Category Archives: Cemetery

Debunked Valley of Genitalia

The cemetery of Khalid Nabi in north east Iran is a national heritage site protected by the Iranian government. It contains over 600 standing stones from the 17-19th centuries with forms that resemble human genitalia.

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Type 1 is a cylindrical column type with a cap-like top which is considered a representation of a male phallic symbol. David Stronach, a Scottish archeologist of ancient Iran and Iraq, disputes this popular notion and interprets the stones to be depictions of men with helmets and in some cases with clearly visible turbans.

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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Nabi_Cemetery. Creative Commons License, Kipala

Type 2 stones with rectangular sections and two opposed high-set lobes supposedly represent the female reproductive organs. Stronach interprets these as human shapes with arms in akimbo position as visible in two elaborately carved stones on the site which clearly show the human shape.

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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_Nabi_Cemetery. Creative Commons License, Kipala

People will see what they want to see…

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No Wall Shall Divide

In the 19th century, separation of Dutch society into groups by religion and associated political beliefs (known as pillars) meant that many people had little or no personal contact with people from another pillar. Within the graveyard of Roermond in the Netherlands is a dividing wall separating Protestant and Catholic burials.

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Married for 40 years Colonel J.W.C. van Gorkum was a Protestant, and noblewoman J.C.P.H. van Aefferden was a Roman Catholic. When the Colonel died in 1880 his wife knew that society would not allow her to be buried next to him. The solution was ingenious. Van Aefferden made arrangements for the Colonel to be buried near the wall, and she would be buried in the same location on the other side of the wall.

Two hands clasping across the divide symbolizes their love and union, and no doubt a visual rebuff against Dutch society at the time.

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COL Jacobus Warnerus Constantinus van Gorkum (10 Jan 1809–29 Aug 1880)

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Josephina Carlina Petronela Hubertina van Aefferden (28 Jun 1820–29 Nov 1888)

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Welsh Roses

These two stones are located in the Pantdu Cemetery, Cwmafan, Near Port Talbot, Wales.

The gravestone below shows a female hand (lace cuff) holding a single rose. The rose represents love and purity and the brevity of life on earth. Life, like a blooming flower, is never meant to be permanent. The deceased apparently suffered from a long illness before passing on.

In Loving Memory Of / Catherine / Wife Of John Webb / Who Died April 8 1894 / Aged 56 Years

Affliction Sore Long Time I Bore / Physicians Were In Vain; / Till God Was Pleased To Give Me Ease / And Free Me From My Pain.

Also The Above Named / John Webb / Who Died May 26 1915 / Aged 76 Years

For I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

Catherine webb
Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/145139093

The following headstone is engraved with three roses, one for each of the deceased. The stone is unusual in that the engraver added punctuation to the legend – not commonly applied.

In Loving Memory Of / Frederick, / The Beloved Son Of / John And Mary Jane Gamlin  / Pontypridd, / Who Died June 18 – 1893, / Aged 9 Months.

Short Was Our Little Darlings Stay, / He Came Just As A Guest, / Just Tasted Life And Fled Away, / To His Eternal Rest.

Also The Above Named / John Gamlin, / Who Died July 7 – 1950, / Aged 80 Years. / Also His Beloved Wife / Mary Jane Gamlin, / Who Died May 21, 1954, / Aged 81 Years.

Reunited.

frederick gamlin
Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/111992879/john-gamlin

Both stones were erected in the late 1800s, and yet one appears to have endured much better than the other.

Spirit Houses

A graveyard at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Eklutna, Alaska is filled with burial sites in the form of large dollhouses. Russian Orthodox missionaries who lived in the area in the early 19th century lived side by side with Athabaskan natives.

The Athabascan burial practice began with placing a blanket over the grave to comfort the departed soul. Forty days later a spirit box was placed on top. The size of the box was determined by social status and was painted with tribal colours. Athabascans believed that that which is taken from the Earth must be allowed to return and therefore the spirit houses were not maintained and left to decay.

People who were members of the church also have their graves marked with the Orthodox Christian Cross. The upper horizontal bar represents the inscription over the head of Jesus. The Middle Bar is the board on which the Lord’s hands were nailed, and the slanting bar represents the footrest.

R.I.P. Not!

The power of water and subsequent flooding can be catastrophic disturbing even the dead. Hurricanes with record breaking amounts of rain, and rising sea levels due to global warming cause subsidence especially in ‘spongy’ soil.

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Lawton, PA. Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/JHY5GxH

Charles Hunter, the Calcasieu Parish chief coroner investigator, Louisiana. “In a flood, the air pressure builds up in that vault and it will eventually break the seal,” he said. “When that happens, the lid just pops off. I’ve even seen the water pick up the entire vault, and they can weigh in excess of 3,000 pounds.”

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Rochester, VT after Hurricane Irene 2011. Source: https://www.nola.com/hurricane/2011/10/flooded_vermont_town_struggles.html

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Springfield SC. Source: https://khqa.com/news/nation-world/caskets-rise-from-south-carolina-cemetery-after-widespread-flooding

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New Orleans LA. Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/louisiana-flooding-caskets-calcasieu-parish/
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Louisiana. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGYkA7HgKCU
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Louisiana. Source: https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0518/How-fast-is-New-Orleans-sinking-Faster-and-faster-says-new-study
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Source: http://www.ghosthuntingtheories.com/2017/07/flooded-cemeteries-terrifying-finds.html

Dr. David Persse, the physician in charge of Houston’s Emergency Medical Services and Public Health Authority stated, “Embalming kills all pathogens in the body, and corpses buried before the practice would be so decomposed in diluted floodwater there would be no danger.”

St. Brelade’s Graveyard

On the south of the island of Jersey at the western end of St. Brelade’s Bay is the parish of St. Brelade. Legend states that the area designated for the church was a sacred site to the fairy folk, and during the building of the church foundations, stones and workmen’s tools were removed a mile away to the beach. The workmen moved all the stones and tools back to the original site, but the following morning, everything had been moved to the beach again.

St. Brelade’s church is located between the farming community of Les Mielles and the community of St. Aubin. The date of the present church is unknown, but it is mentioned in deeds of patronage in 1035.

The original churchyard surrounding the Parish Church was extended in 1851. During World War I German Prisoners of War from the Blanche Banques Camp at St. Ouen were buried in the Strangers’ section (northern part of the chuchyard). During the Second World War the Germans occupied Jersey and a war cemetery was created in St Brelade’s churchyard.

E17GermanCemetery

In 1961 all the German soldiers, 337 bodies from the war cemetery, and 10 from the Strangers section, were exhumed and reburied in the German Military Cemetery at Mont de Huisnes, France. The churchyard is now closed for all new burials.

Pretty Loch Leven Graveyard

Village of Ballchulish in Lochaber, Scotland

St John’s Episcopal Church located at the foot of Glen Coe on the shore of Loch Leven has to be one of the most picturesque locations for a graveyard. In late May and early June, the grounds are blanketed by a sea of bluebells.

Within the grounds a small stone storehouse with slate roof surmounted by a wooden cross was converted to a chapel in the late 1700s. The existing church was built in 1842.

Most of the graves marked by cast iron botonee crosses are identified only by a number.

Many of the gravestones were made from durable slate, hence the clarity of engravings and dedications.