R.I.P. Dennis and Mary. Wish I could see the Gorey-illustrated edition.From an old family history sent to me by my great-aunt. Also from the annals: Flora Hazel Markham, b. 1891 in New Brunswick, Canada. She died in 1906 at the age of 15: “She was pushed down by some boys at school and had snow put down her dress and soon after developed the pneumonia that caused her death.”

R.I.P. Dennis and Mary. Wish I could see the Gorey-illustrated edition.

From an old family history sent to me by my great-aunt. Also from the annals: Flora Hazel Markham, b. 1891 in New Brunswick, Canada. She died in 1906 at the age of 15: “She was pushed down by some boys at school and had snow put down her dress and soon after developed the pneumonia that caused her death.”

Boxwood statuette of Death holding an egg-timer.German, 18th century; from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Boxwood statuette of Death holding an egg-timer.

German, 18th century; from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Since exhumations are all the rage right now, I thought I’d share my favorite: Elizabeth Siddal, artist and model to the Pre-Raphaelites.Siddal died of a laudanum overdose at the age of 32 in 1862 in London. Her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, left a journal containing the only copies of many of his poems in her coffin, tucking it away in her famous red hair.
Rossetti, drug- and alcohol-addled by the end of the 1860s, became obsessed with retrieving those poems so that he could publish them. Or, it seems, Rossetti’s agent, the slightly (or totally) shady Charles Augustus Howell, became obsessed with this. In any case, Howell exhumed her coffin in the middle of the night at Highgate Cemetery. Howell reported back to Rossetti that she was remarkably well preserved and still beautiful. Whether this was actually true or not, the manuscript didn’t make it out so well preserved. A worm had burrowed through the entire book, leaving behind a big old wormhole.
More here and here.
Image: Siddal as “Ophelia,” by John Everett Millais, 1852, via Wikipedia/Google Art Project.

Since exhumations are all the rage right now, I thought I’d share my favorite: Elizabeth Siddal, artist and model to the Pre-Raphaelites.

Siddal died of a laudanum overdose at the age of 32 in 1862 in London. Her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, left a journal containing the only copies of many of his poems in her coffin, tucking it away in her famous red hair.

Rossetti, drug- and alcohol-addled by the end of the 1860s, became obsessed with retrieving those poems so that he could publish them. Or, it seems, Rossetti’s agent, the slightly (or totally) shady Charles Augustus Howell, became obsessed with this. In any case, Howell exhumed her coffin in the middle of the night at Highgate Cemetery. 

Howell reported back to Rossetti that she was remarkably well preserved and still beautiful. Whether this was actually true or not, the manuscript didn’t make it out so well preserved. A worm had burrowed through the entire book, leaving behind a big old wormhole.

More here and here.

Image: Siddal as “Ophelia,” by John Everett Millais, 1852, via Wikipedia/Google Art Project.


None can narrate that strife in the pines,A seal is on it — Sabaean lore!Obscure as the wood, the entangled rhymeBut hints at the maze of war —Vivid glimpses or livid through peopled gloom, And fires which creep and char —A riddle of death, of which the slainSole solvers are.

—Herman Melville, “The Armies of the Wilderness” 
Image: Skulls remaining on the field and trees destroyed at the Battle of the Wilderness, 1864, Virginia. Source: Wikipedia.

None can narrate that strife in the pines,
A seal is on it — Sabaean lore!
Obscure as the wood, the entangled rhyme
But hints at the maze of war —
Vivid glimpses or livid through peopled gloom,
And fires which creep and char —
A riddle of death, of which the slain
Sole solvers are.

Herman Melville, “The Armies of the Wilderness” 

Image: Skulls remaining on the field and trees destroyed at the Battle of the Wilderness, 1864, Virginia. Source: Wikipedia.

Smithsonian.com: The Great New England Vampire Panic

Exhumations! Shenanigans! Connecticut! Read all about it:

Children playing near a hillside gravel mine found the first graves. One ran home to tell his mother, who was skeptical at first—until the boy produced a skull.

Because this was Griswold, Connecticut, in 1990, police initially thought the burials might be the work of a local serial killer named Michael Ross, and they taped off the area as a crime scene. But the brown, decaying bones turned out to be more than a century old. The Connecticut state archaeologist, Nick Bellantoni, soon determined that the hillside contained a colonial-era farm cemetery. New England is full of such unmarked family plots, and the 29 burials were typical of the 1700s and early 1800s: The dead, many of them children, were laid to rest in thrifty Yankee style, in simple wood coffins, without jewelry or even much clothing, their arms resting by their sides or crossed over their chests.

Except, that is, for Burial Number 4.

Read more. Via Powered by Osteons.

The Great New England Vampire Panic

Photo by Landon Nordeman, Smithsonian.com.

Lydia Dwight Dead; made by John Dwight’s Fulham Pottery; England; 1674. Source: V&A Museum.

One of the earliest experiments in European ceramic sculpture, this object was commissioned by the father of the dead child in order to capture her likeness and perpetuate her memory. It was a personal and private sculpture, reflecting the grief of the little girl’s family, and perhaps not intended for open display in the house. […]
Lydia Dwight was six years old when she died on 3 March 1674 (1673 by the Old Calendar). The fact that the next daughter was also christened Lydia does not suggest lack of grief on the part of the parents, but was usual practice in an age noted for its high infant mortality.

Lydia Dwight Dead; made by John Dwight’s Fulham Pottery; England; 1674. Source: V&A Museum.

One of the earliest experiments in European ceramic sculpture, this object was commissioned by the father of the dead child in order to capture her likeness and perpetuate her memory. It was a personal and private sculpture, reflecting the grief of the little girl’s family, and perhaps not intended for open display in the house. […]

Lydia Dwight was six years old when she died on 3 March 1674 (1673 by the Old Calendar). The fact that the next daughter was also christened Lydia does not suggest lack of grief on the part of the parents, but was usual practice in an age noted for its high infant mortality.

Photograph by Charles Van Schaick, undated. Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Source: Wisconsin Historical Society.

European American man layed out on a lounging sofa, dressed in a suit. Probably a corpse lying in state.

Photograph by Charles Van Schaick, undated. Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Source: Wisconsin Historical Society.

European American man layed out on a lounging sofa, dressed in a suit. Probably a corpse lying in state.

Wish I knew the backstory here.
Shanghai Corpse Backlog, December 1946. Photograph by John Florea for LIFE. Source: LIFE Photo Archive, hosted by Google.

Wish I knew the backstory here.

Shanghai Corpse Backlog, December 1946. Photograph by John Florea for LIFE. Source: LIFE Photo Archive, hosted by Google.

Image: A post-medieval skull with a coin in each eye orbit, excavated from Bethnal Green, London. Copyright AOC Archaeology.
Via Bones Don’t Lie: Coin in the Mouth or Shoe in the Coffin.
I focus on human, not animal, death on this site, but this was too human not to post. 
Cat burial scene, 1925. Weir, Québec. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

I focus on human, not animal, death on this site, but this was too human not to post.

Cat burial scene, 1925. Weir, Québec. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

“The Stubborn Child”

From the Brothers Grimm, translated by Jack Zipes:

Once upon a time there was a stubborn child who never did what his mother told him to do. The dear Lord, therefore, did not look kindly upon him, and let him become sick. No doctor could cure him and in a short time he lay on his deathbed. After he was lowered into his grave and covered over with earth, one of his little arms suddenly emerged and reached up into the air. They pushed it back down and covered the earth with fresh earth, but that did not help. The little arm kept popping out. So the child’s mother had to go to the grave herself and smack the little arm with a switch. After she had done that, the arm withdrew, and then, for the first time, the child had peace beneath the earth.

Found this here.
Morbid Anatomy: Saint Victoria and Saint Wittoria in Rome, or The Difficulties of Researching Catholic Artifacts

I am dying to know: Are those bones embedded in the waxworks?

Images: Relics (?) of Saint Vittoria, or Victoria in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome, by Morbid Anatomy.

This is George Mallory. Alive, in 1912.
Usually when I do my “This is So and So” posts, I show you a picture of them dead. That’s not the case here (though Dead George is a sight to behold): I like Alive George much, much better.
Mallory disappeared in 1924, on his third expedition to Mount Everest, along with his climbing partner, Andrew “Sandy” Irvine. It wasn’t until 75 years later, however, that Mallory’s body was discovered. On May 1, 1999, mountaineer Conrad Anker found Mallory’s frozen (and pretty much perfectly preserved) body on Everest. Here’s a video about it. It’s re-enact-y and overly dramatic, but it gives you an idea of how he was found.
From Wikipedia:

Within hours of beginning the search on 1 May, a frozen body was found by Conrad Anker at 26,760 feet (8,160 m) on the north face of the mountain. As the body was below where Irvine’s axe was found in 1933, the team expected the body to be Irvine’s, and were hoping to recover the camera that he had reportedly carried with him. They were surprised to find that name tags on the body’s clothing bore the name of “G. Mallory.” The body was remarkably well preserved, due to the mountain’s climate. The team could not locate the camera. Experts from Kodak have said that if a camera is ever found, there is some chance that its film could be developed to produce printable images, if extraordinary measures are taken.

Anker’s team held an Anglican service for Mallory and covered his body with a cairn. 
Image: George Mallory photographed at 38 Brunswick Square, London, age 25 or 26. Via Front Free Endpaper, whose post on Mallory is super, though NSFW (if you consider a very attractive man’s full back-al nudity NSFW).

This is George Mallory. Alive, in 1912.

Usually when I do my “This is So and So” posts, I show you a picture of them dead. That’s not the case here (though Dead George is a sight to behold): I like Alive George much, much better.

Mallory disappeared in 1924, on his third expedition to Mount Everest, along with his climbing partner, Andrew “Sandy” Irvine. It wasn’t until 75 years later, however, that Mallory’s body was discovered. On May 1, 1999, mountaineer Conrad Anker found Mallory’s frozen (and pretty much perfectly preserved) body on Everest. Here’s a video about it. It’s re-enact-y and overly dramatic, but it gives you an idea of how he was found.

From Wikipedia:

Within hours of beginning the search on 1 May, a frozen body was found by Conrad Anker at 26,760 feet (8,160 m) on the north face of the mountain. As the body was below where Irvine’s axe was found in 1933, the team expected the body to be Irvine’s, and were hoping to recover the camera that he had reportedly carried with him. They were surprised to find that name tags on the body’s clothing bore the name of “G. Mallory.” The body was remarkably well preserved, due to the mountain’s climate. The team could not locate the camera. Experts from Kodak have said that if a camera is ever found, there is some chance that its film could be developed to produce printable images, if extraordinary measures are taken.

Anker’s team held an Anglican service for Mallory and covered his body with a cairn. 

Image: George Mallory photographed at 38 Brunswick Square, London, age 25 or 26. Via Front Free Endpaper, whose post on Mallory is super, though NSFW (if you consider a very attractive man’s full back-al nudity NSFW).

Skeletons, mummies, bog bodies, exhumations. The dead, and what happens to them.

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Categories:
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