Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

It is called The Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory but it is not so much a museum as a collection. The small room sits inside the church of the Sacred Holy Heart just along the Tiber River not too far from the Vatican.

The display centralises on the Catholic idea that souls go to purgatory, they are purified of their remaining sins before they can ascent to heaven. To help souls go to heaven quicker the faithful can offer prayer, before the reformation it was a common practise to buy loved ones swifter entry with the good old value of mortal cash.

Amongst the cases you can see the nightcap of a man who discovered asking him to pray for her. Another is from 1789 where there is a hand-print on the nightshirt that Joseph Leleux had, the mark was made by the tortured soul of his mother who appeared to him and reminded him of his duties to go to mass and begged him to change his behaviour and go back to church.

The museum/collection is mentioned on the website Atlas Obscura and a few other sites, they say the collection comes from the French Missionary, Father Jouet. They story is that there was a painting, Our Lady of the Rosary, that caught fire from candles around it. Witnesses said they had seen the face of a man in the altars burning walls, he was convinced that it was a message from a soul buried in the area and that he should build a church there, and make it a place to pay tribute to the souls in purgatory.

Admission is free but they will welcome any donation to the church that you can make. If you have been, or do go, please let me know and share your experiences.

The museum is in the Church of Sacro Cuore del Suffragio, 12 Lungotevere Prati, Rome. Open 7.30-11am and 4.30-7pm.

museum-of-the-souls-of

Advertisements

Lazarus Colloredo and Joannes Baptista Collerado were conjoined twins from Genoa, Italy. The records are of suggestion that they were born around 1617 and died sometime around or after 1646. They toured Europe exhibiting their condition in order to make a living. Their exact date of death does not appear to have been recorded.

The upper body of Joannes and his left leg stuck out of his mobile brothers torso. Joannes did not speak, his eyes were kept closed and his mouth was always open. An account from an anatomist, later on, said that if his breast was pushed it would make him move his hands, ears and lips. Another visitor noted that Joannes had three fingers on each hand, six toes on one foot and seemed only to survive because of the nourishment from his brother.

It is said that Lazarus was a handsome man and when not exhibiting he would cover up his brother with a cloak. Later accounts have him married, siring several children and none of them experienced any unusual medical conditions.

One account suggests that Joannes made non-verbal noises and often at shows was seen to heavily salivate. It seems that Joannes was mainly considered to be a parasitic twin as he hadn’t got fully developed organs. It seems if he had any cognitive abilities that they were very limited and mostly based on responses to it being touched or prodded.

A letter from Dr Augustin Pincet, of Genoa, stated the brothers were born 20th March 1617 to parents Baptista and Pellegrinna Colloredo. Lazarus ate and had normal bowel movements, but Joannes did not suckle but if her milk hit his lips he would lick them as if he was attempting to swallow it. Their mother apparently died in 1620.

In 1638 they toured France and it was recorded that Lazarus had said Joannes head had been much smaller, now it was twice as large as his own. It seems they had also been unwell on more than one occasion, Lazarus had been subject to 20 bleedings but medics never hazarded purgation. They worried it might be too much for the two men sharing the one digestive system.

Another story is that Lazarus had been so fiercely teased in a pub that he struck the man a fatal blow. The man had been killed but Lazarus said that if he were sentenced to death it would in turn kill his innocent brother.

There doesn’t seem to have been any talks about separating them either, perhaps because from the descriptions they would have shared a liver and other vital organs. The area of joining may well have had several main arterial points too. Today it is highly likely they would have separated them early on to give Lazarus a chance at a normal life, the 17th Century techniques however would not have been capable of dealing with such a complicated matter.

Lazarus and Joannes Baptista Colloredo

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)

Mary Shelley is best known in history as the creator of the novel Frankenstein. She died 1st February 1851 and despite never having lived in Bournemouth requested she was buried there. Her wish for this and her deceased parents to join her was met, her parents were buried with her. 

Mary Shelley had lost three of her four children to illness and when her husband died she was in the process of recovering from a miscarriage. Her son, Percy Florence, had purchased land there and was arranging to build Boscombe Manor for his sick wife and Mary, his ailing mother. She died before it was completed but she was buried in Bournemouth anyway.

In 1822 Mary’s husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, had died during a boating accident out in Italy. The body washed ashore on a beach near Viareggio and due to quarantine laws it was cremated on the beach. A friend saw this and the heart did not seem to be burning very well, he was able to take it from the pyre and passed it back to Mary Shelley. It sounded like a very bizarre and romantic thing to do but most likely Edward John Trelawny was more interested in the object for his own collection. He was eventually persuaded to hand the heart to Mary Shelly and the heart then ended up at Boscombe Manor for many years.

It is worth noting that it was not customary for the wife to attend such a thing either, and that the picture below isn’t quite right because of that. It is also worth noting it was a hot day and not so bleak as the picture shows, his body was doused in wine  and the head was intense from the weather and fire. The corpse fell open and from there the heart was laid bare, it was surprising to see that it remained in tact and 

When her son, Percy Florence Shelley, died he was buried in the family tomb. At the same time the heart was slipped into the tomb. The two were finally united.

Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry, has been drowned, now he knows whether there is a God or not.” – Courier of London

Mary Shelly on Find a Grave

Shelley's cremation

Louis Édouard Fournier, entitled The Funeral of Shelley. 

Two main legends surround the famous Hun when it comes to the Venetian Lagoon and it’s islands.

Attila’s throne is still there to be admired on Torcello island, between the two churches of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Fosca. There is a big marble chair on the grass, allegedly it belonged to the mighty leader and he is said to return back there on the odd occasion.

North of Torcello is a little island called Monte Dell’Oro (Mount of Gold). The Huns would move their hauls through the island and one that was laden with gold sank. Paoletti reported that Attilla destroyed Altino and they put the treasures there, they kept the treasures sank in the mud in tanks. The area was then inhabited by refugees who put a Monastery and church there. In the late Middle Ages the area was used to build simple military posts and then in 1848 insurgents built a stronger building, that was used by the Italian Army in the First World War. There is a small remnant of this but other buildings there have long seen been left to decay and no trace remains of them. Until 1994 the island was State owned but is not privately owned and can only be reached there by private boat. 

Attila’s treasure that was gathered via death and destruction is now said to be guarded there by the devil himself. The devil, disguised as a black cat, can be seen on the island if you try to go after the gold.