They haven’t forgotten. For 70 years, the Dutch have come to a verdant U.S. cemetery outside this small village to care for the graves of Americans killed in World War II. On Sunday, they came again, bearing Memorial Day bouquets for men and women they never knew, but whose 8,300 headstones the people of the Netherlands have adopted as their own.
Pennsylvania's oldest and largest is 400 acres. The oldest in New Jersey is now "trapped in the 19th century." NYC turned many into parks. What happens when a cemetery goes under? [more inside]
Corpses are no longer decaying in many German cemeteries. Instead, the deceased become waxen, an uncanny process that has become so rampant it can no longer be ignored. When bodies don't decompose, their graves can't be reused -- a common practice in Germany. Contrary to many other countries, where final resting places are traditionally maintained in perpetuity, Germany recycles cemetery plots after a period of 15 to 25 years. Experience has shown that the earthly remains of the deceased rot away almost entirely in this amount of time, but only under favorable soil conditions.
The Gravekeeper’s Paradox The impermanency of stone is visible everywhere at Mount Auburn. One headstone Gallagher and I stop at has been sandwiched between two wooden braces a few feet away from its rectangular base. Both pieces were struck by a snowplow during the winter, and a few chips in the base form a scar that shines bright white against the old greenish-grey rock. Gallagher’s assistant, Steve Brown, is trying to glue the monument back together. “The whole stone used to be white like that. That’s an algae growing on it,” Gallagher says, pointing to the damage.
In the darkest hour of the AIDS epidemic, Ruth Coker Burks cared for hundreds of people whose families had abandoned them. Courage, love and the 30-year secret of one little graveyard in Hot Springs, Arkansas. [more inside]
If you're looking for a little mood music before and/or after watching a movie, you might enjoy the Cinespia experience at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Wikipedia). But if you're not likely to join the crowd in Los Angeles, you can recreate a part of that movie warm-up/cool-down experience with Cinespia's archive of mixes from various notable musicians. Their site currently lists 11 mixes from the likes of Cut Chemist, The Gaslamp Killer (previously), David Holmes and Carlos Niño, but if you dig into the Internet Archive, you can find 38 more mixes (including a good number of paired before-and-after mixes) from even more artists, set to a range of movies, classics both older (North by Northwest, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and newer (Bladerunner, The Big Lebowski).
Alison Atkin is a Ph.D. student in osteoarchaeology at the University of Sheffield, studying plague cemeteries. Her research is presented in this quirky, hand-drawn poster. Don't miss GIFs of the interactive panels at her blog, Deathsplanation.
Fans book burial plots to be near jazz greats. "Nearly all the 70 burial plots which were advertised for sale earlier this year in 'Jazz Corner' – right behind the shiny, granite gravestone of Miles Davis, etched with his trumpet and bearing the honorific 'Sir' to mark the knighthood bestowed on him by the Knights of Malta – have already been taken." Other jazz greats interred at Woodlawn: Celia Cruz, Illinois Jacquet, Duke Ellington. Jazz at Woodlawn, June 11, 2014; Photos from the concert. (Previously and previously, in comments.)
The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for the haunted Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's 1977 novel The Shining, has announced plans to dig up the pet cemetery on its grounds. [more inside]
In the 19th century, in Roermond, The Netherlands, lived a man who was Colonel of Cavalry, and a Protestant. He married a Catholic noblewoman (likely quite a scandal in a country which was heavily segregated along religious lines at the time). The husband died in 1880 and was buried on the Protestant side of the cemetery. When his wife died eight years later, she could not be buried next to him, as a wall separated the Catholic and Protestant sides. A novel, and rather touching, solution was found.
Funeral home director Peter Stefan: "This is what we do.... I'm burying someone who is dead." While protesters demonstrate in front of his funeral home, creating a burden for local law enforcement, Peter Stefan works the phones to find a cemetery willing to accept Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body and field media inquiries. Meanwhile, Tsarnaev's body is washed by his uncle in preparation for burial. No cemeteries agree to accept the body and plans to inter it at a prison fall through. Ultimately a "compassionate individual" steps forward so the saga can come to an end.
The Meta Bourneti spider is a rare slug eating spider, found throughout the UK and parts of Europe. It lives in complete darkness, and is usually found in caves. It was named European Spider of the Year in 2012. A cluster of them has been found to be living in the pitch black tombs of Highgate Cemetery
For a mere $65, headstone maker Quiring Monuments will add a QR barcode to a cemetery headstone and run a linked web site for five years. A Seattle cemetery manager says he is considering adding the codes to historical monuments and even trees.
The Gravestone Girls collect and reproduce aged New England cemetery art without damaging the original stones. Not able to attend any of their classes? In the meantime here are some do's and don'ts about collecting rubbings, via the Association for Gravestone Studies.
How top officials at Arlington National Cemetery violated Army guidelines -- and may have broken the law.Via. Salon.com Officials at Arlington National Cemetery have been quietly reserving particularly desirable parts of the burial grounds for VIPs. This violates Army regulations and federal law, which bar special burial arrangements for the powerful and well-connected and require that service members be buried in the next available plot at Arlington, regardless of rank or other factors.
Arlington National Cemetery has a problem. Covering 624 acres, the final resting place for 320,000 fallen, the Army can't keep track of where soldiers are buried.
American Houndsman is a site dedicated to showcasing vintage hound hunting. Back when hunters didn't have all the fancy equipment and gadgets of today, it was a time that hunting was simple. Fetch the dogs, the light, and the gun and off to the woods for a night's hunt. Features vintage photographs of beloved coon dawgs, even the ones still learning, and stories of hunting dogs in days gone by. There's even a coon dog cemetery where the best of the best are laid to rest. [more inside]
UrbEx: Bayside Acacia Cemetery, Queens. Most of this Jewish cemetery, which in the first half of the twentieth century housed many beautiful monuments [pdf] and large family mausoleums, is now in a frankly archaeological state of disrepair, as its congregation cannot afford to provide complete maintenance. [more inside]
浄閑寺—Jokanji, the "Throw Away" Temple "From the street, it looks like many other Tokyo temples, but behind the new main building is an old cemetery that has one particular point of interest, a crypt and monument to twenty-five thousand prostitutes interred there."
The biggest tourist attraction in Buenos Aires is a cemetery. El Cementerio de la Recoleta is the final resting place for some of Argentina's most illustrious and wealthy residents. (Yes, Evita is among them.) AfterLife explores the architecture, motifs, and history of this cemetery, as well as the stories of its residents. [more inside]
A "thriving necropolis" - The North Cemetery in Manila is populated by thousands of families - many living in mausoleums and even making their livings in the service of the dead. [more inside]
ukgraves.info has thousands of photographs of cemeteries and gravestones all over the UK, from City of London to the Kirk of Lammermuir, and random points in between.
Thanatorama [flash] You died this morning. Are you interested in what comes next? Webdocumentaire.
Hallstatt, Austria, besides being idylic, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is historically fascinating: A Bronze Age cultural center, with a 2,500-year-old salt mine (the world's first); beautiful ice caves; and a Catholic cemetery so small that the dead were regularly disinterred after a time, their skulls painstakingly identified and decorated and stacked in an ossuary.
The Lives They Left Behind. Previously on MeFi, the Village Voice article. Related are efforts to restore cemeteries located on the grounds of old "insane asylums," creating memorials See information from Washington, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Georgia.
"The Talking Statues" of Staglieno. Beautiful photographs of the Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno in Genova, Italy. These statues were immortalized on two Joy Division covers, and of note, Oscar Wilde's wife is buried there. (mentioned in this story linked in this previous thread)
The London Necropolis Railway During the first half of the 19th century, London's population more than doubled and the number of London corpses requiring disposal was growing almost as fast. Cemetery space in the city had failed to keep pace with this growth, and so the vast new Brookwood Cemetery - the London Necropolis - was built in Surrey. Brookwood was the largest burial ground in the world when it was opened in 1854 by the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company. To get there, the deceased and their mourners - segregated by class - could catch a train from Westminster. The Necropolis Railway survived until World War 2, when it was heavily damaged. The railway was subsequently closed as motorised hearses became more popular. See also: Also: a six part Fortean Times article extracted from Google's cache [1 2 3 4 5 6]
Armistice Day: WW1 Document Archive. Verdun memorial. The Western Front today. A World War One Literature Blog. Trenches on the Web, unsurprisingly slammed today, it seems.
Consider visiting a nearby military cemetary today. I've found it to be a worthwhile use of my time in the past.
Consider visiting a nearby military cemetary today. I've found it to be a worthwhile use of my time in the past.
Slightly ominous, slightly beautiful collection of ePostcards (and photographs) of Streatham Cemetery, rendered in the subtlest use of Flash I've ever seen (gentle animations on small portions of each image. Be sure to view the cemetery in all four seasons, multiple pix of each.
Where Iraq's desaparecidos wound up. This is about Iraq, but it's not about the war. It's about a graveyard, its manager, and his "awful green book." The reporter is an Arab, which makes a difference, as you can see in the striking last sentence of this paragraph:
All of the dissidents buried at the Kirkh Islamic Cemetery were once held at Abu Ghreib prison, the country's largest and most notorious jail, from which Hussein released nearly 10,000 inmates last October. When word of their release came, the prisoners—from petty thieves to political dissidents, and all kept in horrendous conditions—overran the guards and stampeded the iron gates. Abu Ghreib is also the name given to Iraqi fathers who no longer have children.
Find A Grave is a searchable database of 2.8 million grave records. Many records include photos, especially the famous graves. They include the good, the bad, and the ugly. The award for most famous graves in one photo might be this one.