That recent post about the Bacon coffin was a bit of a let down honestly (not saying it was a bad post, it was very funny and interesting), but when I clicked the link to look at it I was expecting a coffin more like the coffins from Ghana (honestly just look up "ghana coffins"). Those coffins are amazing, and you can honestly just request any shape you want. There was a QI episode about it (the 'gothic' I believe) and you could do a cool post about it. Cheers.
I totally agree with you. Bacon Coffin is fucking lame.
It’s basically just Swirly-Painted-Red-and-Pink Regular Coffin.
P.S. I hope to do a Ghana coffin post sometime in the future.
"It seemed kind of kitschy and 50′s until it started talking about how ten thousand bodies would need 5.5 acres of space to spread out and probably half would be unrecognizable due to disfigurement from injury and fire. That’s when SHIT GOT REAL."
“In the email announcing the Bacon Coffin, Justin and Dave added, “Don’t you judge us, after baconlube [bacon flavored personal lubricant], we all knew it was just going to keep getting weirder. And yeah, your [sic] right we’re probably going to hell for this one.””—MSNBC.com: "A coffin for bacon lovers to die for"
Death; time; the cutting off of life; an attribute of Chronos/Saturn and of the figures of the Reaper and Death. The scythe also symbolizes the harvest which, in turn, implies death and rebirth, the destructive and creative powers of the Great Mother.
The thought of designing an apparatus to stimulate death by electrocution first came to dentist Dr. Albert Southwick in 1881, who watched a drunk man touch the terminal of an electricity generator in Buffalo, New York. Impressed at how quickly and painlessly the man died, he mentioned the incident to his friend, a state senator, who promptly brought the matter to the attention of the governor. The state legislature was then asked to consider how modern day electricity might emerge as an alternative to the often grisly process of hanging, in which incompetent executioners often inadvertently subjected prisoners to slow deaths by strangulation or decapitation.
“'I’m not sure MRI can prove that someone who is dead (or a mummy) won’t come back to life. As a scientist, you simply have to say such events are extraordinarily rare. As a believer, you can say whatever you’d like; I’m a believer, so I do believe that people will live again … but I won’t try to use MRI to convince you of that position.' Sorenson is a nice, friendly guy, and I hope for his sake that God is not a cat lover.”—"The Evolution of Death" by Dick Teresi (salon.com).
To ensure a son’s contentment in the afterlife, some grieving parents will search for a dead woman to be his bride and, once a corpse is obtained, bury the pair together as a married couple. […]
Villagers and Mr. Yang, the funeral director, said a family searching for a female corpse typically must pay more than 10,000 yuan, or about $1,200, almost four years of income for an average farmer. Families of the bride regard the money as the dowry they would have received had death not intervened.
Many Hong Kongers believe that the ghosts of people who died violently, thanks to an accident, murder, or suicide, haunt their former residences and bring bad fortune to the new occupants. As in the US, Hong Kong home sellers are required to disclose whether the previous resident died in the home, and potential buyers do rigorous background checks less they get stuck with a vengeful spirit. The superstition is so pervasive that prices on haunted homes can be 20-40 percent below market.
Saint Hubert (ca. 656 - 727), the first Bishop of Liège (in present-day Belgium), is the patron saint of hunters, archers, dogs, forest workers, trappers, mathematicians, opticians, metalworkers, and smelters. He was venerated widely during the Middle Ages.
The body of Saint Hubert … was exhumed in 825 from St Peter’s in Liège, a church he founded, and moved to the Abbey of Andagium, St-Hubert-des-Ardennes. Though long dead, his body was undecayed, proving his sainthood to the figures gathered to watch.
The Abbey of Andagium became a popular pilgrimage site, but the saint’s remains disappeared during the Reformation.
Sidenote One: Saint Hubert—like another patron saint of hunters, Saint Eustace—has traditionally been associated with the image of a deer with a cross between its antlers. His conversion legend has it that after his wife died in childbirth, Hubert retreated to the Ardennes and devoted himself entirely to hunting. From Wikipedia:
On Good Friday morning, when the faithful were crowding the churches, Hubert sallied forth to the chase. As he was pursuing a magnificent stag or hart, the animal turned and, as the pious legend narrates, he was astounded at perceiving a crucifix standing between its antlers, while he heard a voice saying: “Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell.”
The Saint Hubert deer might look familiar. It appears here:
Sidenote Two: Up until the early twentieth century, folks invoked Saint Hubert to cure rabies, using a metal tool known as a “Saint Hubert’s Key”:
[Saint Hubert’s Keys] took the form of a bar, nail or cross that was either carried or attached to a wall of a home for added protection. A priest would prick the forehead of a person with rabies and a black bandage would be applied for nine days while the heated key was placed on the body where the bite had occurred. This could actually help because if the heated key was applied immediately it could cauterise and sterilize the wound, effectively killing the rabies virus.
Images, top to bottom:
"The Exhumation of Saint Hubert" by Rogier Van der Weyden and workshop, late 1430s, via Wikipedia.
This post from the Dissection Room over on The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice (an entire blog devoted to “the horrors of pre-anaesthetic surgery”!) is about a condition known as craniopagus parasiticus and the case of an 18th-century Bengali boy:
The normal face and head were not malformed. The brains were distinct, each invested in its own membranes; the dura mater of each adhered to that of the other at the point of contact. The chief supply of blood to the upper head was by a number of vessels passing from the membranes of one brain to that of the other. The movements of the features of the upper head appear to have been purely reflex, and by no means to have been controlled by the feelings or desires of the child. The movements of the eyes of the accessory head did not correspond with those of the child, and the eyelids were usually open, even during sleep.
His skull(s) now reside(s) at the Royal College of Surgeons in London.
“This and other physical aspects of the pits created permafrost, which preserved much of the organic matter in the graves — though looting long ago disturbed permafrost conditions. Still, enough survived of bones, hair, nails and some flesh to tell that some of the bodies had tattoos and had been embalmed. Hair of the buried men had been cut short and covered with wigs.”—“Artifacts Show Sophistication of Ancient Nomads,” New York Times.
Did you know there are mummies in Korea? I didn’t, until I found this article from 2007 on National Geographic. (Apparently, archaeologists didn’t, either, until the bodies started showing up, as old cemeteries were moved to make way for new houses in the recent construction boom.)
This person lived about 500 years ago and was found in South Korea. According to National Geographic, the mummification is perhaps the result of a burial practice that evolved in 14th-century Korea:
"The people believed the body should dissolve in a natural manner, without external factors such as worms," said Mark Spigelman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is known for his pioneering studies of ancient diseases found on mummified bodies around the world.
"This is why they developed a special burial custom."
The method involves laying a body on ice for 3 to 30 days during mourning, placing the corpse inside an inner and an outer pine coffin surrounded by the deceased’s clothes, and covering the coffin in a lime soil mixture.
"In some cases, this inadvertently resulted in extremely good natural mummification," Spigelman added. "They didn’t expect mummification and, in fact, that’s the one thing they wouldn’t want."
This method—unlike the artificial (and brittle-making) mummification processes used in ancient Egypt—resulted in mummies that are relatively pliable, with better preserved DNA. Researchers were even able to take samples from one mummy of the virus that causes hepatitis B, which could pave the way for research that might help modern-day sufferers of the disease.
I recently realized how cheap domain names could be, so last week I bought a domain name for one of my other Tumblrs, one that gets only a fraction of the traffic that this Tumblr gets. Even so, I like having it, and it feels simpler and more “official.” (As much as I love the Tumblr platform, I’d really prefer for “.tumblr.com” not to weigh down the URLs of my blogs.)
Why haven’t I gotten a domain name for this Tumblr?
Well, I’ve hit a bit of a conundrum. I started this blog almost a year ago as a way to share my interest in things like bog bodies, catacombs, and exhumations, not thinking I’d end up with many (or any) readers. Sadly, I didn’t put too much thought (or research) into the naming of the thing. I called it “The Ossuary” because ossuaries are interesting, and ossuary is just a pretty neat word. (Also, “theossuary” wasn’t yet taken on Tumblr, and “ossuary” was.)
I should have done my homework, because it turns out there are a handful of what appear to be well established sites on the Web known as “The Ossuary”:
ossuary.com: Called “The Ossuary.” Nicely designed site; interesting, morbid content.
the-ossuary.com: Also called “The Ossuary.” This appears to be a concert photographer’s site.
If you type in theossuary.com, you get redirected to a site called “Best Horror Movies.” Appears to be a well established forum for horror movie fans.
So, I’m starting to wonder if I should change the name of this site. I want a name that represents this blog creatively and relevantly—a name that I can easily use as a “name.com” domain, but one that doesn’t step on anyone else’s toes or risk being confused with someone else’s site.
Here’s why I’m writing this: I’d really like to hear your opinions. Do you think changing the name really matters or could possibly confuse people? I’m thinking I should probably keep my Tumblr-based URL as theossuary.tumblr.com, but this could redirect to the new domain.
What do you guys think? And what do you think I ought to call it? (Send me a Tumblr message, email me at theossuaryblog [at] gmail [etc], or reply here.)
Find out why wheat became a popular (and versatile) symbol in the art of mourning in this article on Art of Mourning:
Wheat has its symbolism baked deeply into the Bread of the Eucharist (Mark 14:22-24), a motif resonant of everlasting life through the belief in Jesus, this is when the motif is bundled with grapes. Within funeral art, we must also consider that wheat within the divine harvest would eventually be reaped (note the link back to the memento mori scythe symbol), denoting the life cut and the renewal (or resurrection) of the soul. […]
Another reason for its popularity is that the wheat sheaf was one of the simpler and more decorative weaves when tableworking hair. As such, it can be found in mourning wreaths, brooches, lockets, rings, woven with gold wire, feathered or simply glued into position. Because of this versatility, wheat became more of a prominent symbol, particularly in the 1820s-60s, in hairwork, rather than a secondary symbol (though it was used for this purpose as well).
When they were young, Patricia and Joan Miller sang and danced for Bing Crosby, troops and their friends. […] Never married and without children or pets, the Miller sisters withdrew into four-bedroom home in California’s South Lake Tahoe, where they were found dead last week at the age of 73. One was in a downstairs bedroom and the other was in the hallway just outside.