Atlas Obscura has partnered with Laurel Hill Cemetery to make Into the Veil- one of the most entertaining Halloween events that I have ever been to! I came across this event on Facebook Events and decided that I couldn’t miss this. This event was held once back in August and on Saturday September 23rd. These seem to be the only two events at this location for this year, but I’m hoping that they will schedule another one, since there was a great turnout. I will be checking up on this frequently and will post on Facebook if Into the Veil is scheduled again in Philly. However, they will most likely hold this event in 2018, as well. Fear not! Even if you have missed Into the Veil in Philly, they are holding this event at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY on Friday October 13 and Saturday October 14th. If you are interested, purchase tickets as soon as possible because I have a feeling this will sell out quickly. Here is this link for the tickets and more event info: www.atlasobscura.com/events/into-the-veil-2017
I am highly considering making the trip up to Brooklyn for the next Into the Veil event because I loved it so much! As beautiful as it is eerie, Into the Veil was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The entire section of the cemetery that Laurel Hill sectioned off for this event was lit up by thousands of small LED tea light candles and the occasional bonfire. Basically, you bring your flashlight and explore the cemetery in virtual darkness. This is no ordinary cemetery, though. Laurel Hill is filled with beautiful headstones, statues, and mausoleums (many are very large) of angels, celtic crosses, and unparalleled architecture. You are essentially walking through a huge outdoor art museum. It just happens to also be a burial ground.
Throughout the cemetery, you’ll find actors dressed up as ghosts and ghouls. There are dancers, contortionists, fire breathers, and musicians. Just explore until you happen upon one of these scenes, some are hidden amongst tombstones and others in clandestine mausoleums. You can hang out and watch each show for as long as you’d like and then begin exploring the graveyard to find the next surprise. Just in case you are wondering, this is not your typical Halloween attraction where actors jump out and scare you. It is also not gory, it is more about the exploration of the cemetery and the entertainment.
The Back Story: In 1836, Laurel Hill Cemetery was created by four partners: John Jay Smith, Nathan Dunn, Benjamin W. Richards, and Frederick Brown. The sad truth is that John Jay Smith’s daughter passed away and he had tremendous difficulty finding a place to lay her to rest. The city of Philadelphia already had a large population and it was continuing to grow rapidly. Cemeteries were full, something had to be done. Smith had a vision for this cemetery project: he wanted a space that was far from the hustle and bustle of the busy metropolis, that had no religious affiliation, and that had a lovely view. Laurel Hill Cemetery was born!
Located in North Philly, this National Historic Landmark is a real gem. Aside from the Into the Veil event, there are tours and events here year-round. This was my first visit, but I definitely plan on going back for other events and just to explore and photograph this unique beauty.
There are a lot of interesting things coming up for the Fall. Here is a link to Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Event/Tour Page: https://thelaurelhillcemetery.org/events
Keep in touch and stay tuned! I am an avid Halloweener, so I will be reviewing and photographing many spooky things in the coming weeks. I will definitely have some Halloween suggestions for you!