Tag Archives: Graceland Cemetery

The Mythical Sphinx

The sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion, protector of the dead, it is historically connected to the pyramid, the ultimate in tombs.

There are two types of sphinx; most famously the Egyptian sphinx modeled after the Great Sphinx at Giza which represents a male. The head is dressed with a neme, the striped headcloth worn by pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Occasionally a false beard is displayed. As beards were associated with the gods, Pharaohs wore false beards for ceremonies to express their importance and divine ranking.


In March 1865 Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Jacob Bigelow proposed that the Mount Auburn Cemetery commission “a public monument in memory of the heroes who have fallen in the present war for the preservation of the Union.” When the trustees postponed making a decision he commissioned the Irish-born sculptor, Martin Milmore, to create a Sphinx to be cut from a single block of Hallowell granite, 15 feet long and about 8 feet high.

The Sphinx was chosen as it represented the strength of a lion and the beauty and benevolence of a woman. The inscription was composed by Dr. Bigelow “American Union Preserved; African Slavery Destroyed; By the Uprising of a Great People; By the Blood of Fallen Heroes.”


The Brunswig tomb in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana was built to commemorate Lucien Napoleon Brunswig’s wife, Annie Mercer Brunswig and their son Lucien Mercer Brunswig (1882-1892) who died within a month of each other. His testament instructed his family to bury him inside the tomb with his wife and child. Brunswig is also interred with his two daughters, Henrietta Rosalie Brunswig (1879-1963), and Annie Brunswig Wellborn (1881-1982) and her husband.

Source: http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/2015/04/metairie-cemetery-tombs-pyramid-statues/

In Greek tradition, the sphinx was in the form of a female who was often bare-breasted and is therefore associated with maternal love.


Many neo-Egyptian designs in modern cemeteries feature the Greek variety which is often portrayed with the wings of a bird.

female winged_alter friedhof
Creative Commons License, Joachim S. Müller. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74743437@N00/8695400390

Within the Hildburghausen Cemetery in Germany a winged Sphinx sits atop the headstone belonging to the 19th century Egyptologist, Doctor Friedrich Carl Ludwig Sickler.

A pyramid marks the Schoenhofen Tomb in the Graceland Cemetery, Chicago. The entry door with a snake coiled on the handle is flanked by a sphinx and an angel. It is the final resting place of Peter Schoenhofen, a Chicago brewer.

The Drake Mausoleum contains members of the family and extended relatives. Originally at Laurel Hill Cemetery it was moved to West Laurel Hill, Philadelphia where it is guarded by a winged Sphinx at each corner of the roof. Thomas Drake Martinez Cardeza and his mother Mrs. Charlotte Drake Martinez Cardeza were surviving passengers of the Titanic shipwreck in 1912. Charlotte was a rich philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to the poor.

female winged_Drake Mausoleum
Source: https://www.mausoleums.com/portfolio/drake-mausoleum/


Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois


In 1880, six-year-old Inez Clarke was struck and killed by a bolt of lightning. Her parents commissioned an artist to create a sculpture in her likeness and placed it over her grave in a transparent box to protect it from the elements. It is rumoured that during thunderstorms the extremely life-like statue disappears from inside the box.
Daughter of
J.N. and M.C. Clarke
Born Sep. 20, 1873
Died Aug. 1, 1880

Stull Cemetery, Stull, Kansas

Source: http://www.onwravens.net/ravendaily/files/2013/10/20111119_199b.jpg

The graveyard is believed to be inhabited by evil forces, especially near the church, and is known by many names including Cemetery of the Damned. Also known as The Gates of Hell it is one of the many entrances to the Netherworld which opens on Halloween night. An urban myth states that Satan’s half-human child who is buried there transforms into a werewolf when he encounters humans

Highgate Cemetery, North London, England

Source: https://emcastellan.com/tag/london-highgate-cemetery/

This cemetery set in 37 acres of woodland is supposedly haunted by the Highgate Vampire, who according to urban legend, is 7-foot-tall and has been attacking people since 1860.

Western Burial Ground, Baltimore, Maryland

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2015 February 12.

The screaming of a murdered minister who is buried here was so troublesome that his skull was placed in cement to stop the screams that emanated from the tomb. According to visitors, the solution was ineffective and his screams which are still audible can cause insanity in those who hear him. The catacombs below Westminster Hall house the bodies of people who were buried alive. Look out for Leona Wellesley, an insane asylum patient, who was buried here in a strait-jacket and follows people through the cemetery. The spirit of an old groundskeeper has also been seen chasing people off the grounds while waving a shovel at them.

La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Source: http://canyouactually.com/19-of-the-most-haunted-cemeteries-on-the-planet-that-will-seriously-creep-you-out/2/

La Recoleta is haunted by a young girl named Rufina Cambaceres who was mistakenly pronounced dead. Her body was later found in an obvious attempt to escape her tomb. The tomb which was then resdesigned shows the failed attempt. She is rumoured to dig up other graves to make sure no one else has been buried alive. You may also encounter the night watchman who took his own life at the cemetery and the “The Lady In White” who roams at night.

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery — Bremen, Illinois

Source: http://canyouactually.com/19-of-the-most-haunted-cemeteries-on-the-planet-that-will-seriously-creep-you-out/2/

This derelict cemetery is isolated and looks abandoned. On foggy weather days, a bungalow appears in the distance but vanishes before you can approach it. There are also reports of photographs that have been taken of a ghost sitting on a tombstone. She is named the Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove.

St. Louis Cemetery No.1, New Orleans

Source: http://canyouactually.com/19-of-the-most-haunted-cemeteries-on-the-planet-that-will-seriously-creep-you-out/2/

St. Louis Cemetery has the title of the most haunted graveyard in the world. The ghosts of shouting children have been reported. It also contains the grave of Marie Laveau, the voodoo princess. Her gravestone is etched with three X’s. She has been sighted chanting curses. Many visitors leave her offerings to appease her spirit. A young man named Alphonse approaches visitors and it has been said that they have felt his icy cold touch. The spirit of tour guide Henry Vignes has been unable to rest as he searches for his family’s tomb.