Final Dreams

When I began experimenting with my infrared camera a while back, I knew there was a specific spot I needed to visit again: an old pioneer cemetery near Cookstown, Ontario. View large!

This image is a vertical panorama false-colour infrared. This old cemetery had such a beautiful canopy of trees when I first found it in 2010, and I always wanted to visit it again. Infrared light is reflected in abundance by foliage, creating a glowing effect on the trees and the grass.

This old cemetery dates back to the time when this region was settled, the mid-1800s. As such, there are no people alive to today that remember the people who were buried here, and the place receives only a few visitors. The stories you can discover from the tombstones will tell some of their misfortunes.

My first time wandering around, I noticed something strange; of the children buried here, most of them died within the same year. Research shows that a diphtheria outbreak had claimed their lives. Diphtheria has largely been eradicated by vaccine, with the last case in North America occurring a decade ago. The troubles of the pioneers were many, I’m not sure how they had the strength to survive.

Another curious tombstone said something to the tune of “Lost on ‘The Asia'”. As it turns out, The Asia was a streamer on Georgian Bay that sank in a storm and lost all hands, except for two teenagers. It was the biggest lost of life on Georgian Bay, and I don’t think the shipwreck has ever been found. More information can be found here.

We don’t have much history in this part of the world, and none of it was taught to me in school. By exploring what’s left of the past, I uncover clues and find motivation to learn more.

They say that ghosts can appear in infrared images, beyond the capabilities of human vision. If that’s true (and there is zero proof that it is), then everyone here is peacefully at rest.

click image for larger version