Cthulhu is really hard to spell

After all the family and presents and candy for breakfast, Jon and I headed up to Boston on Christmas Day. We wanted to do some sightseeing, something more culturally enriching than Pigeon Forge, TN.

It’s hard to find anything in Boston that we hadn’t visited already, but we did come up with one thing. In Copp’s Hill Cemetery in the North End, the family grave of Increase and Cotton Mather could be found. It’s in a hard-to-get-to neighborhood where it’s impossible to park and a pain in the ass to drive to- unless it’s Christmas Day and there’s virtually no traffic all over the city. Hence this was the perfect day to visit Cotton and Increase Mather for the first time.

Increase Mather was like, the King of Boston in his time, around the 1670’s or so. Increase’s son, Cotton, was more or less the King of Salem during the witch trials of 1690.

They weren’t terribly hard to find, but I was slightly disappointed in the condition of the tomb. I know it’s 300 years old and all, but it’s the family tomb of the most prominent dynasty of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Ah, well. Some people had given the Mathers some gifts. Now, we’ve visited a lot of notable tombstones in our time together, and it’s not unusual to see graves where people have left some kind of gift for the deceased.

For example, here’s Miss Baker the Monkey’s grave at the Huntsville US Space and Rocket Center. Lots of people had left her gifts.

MIss Baker

Another time we were at the grave of an unknown Wampanoag Indian woman on the Great Island Trail in Cape Cod. Her grave was showered with beautiful gifts on a daily basis:
Wampanoag Woman

But this was Increase and Cotton Mather’s tomb:
The Mathers

No flowers, bananas nor seabird bones for the Mathers. All they get are a couple of crummy pebbles. Even so, I wonder who was so moved by the lives of Cotton and/or Increase Mather to be moved to give them crappy gifts? Cotton especially, played an influential role in the torture, imprisonment and executions of lonely people branded as witches, guilty of not much more than being elderly or unpopular and thus easy targets for crowd persecution. Maybe the rocks were left there not as gifts, but as reminders of their roles in executions like that of Giles Corey, the man pressed to death by rocks on his chest.

The somewhat disappointing tomb of the Mathers was made up for by a discovery by Jon on a different tombstone. Remember this odd-looking grave in Duxbury, MA?


The Reverend Ichabod Wiswall was featured in a lot of internets three years ago, with people wondering what a Cthulhu was doing on a 300-year-old tombstone. When I found out that this tombstone was in Duxbury, one town over from my hometown, we went to find it.

But here at Copp’s Hill, on a tombstone only one year younger than Ichabod’s, was another Cthulhu tombstone. Man, that guy really got around in the first decade of the 1700s.

So, that was how we spent Christmas Day this year. Along with great times with family and Boston-friends, and a lucky visit from some Atlanta friends who happened to be in Boston that day as well. Really, that part was way better than our cold graveyard visit, but the pictures from those parts are kind of blurry. And lacking in cephalopods. But we had a wonderful visit this year and it was great to see everybody.