Arts & culture

Halloween but make it historical

The latest TikTok trend unearthing the world’s most enigmatic cemeteries

Scotland isn’t short of atmospheric and historically important cemeteries – drawing in locals and tourists alike with their ornate headstones and notable graves.

If you’re in the mood for some past life exploration combining history, culture and a dash of the supernatural, this new TikTok trend is sure to pique your interest. Led by BBC documentary filmmaker and former model Jono Namara, the intriguing ‘#cemtok’ movement is taking the world by storm.

A unique way to explore the country’s most mysterious cemeteries, the #cemtok trend sees Namara offer viewers a glimpse into the world of notable graves with a touch of humour, style and intellectual curiosity with his TikTok series Cemetery Safari (@cemeterysafari).

Jono’s journey into the world of cemetery exploration began with a video of his visit to the tomb of Oscar Wilde at the renowned Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. “There’s a raunchy urban legend about his grave, and I suddenly felt a pressing need to share it with the world,” Jono explains. Overwhelmed by the interest and engagement that followed, Cemetery Safari was born.

Cemetery Safari isn’t just about history; Namara adds a touch of Savile Row tailoring, rapier wit and the demeanour of an English gentleman to create content that’s refreshingly different from the typical TikTok fare. Born and raised in North London, Jono’s unconventional journey began with a passion for history and culture, ignited during his childhood when he was a member of the Young Archaeologists Society.

Today, he creates documentaries for the BBC exploring a wide range of topics – including the impact of social media on how we process death and the evolution of celebrity culture.

Scotland’s Most Enigmatic Cemeteries

Boasting a rich history and scenic setting, here are some Scottish locations to start exploring:

  1. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh: This historic cemetery is known for its touching tales, including the legendary Greyfriars Bobby. The atmosphere is rich with history and mystery.
  2. Stirling Old Town Cemetery, Stirling: Nestled beneath Stirling Castle, this cemetery offers incredible views and a tranquil ambiance. It’s a perfect place to connect with Scotland’s past.
  3. Glasgow Necropolis, Glasgow: Perched on a hill overlooking Glasgow, this sprawling necropolis is a testament to the Victorian era’s fascination with death. The grand monuments and elaborate tombstones make it a captivating destination.
  4. Iona Abbey, Isle of Iona: This small island cemetery is steeped in history, with ancient graves dating back centuries. The serene surroundings and spiritual significance add to the allure.
  5. Kilmartin Glen, Argyll: This picturesque glen is not just a cemetery but a vast archaeological site with ancient stone circles, standing stones, and burial mounds. It’s a true treasure trove of Scotland’s history.

To join Jono on his Cemetery Safari and delve into the world of #cemtok, follow him on TikTok (@cemeterysafari) and Instagram (@jononamara)