Posts Tagged ‘remains’

The Hypogeum of Paolo, Malta is a subterranean structure from 3000-2500 BC. It may originally have been a sanctuary but became a necropolis and the remains of some 7,000 and more individuals have been found.

In 1980 the World Heritage List was updated to contain the Hypogeum, after restoration in the 1990’s the site has since re-opened and allows for entry for 60 people a day.

The structure was discovered in 1902 by accident when building workers broke through into the roof of the complex.

If you want to go and see this piece of history when you are in the area it is suggested that you book your tickets well in advance.

Photo_Ellis_Hal_Salflieni
Photo Ellis Hal Salflieni” by Richard Ellis décédé en 1924 – domaine public. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I do not know why but in my head this comes out as “cardboard a saurus willy” which I am aware sounds either very wrong, or very silly… but anyway on to the post! I haven’t really touched on the cryptoid subject that often, really it’s not one that floats my strange boat but I feel I should acknowledge them none-the-less.

“Caddy” is a lake monster, akin to the rather famous Loch Ness Monster. He is reported (or was) to be living on the Pacific Coast of North America and is named thanks to Cadboro Bay in Victoria, British Columbia. Witnesses have said that he looks like a serpent with vertical coils or humps in tandem behind a horse-like head. He has a long neck, small elevating front flippers and either a pair of hind flippers that are fused together to form a lie tail fan for propulsion.

Suggestions are put forward to explain Caddy, including Congers eels or sea lions. 1943 two police officers spotted something in the Georgia Lake which to the naked eye could well have been something like CW but with binoculars and a little deductions they found it to be a bull sea lion. Another plausible explanation for Caddy appears to come in the form of in the form of Giant Oarfish, some of which are reported at 17 metres in length.

I like this rather nice and simply produced visual representation.

So the sightings/dead things bit…

1930 – there was a skeleton found in ice near Valdez that was 24 feet long with flippers, some of the remains were used for scientific study which was thought to be a whale but was undetermined.

1934 Henry Island found badly decomposed remains, the strange mess was about 30 feet long but once the remains were examined they were identified as basking shark.

The 1940’s saw two corpses, one was named Sarah the Sea Hag, and both were found to be a shark. 1950 Delake, Oregon offered up much the same as a  whale shark found it’s way into the hands of the locals.

Finally the last one I have is 1963, Oak Harbour when a carcass with a head that looked vaguely like that of a horse was found it was passed over to A D Welander Fisheries. The best suggestion for this was that it was a basking shark.

Warning – fairly lengthy post for me!

London was and remains a large scale part of English history, past and future. During the pre-Victorian and through the Victorian period finding a place to bury the dead was no easy task. London’s capital for instance had doubled in a short space, with it came the dead and more need to inter them.

Finding a cemetery that could be used for the purpose could be just as difficult as picking a first home. Cemetery space was at a prime, people needed the space and bodies were left in terrible states around the capital city. Regularly graves were desecrated and re-used, disinterred bones were left scattered across grounds. It wasn’t just cemeteries either but the results of this terrible lack of organisation meant that there was a great deal of risk for disease with the material from decomposing bodies entering drinking wells and springs.

1848-1849 saw a cholera outbreak that killed nearly 15,000 Londoners and made it very obvious that there was a drastic need to sort the situation out. A brilliant description of some of the problems was documented by G A Walker in his Gatherings from Graveyards, I have been very lucky to obtain a copy and if I get chance will scan some pages in at later date.

In 1849 Sir Richard Broun came up with an answer, he proposed buying a large area of land to build a massive cemetery. The 2,000 acre plot would be his Necropolis and at a distance of 25 miles from London posed little to no risk of seeing the same issue arise. He proposed that the railway line from Waterloo to Southampton could offer a way to transport coffins and mourners alike…

The idea of a railway link to rural cemeteries had been thought about before he presented his ideas but not everyone seemed convinced, the clamour and bustle of a train would detract from the dignified Christian funeral. Also would it not be somewhat offensive to have a body in a coffin on a train where the family and friends were already suffering, and then treat like some form of conveyor  belt affair?

The idea of rail travel was still a new thing anyway, but Waterloo line was completed 1848 and the first Necropolis Station came along six years after that. In June 1852 an Act of Parliament was passed which created The London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company, it was later shortened to The London Necropolis Company. London & South Western Railway were the partner’s and they estimated £40,000 a year from it. It was decided however that the trains used would have to be a separate service, it was not a good idea to put a funeral party near mainstream passenger services and potentially drive away both.

There was another concern about how the varying religions and classes would be addressed using the service and so there were two stations. One served the conformist area on the sunny south side and the other served the non-conformists on the chilly north side. The class tickets also came into play, the dead were also split into the classes too.

Brookwood Cemetery grounds were consecrated 7th November 1854, six days later the world’s first funeral train was ready to go. The York Street terminus was restricting its passenger services, and if the company was going to expand it needed Waterloo and to demolish York Street terminus. A long period of negotiations went on and the London Necropolis was persuaded to give up it’s York Street post for a replacement 999-year lease, low rent and compensation along with a new supply train with return tickets for the mourners to use on the SWR more expensive trains at their own low cost.

The Act of Parliament meant the tickets prices for the Funerary side were fixed until 1939, Golfer’s going to nearby West Hill Golf Club would take advantage by dressing up as mourners. The remains of a rough footpath are still seen at the cemetery, it’s suggested the cheapskate golfers caused it. So far the history of the Funeral Rail service looked promising however in October 1900 the Necropolis Railway dropped Sunday services from it’s timetable and the trains went into decline until they ran once or twice a week. Finally the new motor hearse posed a new threat but this did not cause the end of its days, the German Luftwaffe did.

Bombs, April 16th 1941 was one of the worst nights of the London Blitz. The Necropolis train was berthed and did not escape, the area was levelled and only the platforms remained. It would have been too expensive it replace it and although the Necropolis Service ended in 1941 there is some evidence coffins were conveyed to Brookwood by rail into the 1950’s.

Transporting the dead has been one of those things that has to be organised. Alongside the dedicate funeral line in London and other places, there were other options even if they were less grandiose.

Sometimes passenger rail services would carry the coffins in their brake vans. It unfortunately led to one grisly report that happened 21st June 1912. The train from Manchester to Leeds was derailed near Hebden Bridge. A coffin containing Mr Horsfield’s remains was thrown from the brake van and spilt out on to the track.  The 55 year old’s coffin was shattered so he was kept in the signal box until a new one was available.

Halifax Courier’s reporter had this comment: The coffin was found all splintered and the corpse, though unmarked, was pinned under the debris and partly exposed. There was also an untrue rumour at the time that his body was one of those recovered from the Titanic just ten weeks earlier.

It wasn’t until 1988 that British Rail announced it would no longer allow coffins to be transported.