The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for December 2nd, 2009

Mt Zion 2- Palaces of Light

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Seeking to avoid the infantile menace of the odd and possibly mutated Maspeth children whose appearance filled him with an unguessable sense memory of pure terror, your humble narrator hurriedly entered the incredible locale of Mount Zion Cemetery. Located analagously to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Calvary Cemeteries, Mount Zion is 78 acres and holds a staggering 210,000 interments.

There are a few mausoleums here, but nowhere close to the multitudinous monuments found in nearby Calvary in number or ostentatious quality- however- the remarkably detailed metalwork on the doors of the Katcher monument demand notice and consideration from passersby. Click the photo below and check out the larger incarnations of it at our flickr page for a lot of detail.


The monuments contained within our gates are a window to the past and a connection to the future. The inscriptions on these memorials tells us of relationships; Cherished Mother, Father, Beloved Aunt or Uncle. They sadly pay tribute to those who have passed on before us while leaving behind remembrances sometimes in the form of a sepulcher photo. The use of these miniature photos was popular in Eastern Europe and the custom was continued here by the Jewish immigrants. These photos were images burnt into porcelain and glazed. The monuments themselves are of a time when cookie-cutter and factory turned out stones were unheard of. The tree of life signifying a person’s life cut too short and the infant graves with their sand stone markers topped off with images of little lambs are a small sampling of the way in which the dead were honored.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Extraordinarily engraved and artistically molded by sculptor’s hands, the remarkable monuments of Zion are provided with generations of patina courtesy of the city surrounding them. A caustic etching (manufactured by acid rain, air pollution, and that miasmic suggestion of  indescribable colours spreading around- and indeed- swirling within a nearby cataract of tears called the Newtown Creek) worms into and corrodes the metal. Once, there must have been a population of skilled metal artisans located in Blissville or nearby Maspeth.

from wikipedia

Since the Industrial Revolution, emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to the atmosphere have increased. In 1852, Robert Angus Smith was the first to show the relationship between acid rain and atmospheric pollution in Manchester, England. Though acidic rain was discovered in 1852, it was not until the late 1960s that scientists began widely observing and studying the phenomenon. The term “acid rain” was generated in 1972. Canadian Harold Harvey was among the first to research a “dead” lake. Public awareness of acid rain in the U.S increased in the 1970s after the New York Times promulgated reports from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire of the myriad deleterious environmental effects demonstrated to result from it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The older parts of the place are in fairly good repair, all things considered, but there are still subsidences and the occasional overturned headstone. In these older sections, where the deaths are listed as having occurred in the 1900’s or earlier, things are a little worse for wear. In defense of the organization though, signs of ancient and recent repair are everywhere, and several grounds keepers were observed as on duty and performing maintenance.


The blood and limbs of an individual are considered by Jewish law to be part of the human being. As such, they require burial. If the deceased was found with severed limbs, or with blood-stained clothes, both the limbs and the clothes must be buried with him.

If limbs were amputated during one’s lifetime, they require burial in the person’s future gravesite. If he does not own a plot as yet, or if he is squeamish in this regard, it should be buried in a separate plot, preferably near the graves of members of his family. The limbs are cleansed and placed in the earth. No observance of mourning is necessary.

Jewish law generally discourages contribution of one’s limbs to hospitals. If one has absolutely stipulated that a limb be donated for medical research, the question of following his will depends on many details, and requires rabbinic research. It is best, therefore, to consult an expert on Jewish law. At any rate, even if it were permitted, the limb would require burial when it is no longer in use by the medical institution.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Some of the older parts of Mount Zion, however, are deteriorating badly – as the same atmospheric and hydrological processes whose chemical actions are eating away at the metals also affect the stone and cement – but nowhere at Mount Zion are observed the sort of malefic horrors rumored to be playing out at the Bayside Cemetery further east (where exposed human remains and desecrated tombs have been found- click here).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A squirming mass was moving about the hole in the monument, but I couldn’t get close enough with the shallow zoom on my trusty G10. By the time I arrived close enough, only this last vanguard was visible, as his fellows had fled into the aperture (squamous, the loathsome reptile’s camouflage can be penetrated in the top left quadrant of this zoomed in enlargement).

One of my spells began just then and a swooning faint elevated my conscious center to the top of my head and then right down to my bottom which sat down on a section marker block. While resting, and remembering the unwholesome children whose menace remained just outside the cemetery gates, I noticed this sad scenario.


(document refers to 2004 budget- I’ve got photos of the floods they’re talking about in 2007, and the project has been concluded only this past summer of 2009)

54th Avenue is main entranceway to Mt. Zion Cemetery. Roadway is totally eroded and there is water flowing on this street on a regular basis. DEP investigated and found underground springs that allows for water to eminate through the road. Currently DDC is designing sewer replacement, new catch basins, etc., to alleviate this condition. The project must move forward so as to improve this road, eliminate the chronic water from underground springs, and to provide for a developed street safe for vehicular traffic and accessibility to the cemetery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What genuine manifestation of joy is excited within the sorts of people who commit this sort of vandalism escapes logic. All over Mt. Zion, indeed- throughout the Cemetery Belt- you see smashed portrait photos, toppled and broken stones, blasted out windows of stained glass. What sort of braying underworld of iconoclasts- savage atavists all- may run loose, here, in the Newtown Pentacle after dark? Could some ghoulish legion pray upon this place, and could it somehow be related to the large pored and scaly looking children whose malefic staring had hastened me into this place?  They seemed precluded from entering the cemetery, for some reason. Perhaps… this is where they wanted… me… to…


The general type of stone used in the grave marker should be identified as accurately as possible. Stones can be identified by first observing for crystals. If crystals are visible, the stone is likely a marble or granite. Granite is typically more strongly colored, has larger crystals, and is significantly harder than marble. If the stone contains visible grains of sand and has clearly defined layers, the stone is probably a sandstone. If the stone does not contain crystals or sand grains, it is likely to be either limestone, which is normally a light beige or brown color, or slate, which is often bluish with clearly defined layers.

Stone identification is not always this simple. Some limestones, for example, have semi-formed crystals that give it a marble- like appearance. Also, some sandstones are so finely grained  and buff in color that they resemble limestone.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

note: There are some things which you must never think about. Paranoia, jealousy- that sort of thing. A thought virus… or an emotional infection… you must never entertain these thoughts, lest they sour the meat in your head. Thinking these thoughts, the very eidelons of “a very bad idea”, can cause a psychotic break- and then “the Man” comes for you. Stop.

Your humble narrator, unfortunately, didn’t stop himself from thinking one of the “very bad ideas” whose generally loathsome and indescribable impression was shattered when a nearby pheasant suddenly shot into the air from behind a headstone. The shock of the sudden noise and movement overcame me, and that’s when I passed out in Mount Zion, on the tangled hilltop at Path number 13.

Encountered another one of these “very bad ideas” in researching this post – if you read this, you might go crazy- good luck:

also from

Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a non-invasive geophysical remote sensing device that utilizes the transmission of electromagnetic waves called radar. The electromagnetic waves are transmitted into the earth and are reflected by discontinuities or disruptions caused by changes in materials electrical properties. The discontinuities that do not follow natural patterns are called anomalies. GPR thus provides a nondestructive means of mapping subsurface objects and disturbances associated with human activity through the identification of anomalies. GPR surveys of burial grounds have been conducted to determine the presence or absence of anomalies related to the presence of potential unmarked graves within specific project areas. GPR allows cultural resource management (CRM) professionals to locate areas of interest within cemeteries without disturbing objects or the ground, enabling them to plan their site excavations and site management with minimal worry of disturbing or destroying unmarked burials. GPR systems collect geophysical data that provides information on the location of probable disturbances, such as grave shafts, based on the changes in soil properties within grave shafts and the surrounding soil. GPR data can also provide information on the existence or absence of caskets or burial chambers. Because GPR is a non-invasive method, it does not provide conclusive evidence that any anomalies identified during the survey are related to human burials. By comparing the data from known burials within a burial ground with data from areas with no grave markers, however, it is possible to identify unmarked grave locations by their similar data patterns.

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