The 199 steps (with benches for coffins) of Whitby, England

Thousand of people regularly climb up the 199 steps leading to St. Mary’s Church. Fortunately for them, visitors, locals, tourists or simply curious, some benches dot the stairway, providing perfect places for weary walkers to rest their legs and soak in the beautiful views of Whitby’s harbor. Absolutely one of the most beautiful views of Whitby you can achieve. What many tourists don’t know is that the platforms they sit on weren’t intended to hold the living. Absolutely no. Pallbearers, when they needed a break while carting the dead to…

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Burke & Hare Murder Dolls: the mystery of the dolls in miniature coffins

William Burke and William Hare were two serial killers who lived and operated in Edinburgh, Scotland, from November 1827 to October 1828. The duo, with the complicity of their companions, lured in and murdered their lodgers in a scheme to provide fresh bodies to the local anatomy school. Here Dr. Robert Knox, a brilliant and well-known local anatomy teacher, purchased the human remains and most likely knew that something was a bit suspicious about his “supply chain”. They killed 17 people and the crimes were exposed when another lodger discovered…

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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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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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