Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cemetery Safety Bells & Death Mementos

During the cholera epidemic in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, people feared being buried when they weren't completely dead. Many reported digging up graves of loved ones to find signs they fought inside the coffin to get out. As this would nearly be an impossibility with the weight of the earth on the coffin and lack of oxygen, the rumors did start hysteria. Patents were put out for these bells that would allow the newly awakened buried person to pull a string, ring a bell above ground that the groundskeeper could hear. Imagine how freaking chilling that would be to actually hear one go off? I had an idea for a zombie story about that but never got around to it.

The first recorded safety coffin was constructed on the orders of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick before his death in 1792. He had a window installed to allow light in, an air tube to provide a supply of fresh air, and instead of having the lid nailed down he had a lock fitted. In a special pocket of his shroud he had two keys, one for the coffin lid and a second for the tomb door.

Glendale, CA: GLENDALE - For sale: 123-year-old, padlocked cemetery with overgrown weeds and the remains of 40,000. Fire Department says it's a hazard, city says it's a public nuisance. Fixer-upper. Owner must sell. $1 million, or best offer. Any takers? State officials are forcing the sale of embattled Grand View Memorial Park after finding that late owner Marsha Howard resold grave plots, improperly disposed of the cremated remains of thousands of people and left the once-sparkling mausoleum and its surrounding property in shambles. David Baum, attorney for principal owner Moshe Goldsman, said his client has sent out fliers and hired a real estate attorney to sell the cemetery. But so far, nothing.

Want something super creepy? How about gruesome embalming and mortuary pics?

Want to buy a piece of a cemetery? How about popular architectural salvage stores like Relics in Phoenix where they often times get headstones from cemeteries.

How about a vintage wheelchair like the one in "The Changeling"?

Hair wreaths
from the 1800s were popular mementos. Hair from the deceased was woven and put into a picture frame.

From headstones to rusted gates, old stone statues and mortuary tools, from coffins you can make into coffin tables to old gurneys that can be turned into buffet tables, there are a lot of inspiring and creepy cemetery-related items one can collect. Oh, and if you're into magic spells, don't forget your coffin nails and graveyard dirt!


  1. My son was telling me that in his science class they learnt about a company which makes diamonds out of post-cremation ashes. I looked it up online, and sure enough, that's just what they do. At first I thought it was bizarre, and humorous in a macabre sort of way, but then I decided that having Auntie Betty set into an heirloom ring isn't any weirder than having her in an urn on the mantelpiece.

  2. imagine walking through the graveyard and hearing one of those bells... ITS ALIVE!!!

  3. That would make an interesting scene in a zombie movie... walking through a graveyard on a foggy night when, one by one, bells start ringing... first one, far off... then another, closer... then two more, so close they can be seen.

  4. ohh wow those are creepy.. no wonder people are afraid of graveyards and such ideas as zombies came about!