Italian, Polish, and Russian languages. Never having seen a cemetery so diverse, I discovered that while it was uncommon for different races to be buried together, because these people worked together and lived in a small town like Pocahontas together, the town and families of the deceased thought it was only fitting that they be buried together as well.
I found out that even though the population of Pocahontas has dwindled from nearly 3,000 in the 1800s to almost 400 in the 2010s, the locals gather at the cemetery on the yearly anniversary of the mining disaster to honor the dead. However, more than a memorial, Pocahontas Cemetery is also home to some metal and horrorpunk bands of Bluefield, West Virginia, who gathered behind the McGee Crypt to take photos for their band websites (and some vandalism).
I typically hate being one of those people that are like, “Can’t you just FEEL the energy?!” when referring the paranormal, but you can literally feel the energy from the moment you see the hillside come into view just around the curb. The sheer impact of seeing the headstone-lined hillside is just as ominous as walking around the almost too-quiet cemetery grounds, but along the headstones and obelisks carved with foreign names and after-death wishes, an almost serenity is found.