brian-my-left-testicle asked: I just want to say that I LOVE your blog! It is awesome! The macabre has fascinated me ever since I was 8, and I love that you post so many archaeology things, too. I would, however, love to see more on mummies, not necessarily Egyptian ones, but ones from South America, too. You do a great job, and the theme is great (love the font, too!) Keep up the great work!
Spontaneous Mourning and Material Culture: The... →
American roadsides are home to a vast range of impromptu memorials, some anonymous and modest crosses at the scene of a tragedy and others elaborate and well-maintained commemorations. Most of the markers on the shoulders of American streets commemorate the victims of an automobile accident, but there seem to be no especially systematic surveys of the geographical distribution, styles,...
Novosibirsk Museum of World Funeral Culture →
Novosibirsk Museum of World Funeral Culture DEATH MUSEUM in Novosibirsk is the only Russian museum of its kind. It is an international project – the one and only Museum of World Funeral Culture. The intention of creation of the new Museum of World Funeral Culture is to form public attitude to ethic, social and ecological aspects of funeral services and death. The potential impact of this project...
Amsterdam Tattoo Museum features the macabre and... →
Exhibits at one of Amsterdam’s newest museums range from pieces of pickled skin to intricate tribal designs – and guest tattooists mean that you could leave with a permanent souvenir Pretty 19th-century Plantage Middenlaan is the unlikely setting for one of Amsterdam’s newest museums. The Amsterdam Tattoo Museum is incongruously housed in two belle époque mansions; bourgeois painted...
Can gawping at disaster be good for us? →
Mainly, I just wish I’d never encountered the website Serial Killers Ink, which showcases terrible artworks by the perpetrators of some truly terrible crimes. I don’t like to think about the kind of person who’d pay, say, $175 for a portrait of Jennifer Love Hewitt by Elmer Wayne Henley, who is serving six life sentences for mass murders in Houston in the 70s, or $60 for a...
Living on death in Zambia: 'Dead bodies can't harm... →
Undertakers are often almost invisible - and in some societies they are stigmatised because of their job. In Zambia strong cultural beliefs mean that they are feared and avoided by family members and neighbours. So what inspired a Zambian man to challenge traditional and to work in a mortuary? Hudson Mabwe Kapemba told the BBC World Service about his life as a mortuary attendant. The 58 year...
The Immortality Project →
Millions of people fervently believe in an afterlife. John Martin Fischer, a philosopher at the University of California at Riverside, is not one of them. But Mr. Fischer does see the subject as ripe for academic research, and on Tuesday the John Templeton Foundation awarded him a windfall to make that happen—$5-million for a multidisciplinary investigation of human immortality. The three-year...
Dancing With The Dead by Ed Ou Winter in Madagascar is a season that sees two traditional rituals of passage – famadihana (the ‘turning of the bones’), and rites of circumcision. Every five to ten years, it is the custom for many Malagasy families to exhume their deceased relatives, wrap them in new shrouds, and dance with their bodies before returning them to ancestral crypts. The...
Til death do we start: the rising trend for... →
Funeral homes and cemeteries are catching on to a new trend in wedding venues, using their chapels and grounds for big celebration events like saying ‘I do’. City-based couples are increasingly searching for a wedding location with solitude and leafy surroundings, while others are looking for a sentimental venue, and graveyards are seamlessly ticking both boxes. New York Marble...
Spitfire crash remains recovered in Berwickshire →
Police have begun a search for human remains at the site of a World War II Spitfire crash in the Borders. A group specialising in the excavation and recovery of WWII aircraft found human bones at Westruther near Greenlaw in Berwickshire last week. A Spitfire crashed in the area in 1943 and the 20-year-old pilot, Sgt Malcolm Robertson from the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was killed. Det Supt...
The landmark buildings that never were →
The recently opened Shard is already a familiar landmark on the London skyline, but how might the UK’s urban landscapes look if some of the most architecturally ambitious plans of past centuries had been fully realised? Economic and social factors across the ages meant that some of the grandest designs of renowned architects such as Lutyens and Inigo Jones were never completed. Here are...
Job Interview with a Mortuary Technician →
Carla wanted to work in a mortuary ever since she was a little girl. UK Pathologists prefer not to call it a morgue… This is a really informative interview and gives a great insight into an area of work that is rarely spoken about - brilliant stuff!
Thief boasts that he has robbed the graves of... →
A thief has boasted that he has robbed the graves of two of the world’s most famous composers - to steal their dentures. Slovakian Ondrej Jajcaj confessed to breaking into the tombs of 19th century composers Johann Strauss and Johannes Brahms and extracting their teeth in a video posted on YouTube. He then goes on to claim the stolen teeth will become part of an exhibition of hundreds of...
Films and corpses go hand in hand and they pop up... →
Cinema is littered with corpses. The pesky things pose endless disposal problems, refuse to stay buried, and in worst-case scenarios, re-animate and lust after brains. But sometimes a dead body takes centre stage and becomes a character in its own right, a talisman that changes the living, for better or worse. There’s something volatile and magical about a corpse - inert but accusatory,...
Hospital rejects donated body as too fat for... →
Queens mechanical engineer George Cardel had hoped to donate his body to science, but that dream was dashed when a medical school rejected his corpse because of its girth, a $2 million lawsuit claims. George Cardel’s final wish died with him — doomed by his hefty 300-pound frame. The Queens mechanical engineer had hoped to donate his body to science, but that dream was dashed when a medical...
Chilling, Unique, Unpublished: The Newgate Prison... →
This is the handwritten Newgate Prison execution journal of the “Ordinary”, or Chaplain, of Newgate, the Rev. Horace Salusbury Cotton. Cotton kept his macabre log throughout his tenure at Newgate, even though he was strictly forbidden from doing so. Between 1814 and 1839 he noted not only the names and crimes of those being executed along with the date of their execution but also his personal...