Tombstone Trickery: The Fractivist Descent Into Darkness

cost of renewables - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


Fractivist opponents of the Atlantic Sunrise have descended deep into darkness with an episode of vile tombstone trickery disrespectful of living and dead.

How much more vile can the fractivist cause get? First, there were the outrageous exaggerations and lies. Then, came the foul-mouthed bleating of fractivist heroes accorded celebrity status by an empathetic and biased press, not to mention the junk science, the ridiculous stunts and the vicious propaganda. Now, though, the fractivist cause, such as it is, has descended deeper than ever into darkness with something so vile it’s disrespectful to all human beings. They have engaged in tombstone trickery.


Think I’m kidding? I’m not.

The story is reported in Lancaster Online as if it was merely some sort of harmless prank (emphasis added):

Can a fake cemetery stop the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline?

No, but some pranksters got the laugh they wanted.

A half-dozen old tombstones planted in the ground adjacent to the pipeline right of way near Conestoga had, until last week, been determined to be an historic farm family graveyard.

The pipeline owner, Oklahoma-based Williams, along with state historic officials, had drawn up plans to carefully protect the spot when work began.

The false graveyard was well known among local anti-pipeline forces, who have been smirking about it.

But the running  joke was outed at a state public hearing in Lancaster on June 12.

There, Robin Maguire, a Conestoga Township resident and Native American activist, held up the fake graveyard as evidence that the pipeline builder wasn’t qualified to recognize and protect the county’s real cultural resources.

Maguire insists she had nothing to do with the building of the faux cemetery. But she admits she didn’t offer the truth to Williams’ archaeological crews in late March when they came across the tombstones and set about documenting the cemetery.

Maguire was watching them.

“Why should I? Let them spend a little more money,” she said when asked why she didn’t approach the crew with the truth.

The fake graveyard is located on the property of Linda Like. Like says she was approached about allowing the graveyard as part of a Halloween photo shoot and gave her permission.

And the set turned out pretty realistic, based on the reaction of Williams’ archaeological consultants and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

In March, the Cincinnati-based consulting firm URS/AECOM hired by Williams was searching the pipeline right of way looking for any Native American or other historical resources to be avoided, as required by law.

Sure enough, they saw the six marble tombstones, some leaning.

The tombstones looked real because they are. Maguire said the initialed grave markers came from a storage shed at a Conestoga-area cemetery.

Likely from the 19th century, they were used as temporary markers until, and if, families had permanent ones made.

The consultants concluded they had found an historic farm family graveyard that needed to be fenced off and carefully avoided during construction. Williams also planned to narrow the construction corridor where the cemetery is located.

They sent their report and recommendations to the Historical and Museum Commission, which agreed.

We’re supposed to take Native American culture seriously when a “Native American activist” supposes it’s just fine to engage in such tombstone trickery using the grave markers of others? That’s the real joke here and it’s an especially cruel one, which tells us this fractivist couldn’t care less about that which she professes to care so deeply. Moreover, the suggestion the marble tombstones had merely been temporary stones is highly questionable. They could just as easily be fallen stones and using them as part of a “Halloween prank” is beyond disrespectful — it’s disgraceful.

The comments to the Lancaster Online post, which itself was anything but serious, provide further insight into the mind of the fractivist:

Enough is enough! This story is blown way out of proportion. Certain people and the media have tried to turn this into some sort of sensationalism of which there is no basis for it. This is simply mis communication on the part of both parties. There was no malice or intent involved here. People make mistakes, we are not perfect. Let’s not throw all the hard work being done under the bus because of one incident. I hope as people, we are stronger than that and we can certainly agree to disagree on different interpretations put on this. There’s no need for labeling because of a mistake that was made. I hope we can all agree with that at least. I hope we can now put this matter to bed and move on.

No malice or intent? Then what was that comment about making Williams spend more money? And, what were they smirking about? Another commenter raises the relevant questions:

Linda Like prefers to put this matter to bed but serious questions remain. Who has access to the storage shed at the cemetery where these private head stones from the 19th century were stored? Who authorized the removal? Why were they allowed to access private head stones and maintain that access for six months?

Those are good questions, aren’t they? We might also ask why the original version of the story on Lancaster Online referred to “some pranksters [getting] the laugh they wanted.” It’s clear neither the reporter nor the “pranksters” have the slightest respect for cemeteries, though they’d all scream bloody murder had Williams ignored a Native American cemetery. This sort of double-standard is the problem with much of journalism today, of course, but the cavalier fractivist attitude on display here is nothing less than despicable, to say nothin of the hypocrisy. Fractivism has descended into darkness.


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