I saw the Halloween prop gravestone, below left, and had a laugh at the idea of a “Last Stop Cemetery.” But the image of the skull perched above the wings struck a visual memory, and it had me walking home wondering if my hunch that this was a historically accurate reference was correct.
What triggered the recognition of this symbol was the accidental discovery two years ago of a Revolutionary War-era cemetery right in plain view of every day life in the middle of Orange, NJ. It was a walled-in church on the corner of Main Street that I was driving by almost every day to take my son to summer camp, and one day I pulled over to take a look, and found a graveyard filled with tombstones from the mid-to-late 1700’s, including many who were noted as fighting in the Revolutionary War. As you can see, however, this poor chap Stephen Cundia actually died before the Revolutionary War began, but it’s still quite an amazing artifact to see some 249 years later.
But back to my original point about the skull and wings – as you can see from this example from 1765, it was something used long before anyone started making Halloween props, and there were many more just like this one spread throughout this cemetery in Orange. So, I’ll tip my hat to the Halloween prop-maker for at least throwing in some historical accuracy in his “Last Stop” tombstone.