Posts Tagged ‘graves’

(Sydney, Australia) As people arrived to colonise Australia it was important to minimise the disease, smallpox, plague etc.. reaching the island. A quarantine facility was implemented and an act passed in 1832 meant the quarantine station was there to protect the people for over 100 years. 1828-1984 the station was open in some way or another.

At peak times people would run out of space, camps would be made outside for residents. It could be a miserable experience and healthy people would help with cleaning and constructions just to break the monotony.

Lady McNaughton was a typhoid riddled ship which came with 54 dead in 1837. A further 13 died in the station. Captain Stokes of the Beagle also wrote that it was possible to identify the station by the White Crosses littered around it.

It is still like a city in itself and there are regular tourists, and not surprisingly there are ghost tours in operation.

There are stories of doctors, nurses and disembodied patients that return to haunt the place. There are three cemeteries that now are overgrown or demolished and no doubt some of those buried suffered as they passed from awful sicknesses too. Cold spots and feelings of being touched are reports that have come back.

Park rangers have historically reported ghostly lights or figures in unoccupied hallways and rooms of the building, they have then gone into to investigate only to find that there is no-one there. A common tale from visitors is about a little girl who sometimes holds a tourists hand, or people can join the group, only to later realise that no child was in the tour group.

Another story from the Australian Ghost Hunters Society was that a woman on the tour went to the mortuary with the group. She looked pale and concerned at the end of the tour and when asked why she said she had seen a body on the slab. It was not a prank, she said only she had seemed to see it, and he turned to her. He said “Look what they’ve done to me! Look what they’ve done to me!” he then exposed an incision from his throat to his naval. It was an experience she would never forget.

Q Station+whales

In Northern Italy sits Venice, a lagoon made of a variety of islands and one of those is the island of San Michele. The island was a popular place for local travellers and fishermen to land. A Renaissance church and monastery lie on the island, the monastery also served as a prison for a time. San Michele in Isola is a Roman Catholic church on the island, dedicated to Saint Michael. It was rebuilt in 1469 and the interior has a nave and two aisles.

San Cristoforo was selected to become a cemetery in 1807, under French occupation it was decided burial on the main island was unsanitary. In 1836 the canal between San Michele and San Cristiforo was filled in and the larger island became known as San Michele.

The cemetery is still in use today and has many famous residents upon it, one of those famous residents is Igor Stravinsky.

I spent a glorious afternoon there in the sun, it is thoroughly worth navigating the vaporetto *water boat* to get to the island, even if it is a bit off track from the main areas. I came back enlightened by the beauty of the place and a suntan.

It is asked that you don’t take pictures, like many of the religious spots around Venice. Sadly I found that there was pretty much zero respect for this with tourists, even in the main churches and hotspots it seems that walking around with your iphone is far more indulgent than experiencing the true beauty of the place, which came as a bit of a shock to me…

However that grip aside, the island is amazing and a few sneaky pics were got when we were sure we would not interrupt anyone mourning or when we felt it was safe to do so with respect. I didn’t want to be so arrogant as to take pictures without thinking of a funeral in process…

If you do head over I would suggest you take plenty of water, there’s a lot of nice benches you can stop on. You can find a spot to sit and take in both the exquisit sites and if you get the right time of year, you can really enjoy the weather. After our trip we headed back to the Lido, had something nice to eat and of course a wine in the local bar.

There are ghost tours and investigations but there are other interesting points about this cemetery that may warrant a visit if you are in Indianapolis. John Dillinger the bank robber and Dr Richard Jordan Gatling the inventor of the Gatling Gun are buried at the cemetery that has been used for the last 150 years, it was dedicated in June 1864 and is set like many of the Victorian cemeteries of it’s time.

Community Hill sits next to the larger more commercial part of the cemetery and is not so well advertised, most likely due to the sad history attached to it. It is where the poorer side of the city rested and were left for those widows, orphans and people with little to their name at the time. They are the ones who are either unrecorded or have had their histories erased.

Along the buried are 700 children in graves that are unmarked, they were unwanted by anyone alive and even in death have been left neglected. They came from three public orphanages – Indianapolis Children’s Asylum, the Board of Children’s Guardians Home and the Asylum for Friendless Colored Children all between 1892 and 1980. More than half were boys, two thirds were white and they range from a few months to 15 years old.

It is worth noting that many of them were likely brought to these places in ill health, neglected and suffering malnutrition. These already dire situations were then made worse due to the situation they were left in.

Click here to get a link to the memorial for the children that has been established.

What a strange tourist attraction this is… basically the local people who did not keep the yearly payments up on their graves were going to have the bodies dug up and the grave reused.  There are 119 mummies on display.

The soil properties, the dry climate and time appear to have naturally mummified the bodies and in some cases their clothing. The bodies were put on display at “El Museo de las Momias” and are those buried during a cholera outbreak, it is possible that has contributed to their state.

The bodies were from people that had died between 1865 and 1958. The law stated that the graves had to have a yearly payment but around 90%  of the bodies had to be desinterred due to non paymemt, around 2% of them naturally mummified. A law stopped the practise in 1958 but the original mummies were moved into the museum so people can pay to see them.

It’s not something for the faint of heart, I would advise before clicking on the video that you take into consideration there are some children and other subjects in there that may be upsetting.

Due to the spread of the disease and epidemic of cholera the dead were buried quickly, unfortunately some of these bodies were buried alive.  The museum is a bit of a creepy place but as with all things I find, it peaked my curiosity. One of the things I did find interesting is that the original Nosferatu film maker Werner Herzog took movies of them to assist him with the authenticity of the film!

Perhaps more terrifying than the original mummy video – a song by Toyah Wilcox devoted to it!

London’s pretty famous for a variety of reasons but one of the places I read about when I have the time is Bedlam. Bedlam was originally the St Bethlehem Hospital, in 1247 when it opened and was nicknamed Bedlam.

It was a lunatic asylum and possibly one of the first of it’s kind in England, other uses and the word Bedlam is now synonymous with chaos.  So it comes as no surprise that there are many stories roaming around about it, paranormal or otherwise.

Archaeologists were brought in to survey the area with a proposal for Crossrail tunnelling. The bodies have been removed for study. It has posed interest on a macabre level because of the bodies being found uncoffined and there could be thousands in numbers. It’s a significant number of patients and their stories which will hopefully be brought to life via the London Museum at some point.

From opening it’s door it accepted the “insane” and did so as a Religious priory until Henry VIII managed to close them, 1547 it shut it’s doors only to be refounded as a Hospital which in 1598 was reported as full of squalor and neglect.

With decaying buildings, a cesspit threatening to overflow and unchecked drains it would have been a horrific place. The patients hardly faired any better either with iron restraints, buckets of water and the lash being used to control them.

The howls of the patients were enough to drive other men just as mad, the notoriety of the place made it a tourist attraction. It was possible to pay a penny to walk through the place and to witness it first hand.

London faced a realistic crisis of the dead overcrowding the city, the graveyards were at crisis point. Gatherings from Graveyards is a book that was in response to the crisis and in graphic detail for the time is given a unique look into the problem. There is a distinct possibility that the numbers of dead there are brought to the graveyard as they have space. The reason this is more likely is also that Bedlam was a hospital and like any other they would discharge patients or the bodies could be sent to the deceased’s local parish instead.

I am told that there is a series about this place and that it’s based on ghosts and hauntings. For every real historical situation someone will find a reason to use it for a TV series eh! Personally I think a Lovecraftian or Poe style story based on it would be brilliant so if you know any do pass them my way.