The New York City’s cemetery where ships go to die

As with the legendary elephants’ graveyard, ships go to die at Rossville on Staten Island, although this wasn’t always the original intent of the space. Squeezed between Staten Island and New Jersey is Arthur Kill waterway (“Kill” is merely a dutch word for “creek”, in this case not as creepy as it sounds) and the Witte Marine Equipment Company. Since the 1930s, the company would dredge, salvage, and resell materials from the wrecked and disused vessels of the New York and New Jersey waterways – the space originally being called…

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Graveyard at the end of Demon’s Road – Texas ~

There’s a remote, lonely dirt road outside of the university town of Huntsville, that for years has had the reputation as a place you don’t want to be after dark. The road, although not a Texas main artery, has the function of connecting two very busy provincial roads and for this reason many venture into the approximately 4 km of road that winds through desolate fields, woods, abandoned houses and the old Martha’s Chapel Cemetery. Its real name is Bowden Road, and today it would be almost forgotten if it…

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The splendid grave of the dancer Rudol’f Nureev covered by a rug like mosaic

A short distance from Paris is the Orthodox Cemetery Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, which houses many Orthodox Russians who died and were buried close to the French capital. Among these there is also Rudol’f Chametovič Nureev, one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the 20th century, who rests in a decidedly particular grave. The sepulcher is in fact covered by a mosaic in the shape of a Kazakh kilim, a carpet of great value which is woven like a tapestry, because the dancer was an avid collector of beautiful carpets and antique…

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Old Tonopah Cemetery~

As the story goes, the once booming mining community of Tonopah owes its existence to a wayward burro (a “burro” is small donkey, especially used as a pack animal in the southwestern U.S.). One of prospector Jim Butler’s animals had wandered off during the night and sought shelter near a rock outcropping. When Butler located the burro the next morning and picked up a rock to throw at the rebel animal, he noticed the rock was exceptionally heavy, and that rock turned out to be from the second richest silver…

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A mysterious visitor leave toys on the grave of a two-year-old boy died more than 100 years ago.

Graveyard mystery haunts a town after teddy bears keep being left next to the tombstone of a two-year-old boy who died 134 years ago. No one knows who is behind it. This is a recent story, indeed reported a few days ago by Daily Mail. A haunting episode has left a small town baffled as a mysterious individual continues to leave toys on the grave of a two-years-old boy who died more than 100 years ago. Teddy bears and toy trucks are among the toys that have been left near…

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Coffin technologies that protect you from being buried alive!

The fear of being buried alive is know as taphophobia, and as early as the 14th century, there are accounts of specific people being buried alive. We are in High Middle Ages, and when the tomb of philosopher John Duns Scotus was opened, his was reportedly found outside of his coffin, his hands torn up in a way that suggests he had once tried to free himself. In 17th century England, it is documented that a woman, Alice Blunden, was so knocked out after having imbibed a large quantity of…

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Mt. Moriah: the cemetery housing wild west legends in South Dakota.

It is said that often it’s possible tell the history of a town through its cemetery. This is a little cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota, and buried in Mt. Moriah Cemetery, overlooking Deadwood Gulch, are western legends, folk figures, murderers, madams, children of misfortune, and Deadwood pioneers. In addition to the “normal” population, here there are four different sections in the graveyard: Potter’s field, where there are the graves of unknown people or settlers that came from Ingelside. They were buried without a stone or marker. Then there is a…

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The “spartito del diavolo” and the mysteries that surround Lucedio Principality. Truth or legend?

As we all know, at the base of every legend there is (almost) always something true, and that human imagination has no limits: it is enough to tell, for example, dark stories of ghosts, witches, curses, infernal rites, to give veracity to events happened (perhaps) a few centuries before. Thus, the presence of a strange musical score frescoed in an Italian church, according to research done by me and another collaborator, would seem something unique: here music assumes demonic valences, in which the notes, depending on the sequence in which…

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The mysterious Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Philippines

In the mists of time, for over 2000 years, the Igorot population has traditionally created wooden coffins and set them overhanging in the rock. The Igorots are an indigenous tribe living still today in Sagada, Luzon Island, Philippines, and this tradition is still present today. The Igorots practise unique funerary customs, in which the dead are buried in coffins which are tied or nailed to the side of cliffs. As tradition requires, everyone builds his own coffin, starting this work when he begins to feel the first signs of weakening…

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Woodstock Artists Cemetery~

A few minutes’ walk from the Woodstock Village Green, a zone often filled with lively music and art, there is a piece of green on a hillside filled with music and art, but in a little different way…….. This is the Woodstock Artists Cemetery, and its name came not from the founding family, who didn’t establish the cemetery with artists in mind, but from local residents who saw the place as a snobbish affront, a cemetery for the summer elite who fancied themselves too highly to rest for eternity among…

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Ile Sainte-Marie: Here lie the bones of pirates who terrorized the seas during the 17th and 18th centuries!

We are on the small island of Ile Sainte-Marie, off the coast of eastern Madagascar, where lie the bones of pirates who terrorized the seas during the 17th and 18th centuries. For around 100 years, Ile Sainte-Marie was the home of about 1,000 pirates, including widely-feared brigands William Kidd and Thomas Tew. A recently discovered map from 1733 refers to it simply as “the island of pirates.” Located near the East Indies trade route, the beautiful tropical island’s numerous inlets and bays made it the perfect place to hide ships.…

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Nazca, Perù: the macabre Chauchilla Cemetery.

We are in Peru, where, since 1997, law has protected the macabre Chauchilla Cemetery, a Nazca burial ground where mummified corpses were laid to rest until the ninth century. Discovered in the 1920s, the remains and artifacts were spread across the area, picked over by grave robbers. However, the burial ground has been restored to as close to its original state as possible, with the bones, bodies, heads, and artifacts either returned to tombs or showcased in displays. So, prior 1997, it was ravaged mercilessly by Peruvian grave robbers, and…

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Shirokorechenskoe: the Incredible Cemetery of the Russian Gangsters.

Shirokorechenskoe Cemetery, located on the southwestern outskirts of Yekaterinburg, Russia, is the last abode of many famous local people, including artists, scientists and heroes from the World War II, often adorned with unusual funerary sculptures, gem-embedded headstones and laser engravings of the deceased. But in a particular section of the cemetery, in the shade of the pines, there are some of the most elaborate funerary monuments: huge granite gravestones are engraved with life-sized, rather disquieting, photo-realistic images depicting gruesome looking men, dressed in expensive clothes. These characters often flaunt gold…

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Food and Drink on the Graves. A curious tradition~

Lot of cultures all over the world observe practices that involve leaving food or drink at the graves of loved ones. There are different specific traditions, but often people leave food and drinks that the deceased particularly enjoyed in life, or that held some special significance to them. Even if the Christian churches have, for centuries, regulated the liturgy and ceremonies for the dying and the dead, people everywhere have created their own death traditions and have often retained them in addition to those of the official Church. Food and…

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