Solar cross popular in cemeteries

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AIKEN --- After dark, cemeteries usually fade into the night, rarely given a second thought or glimpse in the glare of city lights.

But Aiken cemeteries are brighter in the evenings. What appears as a blue haze, almost like an eerie fog, becomes a cross or an angel as one nears a grave site.

Eternal Light Cross began shipping its products from Alabama throughout the Southeast in 2005 and has seen inquiries pick up.

The solar crosses and angels gather energy during the day. At night, they give off light from the solar energy, illuminating their plots.

"People don't have to get out of their cars to come by and see their loved ones," said Diana Bouton, the manager of Southlawn Cemetery and Memorial. "They've just gotten more popular in the past year because more people see them."

Cemeteries in Aiken and Upstate South Carolina are popular for sales, said Gabe Fikes, the owner of Eternal Light Cross, but they haven't caught on in the Augusta area. Several Augusta-area cemetery managers said they had never heard of the product.

The devices, which cost about $30 to $35, are sold mostly to funeral homes and wholesale stores. Only one grocery store in Aiken -- the Bi-Lo at Pine Log and Silver Bluff roads -- carries them.

Mr. Fikes said the company sells more than 75,000 solar items a year.

"I saw something that I thought would work and it did," he said.

Solar crosses are the most popular in the Veterans Corner of Southlawn off Whiskey Road, Ms. Bouton said.

"If you think about the past, most people don't even want to go to a cemetery at night," she said. "But you go past and it has little crosses and angels all over the place -- it gives a warm and comforting feeling. Families love the way it looks."

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106 or julia.sellers@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (7) Add comment
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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/12/08 - 06:21 am
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What a wonderful idea. Mr

What a wonderful idea. Mr Fikes will become very wealthy.

auglaney
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auglaney 04/12/08 - 06:59 am
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Smaller versions of these

Smaller versions of these have came out in magazines. I hope that the man will not be sued by these companies. Good luck.

pablanco
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pablanco 04/12/08 - 03:52 pm
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a little weird that the

a little weird that the author is surprised that only one grocery store in the area carries these glow in the dark grave markers.

Give credit where due
2
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Give credit where due 04/13/08 - 12:59 am
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I hope that the grave

I hope that the grave robbers leave them alone , seems nothing is sacraed any more . I placed a ceramic angel on my mothers grave and someone stole it. I placed another on my sisters grave and it was taken also. Seems this is a growing thing , often flowers on a grave are taken , and not just one or two but the mast majority within an hour or so . It is a shame that people stoop so low as to steal from the dead.

wootchieone
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wootchieone 04/13/08 - 03:11 am
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Tacky!

Tacky!

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/13/08 - 10:00 am
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What's a little more night

What's a little more night light pollution? I guess it's better than being startled by flying plastic flowers hitting my car windshield when driving past Hillcrest cemetery on Deans Bridge Road. I guess people may think the flowers are being stolen, but dozens of arrangements go flying out of there on the windiest days. Why the plastic flowers anyway? I thought putting plastic flowers on graves was supposed to be tacky. It might be, but if it does your heart good to do it, if the cemetery rules allow it, that's fine with me. What's not fine with me is anyone stealing ANYTHING off a grave that a family member lovingly put there.

mgroothand
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mgroothand 04/13/08 - 01:07 pm
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Anyone placing a solar cross

Anyone placing a solar cross or plastic flowers or any such tacky items on my grave, I would come and haunt them for the rest of their life.

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