(funeral memento - above - with woven hair of the dead included)
Giving up our dead is never an easy task and it doesn't matter what region of the world or what era you grew up in, it's full of rituals and also many superstitions. Let's have a look at how we have handled death -
(cemetery bell system - above)
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.
Sometimes, a cemetery goes up for sale - imagine living on one -
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?
How about popular architectural salvage stores like Relics in Phoenix where they often times get headstones from cemeteries and old physician's items and more.
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.
Looking for antique cemetery items? Try here.
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 spells!
Superstitions surrounding death abounded in the Victorian Era. Here's just some -
People were buried with heads to the west, feet to the east, supposedly in deference to the judgment coming from the east.
Children's coffins were white.
When someone dies, every living thing, even pets, coming into the house had to have a black ribbon tied to them.
The sound of thunder following a burial means the deceased's soul made it to heaven.
If they lived a good life, the deceased's grave will grow flowers. If it grows weeds, they lived an evil life.
If a picture falls from a wall, that person is the next to die.
Death has always dogged us from the moment we are born. Some are very aware of, others forget that is the final outcome on the mortal stage. If Death wants to find someone, It won't need a superstitious amulet or practice to keep it away. It will march forward regardless of the practices of the living. These dark reminders from our past's handling of death can help us to remember to focus on the content of life, rather than the ending of it.
**Tomorrow's post "How to Recognize and Utilize Spirit Energy"**