Archive for the ‘Cemetery’ Category

A wonderful thing about being in England is there is a lot to see and do, from Nottinghamshire it’s a fairly short journey into the Peak District. One of the places on my list was Eyam Village, the plague village as it is also referred to.

Eyam village would have been quite isolated during the period of the plague and our journey by car was very far removed from the foot/horse travel of the day. It is however beautiful and part of the Peak Pilgrimage, its also a working village where people see us tourists coming through every day.

In 1665 Mary Cooper lived with her two sons and a lodger called George Viccars, who was a travelling tailor. She was a widow and was living fairly comfortably. Around march 1665 she had re-married to Alexander Hadfield and his will shows that he was also a tailor. She is also referred to as Mary Hadfeld in his will. Tradition holds it that a box came from London and arrived August/September containing clothes, her husband was away at this period and it seems likely he stayed with non-infected family for the year as he came back and died 12 months later. The box was opened and found to have wet cloth in it, so Viccars hung them to dry and within the week. It is thought that perhaps a flea was in the clothing and this bit him, within another two weeks Mary’s youngest son, Edward, had also died.

It was the start of the outbreak of the plague in Eyam, in more modern studies some suggestions were put forwards such as typhus, anthrax or measles. Anna Seward was the daughter of the village rector saying that in 1757 men of the village had dug up rotten linen materials and three of the men succumbed to a putrid fever, another several villagers also died. Does this support the idea of anthrax? However, it is a generally accepted event of plague that has been given to this time period.

As records show the wealthier people left the village early on, some of the poor also tried. It wasn’t possible for everyone to simply lock up and leave, often their arrival to other places was met with hostility. It’s not solely an Eyam experience but if villagers/townsfolk herd where people were coming from they may well have been driven out too. Sheffield people created barriers and had guards there to stop strangers from entering and possibly bringing infection. This also led to some villagers taking to living in the fields and caves around Eyam Moor, creating makeshift homes to avoid contracting the plague.

October that year gave another 23 listed victims, it included Jonathan Cooper (Mary’s eldest son) and by April 1666 there were 73 deaths, some would have been natural but there was a definite spike to their numbers on the records. A lull in May would have presented a sense of hope and then in June it began again.

The rector, William Mompesson and his wife had sent both their children away, his wife Catherine begged them to go too but William felt a strong sense of duty to remain. William remained there and Catherine stuck by him, this choice came at the cost of her early demise. He was a young rector at 28 years old and his position was also taken up during the point of a fairly tumultuous religious period. Thomas Stanley had returned to the village after his and Shoreland Adams had been forced to leave down to Puritan pressure. Stanley had come back and he was liked in the village, both of them had differing religious views but the one thing they did work on together was what they could do about the plague.

It is known that during the plague period people were forbidden from crossing a stream to go to the local Bakewell market, they would leave their money in the local waters and trade from a distance. This was already in place by the time they had got the stages next taken. The villagers consented to three decisions to try and stop the plague from spreading and to bring it under control.

The first was that they would have no more organised funerals and church burials, the demand was too high and so people were advised to bury their own dead. It meant the clergy could do all the other work surrounding the death and it must have been hard for all involved not to have their dead buried on consecrated grounds, it prevented the highly religious people of the time from meeting their relatives on Judgement Day. Bodies had to be buried fast and they had to be wrapped and under the ground as it was thought it would help to stop the spread too.

A second decision was made to lock up the church until the epidemic was over, services would be held in the open air. How the plague spread seemed confusing and unclear. Contact needed to be kept to a minimum, whilst they wanted to unite and keep to their services the villagers also understood this was necessary. A rock, The Delph, and the open area near it was chosen as the rock could act like a pulpit and to this day an annual Thanksgiving is held there on the last Sunday in August.

The third decision was quarantine, it was to try and stop the spread of disease beyond the village boundaries. It is speculated that the people of Eyam had little choice and viewed as forced heroism but it would only have taken one person to ignore that and get away with the disease for it to have become worse so it seems that they all agreed and kept to it.

The Earl of Devonshire lived in Chatsworth House, he was their chief benefactor and arranged for good and medical supplies to be left at the southern border of Eyam. Any requests for specific items could be left at the boundary stone and paid for there too. Cynically this kept the Earl away from the infection but without him they would have had nothing to sustain them so he was doing something to help the local population. Money was placed in running water or wells, or was sterilised by placing it in holes made in the boundary stones were the money was put into vinegar.

The villagers were isolated but the disease did not spread, all they had to do now was wait and pray. The last death was recorded in either October or 1st November 1666. 1664 showed the consensus with around 160 households (800 population) and by the end an estimated 430 people. The Hearth tax return for 1670 suggests 350 taxed households but does not list exemptions and another suggestion of only 83 survivors seems more plausibly to be 83 households. It would be hard to exact numbers for those who died to the plague too, as an example Jane Hadfield had a baby that died only 2 days after birth, not listed down to plague but not ascertained if it contributed either.

In December 1666 the Christmas period was one of recovery, slowly life was returning to the stricken village and in the summer of 1667 they held a ‘great burning’ to remove all objects etc that might carry any remnants of the plague seed.

There are still recorded outbreaks of the plague today, in 1994 there was an outbreak in India and there have been pockets of cases reported in the USA – be wary of the chipmunks and prairie dogs in some of the larger national parks. The latest listed case on WHO is in Madagascar as of 2017.

If you want a lovely day out in the Peaks and want to learn more you can visit and see a museum as well as all the sign posts around the village. It was, for me anyway, a wonderful day out with a lot to take in

Sources:
Eyam Plague Village 1665-1666 by John Clifford
The Village Museum and boards around the village.
The National Trust
World Health Organisation 

It is known as The Necropolis, located close to Lidcombe Station in Sydney, Australia. Around a million souls are at rest in the Victorian Cemetery and ‘Friends of Rookwood Inc’ campaign to raise the awareness of its cultural significance and to ensure its preservation.

1st January 1868 the non-denominational burial ground was opened. By the end of the 1890’s they had buildings including a chapel and cottages for employees. The garden cemetery was a popular place for Victorian’s as a visiting spot and it was in it’s height a major employee for the area.

One of the most famous graves is that of Harry Houdini, the magician. It is also the burial place of one of the more infamous Davenport Brothers and they are said to haunt the cemetery. They toured the world and displayed ‘Spirit Phenomena’s’. One of the brothers died 1st July 1877 when they were on tour in Australia and he was buried there.

Houdini visited it in 1910 to find it somewhat neglected, he and two magicians placed flowers there and Houdini paid for the stonework to be repaired. The surviving brother was so moved by the kindness he revealed the secret of their trick (although it seems quite viable this was already known to a fair few).

Rookwood’s haunted reputation probably stems from the sheer fact that it is a cemetery. There are victims of wars, sickness and those who were stillborn all located there. As far as cemeteries go it seems a fair example of those from the time and worth a visit for it’s historical value alone.

A cemetery in Jakarta, Indonesia is one of the better maintained in the Jakarta region. In the mid-2000’s it was extended and several squatters on the land were evicted. It is a heavily used cemetery and one of the few in Jarkata that could potentially extend in future. The cemetery is said to be haunted, including that of a child and a hairy ghoul. (Oh and also it has a Pokemon Go stop!)

The cemetery is most famous for the haunting of a decapitated pastor. A cemetery worker states after living and working in the area he says it is a hoax and two graveyard mowers echoed the sentiment but the story was used in 2006 in as film Hantu Jeruk Purut. It led to a burst in popularity for the story and the cemetery. Locally there are said to be people that go into the cemetery on a Friday night in odd numbers, according to what I could find this is because that’s the only condition under which the ghost will appear.

Legend has it that in 1986 a guard at the cemetery saw a headless pastor carrying his own head, and that he was followed by a black dog. The story is that he is looking for his grave which is said to be not in Jeruk Perut but in Tanah Kosir cemetery, another source on my looks said that he was looking for a Christian grave but actually he was in an area with only Muslim graves. I couldn’t locate the name of the priest or confirm any further details.

The film seems takes the notion that the Priest is looking for a grave in Jeruk Perut but the grave should be in Tanah Kosir Cemetery. An aspiring writer begins to look into it all only to find that the ghost starts to haunt her, fearing for her own life she passes her notes on to a fan and not long afterwards she is killed. I’ve not watched it nor have I typed up the plot, would you recommend it if you have seen it?

In reality other than the local legend there’s nothing more I could find on that regards. I did however find a new story that was really quite sad, a tomb guard at the cemetery, Mohammad Yusuf, appears to have hung himself in December 2015, the news article was translated from Beritahati.com and indicates that he had been suffering schizophrenia and was found hanging in the Frangipani trees there, he was found by local visitors and the most curious part of the translation was that he had no signs of injury other than the genitals, where sperm had been removed. I could find nothing more on his name or case, I could not find any reason for why that last comment seemed to have been included either.

I also found another interesting subject for this cemetery, and suspect not just this, but that regularly there have been fictitious graves found. An article in July 2016 discussed this matter, where a new wave of investigations had been made into it. There were, by that date, a registered 376 graves with no-one in them and no sign of anyone ever having tended them. The Jakarta governor had commented that they had been suspicious about this occurring but that people had remained silent, in 2015 Ahok (Governor) then ordered the Parks and Cemetery Agency to investigate.

By August 9th, they had removed and demolished 277 of them, and it seems that one of the reasons they believe it is happening is that they are to give the impression of a very packed cemetery where they can then charge inflated prices. The fake graves have a name with no date, and often the name is written in some form of marker. Reserving a grave ahead of death is a crime due to the limited supply, yet it seems the there are cases (not just in this particular cemetery) of cemetery caretakers taking bribes to create fake graves. Where these cases are found they appear to be firing the heads of the cemeteries but no arrests seem to be listed.

So it seems there is actually, to me, a more interesting look at this cemetery ghost or not. I hope you enjoyed this article.

Grave of Chrisye, Jeruk Purut

Here are a some of tales from the area that caught my eye, they are the Central Cemetery of Bogotá and National Police HQ. Both seem interesting enough to mention here.

The General Cemetery of Bogotá is what seems to be a spiritual and busy area. One of those areas most closely linked with the paranormal is ‘El Caraol’ a spiral staircase with leads to the mass graves of ‘undesirables’. Rapists, murderers and those who committed suicide are those people in that area. A tomb of an unknown rich boy is said to grant miracles and believers line up at the grave of Leo Seigfried Kopp, who founded the Bogotá’s Bavaria beer to ask for favours. It’s a strange place of acceptance and religions. Drug addicts, transvestites and performers, the strange and all find a place amongst the tombs and graves.

And the National Police HQ, Bucaramanga has a radio station ghost who likes to turn off the lights and on again. It turns the taps for water off and on, as well as knocking on the stations windows. As well as this the entity likes to play around with the CD’s and some report a blond figure who if chased or hailed will suddenly disappear. The building is also where an officer committed suicide.

One more for the Columbian round-up is the Manuel Varela House, an abandoned (and listed monument) Republican mansion. Manuel Verela is said to have made a pact with the devil, he was an infamous physician and it seems that the legend states he would sacrifice a soul to the devil each year. So each year in return the devil would raise his wealth, and this it seems explained why those related to him died or mysteriously vanished. Some believe the devil still visits the area.

Cenotaph Jimenez.jpg
By BaijiOwn work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11989705

Carl Tanzer, Feb 8th 1877 to July 3rd 1952, was a German-born radiologic technologist in Key-West, Florida, USA who developed a particularly morbid obsession for Elena Milagro de Hoyos, a tuberculosis patient. During his childhood and later in Genoa, Italy, he claimed he had been visited by a dead ancestor who revealed the face of his true love, her face was one of an exotic dark-haired woman.

22nd April 1930, de Hoyos came to the hospital for an examination, she was brought in by her mother. He recognised her as the woman from the visitations of his ancestor. De Hoyos was diagnosed with TB, a fatal disease at the time and eventually despite Tanzler’s best efforts she succumbed to the disease.

Tanzer paid for her funeral, with the permission of the family he then commissioned the construction of an above ground mausoleum. It was constructed in the Key West Cemetery and he visited there pretty much most nights. To be honest this already seems to rate high on the WTF list, but it gets more bizarre.

April, 1933 Tanzer crept into the mausoleum and stole her body, taking her home and here he said her spirit would visit. He claimed she often asked him to take her from the grave, and so it seems he did. What he did to preserve her sounds like a work of horror fiction. Her bones were attached together by wire and coat hangers, her face was fitted with glass eyes and as the corpses skin decomposed he would replace it with silk cloth, soaked in wax and plaster of Paris.

Her hair was replaced by using Hoyo’s wig hair, who gave him the hair? Well her mother had collected her hair for a wig and gave it to him after her death. I am still wondering why but at this point the story continues…

Tanzer filled her chest and abdominal cavity with rags to keep her in her original form, then dressed her, put on stockings and jewellery and kept her body in his bed. He then used a lot of fragrances, detergent and preserving agents to mask the msells. Yes I am still going, I did say it was morbid.

October 1940 (Seven years later) her sister visited Tanzley, she had heard odd rumours, Florida authorities were notified when she saw the truth for herself. He was found to be mentallyl competent, he was charged with destruction of the grave and theft of the body. Bizarrely he never had to defend himself because the case was dropped, the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. Even more upsetting for her family the body was put on display at the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home and around 6,800 ish people came to see it.

Eventually she was reburied at the cemetery but to prevent tampering it was an unmarked grave. Strangely it seems the public mood was that sympathy for a hopeless romantic should be given to Tanzler. I can’t help but think that’s not quite the reaction I’d have had… later there was a claim that he had inserted a tube into her vagina too but this evidence has been met with scepticism, mostly because other than the rumour there appears to be no evidence…

Separated from the woman’s body he then used a death mask to create a life-sized effigy of Hoyos, the effigy lived with him until he died 3rd July. 1952. He was found on the floor three weeks after his death and died under the name Carl Tanzer.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum in Key West, Florida has an exibit that recreats the caring he did to her body. And Svbway to Sally have a video themed around it.

Carl Tanzler (1940)