BEDFORD, Va. – A woman from Bedford, Virginia is TikTok famous.
Alicia Williams isn’t singing, dancing, posting cute puppy videos or baking. She’s sharing graveyard videos, showing the process of how she cleans old, seemingly forgotten headstones -- and most of her clips have gone viral.
She’s known to get millions of views from across the internet. Here’s some of her work:
That dry shot tho. 🥰Are y'all still liking these? 🤔#res#pect #dea#d #gra#veyard #sto#ne #sat#isfying #lad#ytaphos♬ original sound - Alicia
Her transformative videos are garnering praise from around the world, and they’re even inspiring others to follow suit.
Bringing new life to an old cemetery, and cleaning gravestones, isn’t Williams’ day job, but her love of genealogy and the need for a positive outlet turned her into quite the “good cemeterian.”
In Williams’ spare time, she enjoys walking through graveyards in the Bedford area, rejuvenating the moss-covered markers.
“This is what I love,” Williams said. This is my passion.”
It’s a passion that, on a whim, she captured on video and posted to TikTok under her username, “ladytaphos.” Little did she know, that video would quickly go viral -- viewed millions of times from people around the world.
“I was excited a few hours later at 2,000 views. My daughter is sending me texts, ‘Mom, I can’t believe how great this is.’ When I woke this up the next morning, it had eight and a half million -- which kind of blew my mind,” Williams said.
Here’s another example:
A very basic (and silent) tutorial. I'm working on my camera shyness for y'all. 🙈#s#atisfying #s#tone #f#oryou #c#leaning #l#adytaphos♬ original sound - Alicia
Williams never expected to get this kind of response.
The headstone work started as a therapeutic outlet at a turbulent time in her life when she was going through a divorce, she said.
“I took to it like a duck in water,” Williams said. “It was just something that I found that healed me and was helping me navigate through those really difficult situations.”
Thousands of viewers from around the world have commented about how calming it is to watch the process.
“It is soothing. There is something nice about watching a rejuvenation,” Williams said.
One of her most-watched videos is a tribute to a World War I Army veteran, Mr. Herbert Wheeler, who now has a fresh headstone, much more fitting for someone who has served our country.
There’s something very satisfying about hundreds of years of dirt being wiped clean, revealing a story long left untold.
Williams has always done this on a volunteer basis, but said she’s had people reach out asking to hire her to clean a loved one’s gravestone.
Her videos have also inspired a lot of people to take this up as a hobby, but Williams emphasized, it’s important to get permission always, and do your research on the proper way to clean off these types of headstones.
Williams said she uses D2 Biological Solutions to clean the stones, along with water. Never use a pressure washer, she added.
We’ll leave you with one final video.
I needed to see this progress today. ##myhobby ##fyp ##stone ##cemetery ##therapy ##sad ##lonely ##healing ##ladytaphos♬ original sound - Alicia
This story was first published in 2020.