Archive for the ‘Morgue’ 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 

March 18th, 1996 saw a tragedy in Quezon City, Philippines leaving around 162 dead. The Ozone Disco Club was opened in 1991 by Segio Orgaoow but was previously a jazz club named Birdland. The club had an approved occupancy of 35 but inside were around 40 workers and 350 party goers. Many of them were students celebrating the end-of-year or their graduation.

Survivor accounts say they saw sparks at the DJ booth just before midnight and then smoke which they thought was part of the set. Within minutes the fire broke out and the tragedy was under-way. The criminal trial listed 160-162 dead with an additional 95 injured. It was one of the worst death tolls for a nightclub ever, but the República Cromagnon fire has since surpassed that claim.

People tried to escape and many of the bodies were found along the corridor towards the exit piled up waist-high/ It seems that the emergency exit was blocked by a new building next door and no proper fire exit had been installed. It also transpires the security thought a riot had broken out and then locked the doors to the exit.

The building still stands, although not in commercial use, and a former memorial plaque has since been removed. Passers by say that they have peered in through a crack in the boardings and have seen dancing shadows. Sometimes the ghosts of those trapped inside possess someone making them relive their death and awful lead up to it. The descriptions from the people who do have this experience are remarkably accurate in regards to the situation.

Ozone disco

The Odessa Catacombs, which are indeed mines not catacombs, are located in Odessa, Ukraine and attract extreme tourists, despite the number of warnings, they stretch around 2,500 kilometres and are larger and longer than those or Rome and Paris. The labyrinth of tunnels is largely unknown and unmapped, as such only a small percentage are opened via the Museum of Partisan Glory.

The tunnels materials were good for cheap construction, during World War II the tunnels served as a hiding grounds for Soviet Partisans and in 1961 the Poisk Club was created in order to explore the tunnels to map them, in keeping with the old tradition there’s really no maps by others instead clues and symbols on the walls are used to traverse them. The tunnels continued to be mined for the rich resource of limestone and so kept expanding.

The catacombs hit the news because another explorer found the remains of a body. In 2007 an urban explorer, Eugene, made a morbid discovery of a corpse of a 19-year old women. She had been at a New Years Eve party, 2005 and they had been partying there all night. At some point the woman was separated from the group and when they left the next morning they were unaware that she had not left as well. This young lady died alone, lost and probably from things like dehydration due to not having supplies and maybe even intoxicated to a high degree.

Coroners findings say that she had spent three days dehydrating before she came to the end of her life. Her name from sources around the internet suggest she was known as Masha. On other sites her name is listed as Mariya and it’s been a lot of internet trawling to try and work out more information. Eugene did not tell the police her location, nor did other explorers and she was around 5km away from the area, eventually the police located her because she was was shown in location and they managed to get her out and this is sometimes where the story lines get blurred.

She is not the only person to have been found there, there have been older mummified corpses found and the cold air and dry conditions lead to good preservation. There have also been old World War II era rifles and grenades. In 2015 two teenagers went missing but from what little I could find I worked out they were rescued.

So I couldn’t find her surname or if she is Masha or Mariya, I guess her name has been lost amongst various media reports and outlets. If you can confirm her name I would like to be able to put that to this article.

Odessa kat 01.jpg
By Полищук Денис Анатольевич – Own work, CC BY 2.5, Link

Barbara Ann (Hackman) Taylor, ‘Bobbie’ was initially an unknown American woman who was referred to as Tent Girl.

Wilbur Riddle was out in Georgetown, Kentucky, on 17th May 1968 searching for glass insulators at the side of U.S Route 25. He was there to work as a water well-driller and was handed a note to pass some time until his boss arrived, he spotted some telephone workers and they were discarding the glass insulators as part of an upgrade program. He knew they would be useful for a friend so went to collect them.

He was on his way back from his collecting when something caught his eye as he headed back up the dirt track. The smell alone gave away there was nothing good to be found, he nudged a wrapped up green canvas and the body rolled down the slope. It exposed the body of a decomposing woman wrapped up in a heavy green tarpaulin. The material was the type of thing used in the manufacturing of tents, hence the identification.

Riddle immediately drove two miles down the road to alert the Scott County Sheriff, Bob Vance. Vance and his team then came to see and looked into the matter further, her eyes had already rotted away and her flesh was mottled, the poor woman was too decomposed to get a full fingerprint and they had to take one and rehydrate it with chemicals to attempt to gain anything at all.

They were unable to fully establish a cause of death, the best theory to date is that Bobbie was somehow knocked unconscious and rolled up and confined, eventually dying of asphyxiation. There was a section of white towelling and the green canvas sent over to the FBI laboratories in Washington for further analysis but at that point there was not very much more they felt they could do.

A lead came up about her in June, 1968 when her description matched enough features to show up missing Pasadena girl, Debbie Krane, who was last seen getting into the car of her 17 year-old boyfriend, Carl Colby. The 15 year old had gone missing March 3rd, 1968 and with the period of her death being loose enough they decided to ask her parents to come to see if they were able to identify her.

Debbie Krane’s dental records loosely matched that of the girl and at that point the police must have felt they were on track to finding her identity, then an anonymous call came in that said she was alive and well in Bradford, Pennsylvania. A long drive out to Bradford found Krane was alive and well, living with her boyfriend and that she had absconded from her home but was not deceased. They were then stumped once more.

There was another lead for the identification, a somewhat similar case that was linked up, this time from Northampton, Pennsylvania. Candace Clothier was found 13th April, 1968 and had last been seen 9th March, 1968 until her body was found. Two fishermen discovered the young lady decomposed and floating in the creek, she was found in a black cloth bag. Similarities in the case led to a question about them being linked, there is no more on her case, her case has been closed as it was felt that due to no leads and the chances of her murderer already being dead there was nothing more they could do.

‘Tent Girl’ was then a feature in American magazine, Master Detective, in the hopes that it might bring even more to the case and perhaps lead to her identification. She was eventually buried in an unmarked grave, No 90. She was buried in Georgetown Cemetery with a donated headstone and along with the police sketch of her, based on reconstructions from her body, there was also an inscription.

TENT GIRL

FOUND MAY 17 1968

ON U.S HIGHWAY 25,N.

DIED AB OUT APRIL 26 – MAY 3, 1968

AGE ABOUT 16-19 YEARS

HEIGHT 5 FEET 1 INCH

WEIGHT 110 TO 115LBS.

REDDISH BROWN HAIR

UNIDENTIFIED

She was identified in 1998, it was a result of the efforts of Todd Matthews. He was the son-in-law of Wilbur Riddle and having found out about the story he invested in a PC and got a website up and running. He had combed through lists of missing people online. He has since founded The Doe Network, an online database to identify missing people and unidentified descendants.

He got an e-mail from her sister, Rosemary Westbrook, about a young woman who had gone missing from nearby Lexington. It transpires that the family were told by her husband, George Earl Taylor, that she had run off with another man. It seems that this never rested well with Rosemary and she extended her contact to Todd Matthews, Matthews and the family were convinced enough that it led to the exhumation of her body and DNA testing. Cells from Rosemary’s teeth were compared to that of the unidentified woman and they matched up, she was finally identified. Her body was re-interred at the cemetery with her full headstone placed under the original. There is no mention of her marital name on the headstone.

The prime suspect in her murder is Barbara’s husband, George Earl Taylor, and he died of cancer in 1987. This is mentioned on Wikipedia but I have to admit I found no other source about this, given this I am not going to surmise he was involved, there is no evidence she ran away with another man but then again there is no evidence to say she did not.

What we do know is that she was finally identified and given a proper burial based on who she was, her sister was able to learn her fate and mourn properly and Todd Matthews has founded something wonderful to help as many as he can who might be sadly facing that sort of tragedy.

Barbara Ann Hackmann Taylor.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

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