Woman Cleans Centuries-Old Tombstones and Shares Stories about Their Owners with Others
One brave young woman shows respect and resurrects the dead not only by reviving the graveyards of what are now long-lost ghosts. She also shares their captivating, centuries-old stories with the world.
Volunteer Caitlin Abrams cleans gravestones. She honors those passed by making their name visible on the tombstone and through sharing their tales, bringing life to the person behind the engraved title.
One of Abrams' popular videos is of her cleansing the stone of Silas Reed, who, according to the volunteer, died at only 11 weeks old. While thoroughly washing the tiny grave, she explained in a voice-over that he passed, apparently, from lung fever.
Lung fever, which is considered a symptom rather than an illness in modern medicine, was listed as a diagnosis in the 19th century because the medical community, she explained, lacked the knowledge they have access to now.
[She] called a priest to bless her home after checking CCTV camera footage.
Abrams claimed that it had been hypothesized that the baby's actual cause of death was pneumonia. During the century in which he passed, she stated that it was a common factor in many deaths.
The TikToker explained that cleansing unreadable gravestones are her favorite part of the work she does. Abrams expressed:
"It feels really good to give this person their name back and know that someone is mentioning their name 150 odd years after they died."
Not only did Silas pass away, but so did his brother Freddy, who is buried close to his sibling, both placed under a graceful willow tree. He died not long after his brother at 8 years old and with his death recorded as typhoid fever.
This TikTok user manages to bring these forgotten historical figures, such as Silas and Freddy, back to life by doing in-depth research. Abrams does this using various sources, including the cemetery's record, familysearch.org, and newspapers.com.
The tombstones include those who passed away from the 1700s to the early 1900s. To clean them, Abrams scrubs the gravestones using D2.
After two months of sharing these videos online, the TikToker quickly rose to online fame. Abrams has collected around 984,000 followers.
The TikToker hypothesized that her clip's popularity could be due to how desensitized to death people have become. Historically it used to be a part of the everyday experience, but now it occurs in hospitals, far away from society, she expressed:
"It does mean that we, especially younger generations, keep death at something of a distance."
As for the viewer's perspective, many commenting on the Silas TikTok video expressed a sort of revitalization as they watched the tombstone getting cleansed. The clip has gathered just under 5 million likes.
While Abrams' interaction with those who have passed is calm and respectful, some are downright terrified. This fear primarily occurs when they experience something that they perceive as paranormal.
In Glasgow, Scotland, Maxine Hughes called a priest to bless her home after checking CCTV camera footage. The clip initially shows an average, quiet day in Hughes' garden and the neighborhood.
A dark, ghost-like figure then appears in the scene, circling its way throughout their yard. The video was shared online and became viral, proving that just like the obsession with Abrams' TikToks, humans appear naturally drawn to the mystery of death.
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