Known as Mortsafes in Britain, already documented in the post Body Snatchers, these parallel iron bars are known as caged graves in the USA. Legends abound for the reasoning behind the ‘cages’ such as wolves digging up the recently buried, or a restraint against the undead and vampires. However, it was most likely a deterrent to body snatchers hired to provide fresh corpses to anatomists in Medical school.
Mt. Zion Graveyard, referred to locally as the Hooded Graves Cemetery, in Franklin Township, Catawissa, Columbia County, PA, contains several caged graves.
On 18 June 1852, Sarah Ann Boone died at age 22 years. A small marker carved with the initials S.A.B. identifies her grave which is protected by a cast iron cage with ogee roof and two winged eagles on the peaks (eagles symbolize salvation). A headstone reveals several details of the woman known as Sarah.
Daughter Of Lloyd Frances Thomas
Entered Into Rest
June 18, 1852
Aged 22 Years 6 Mos 9 Days
Lo! Where This Silent Marble Weeps
A Friend, A Wife, A Mother Sleeps
The image of an open bible represents resurrection through scripture, and the drapery with frills and tassels denotes mourning.