Last month I read an entertaining book on Cemeteries and thought I would recommend it to my fellow GYRabbits. I took it with me on my trip to California and it is one of those books you can read, put down and then pick up again. You can even skip around in the book depending on what you are in the mood to read! I enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d tell you a little about it, but first the formalities:
“Cemetery Stories; Haunted Graveyards, Embalming Secrets, and the Life of a Corpse After Death” was written by Katherine Rasland, published by HarperCollins Books and copyright in 2001. The book is in paperback.
Be aware though, this book is not an in depth book on Morticians, Funeral Directors or Embalmers. The author has taken the stories that have interested her and put them in the book. She scratches the surface of each subject and does not dig deep as many would expect. The book is entertainment, not a text book, although I did learn a lot from it.
With that said, the book over 200 pages and is divided into three chapters with each chapter broken down into different stories. I’ll give a breakdown of each chapter to pique your interest and perhaps entice you into getting your own copy.
Chapter 1: Workers of the Dead ~ you can pretty well figure out what this chapter is about, can’t you?
Burials, Funeral Homes, Autopsy, Preparing the Corpse, Embalming secrets Funeral Directors, Monuments, Mortuary Schools, Conventions for Funeral Directors and stories that accompany each of those headings ~ they’re all in chapter one. The story about woman who wanted to be buried in the pet cemetery next to her cat rather than next to any of her two or three deceased husbands was an interesting one. . . and she got her wish! There was no regulation against it!
The author actually attended the convention, talked to the proprietor of the school and various gravediggers, funeral directors and councilors. She attended an embalming and autopsy just to see what actually goes on and describes them, not in a morbid manner, but in a way that holds your interest. She tells the stores that others have told her about the strange and unusual events. I laughed at some and couldn’t believe others!
Chapter 2: Cemeteries, Tombs and Traditions ~ Of interest to my fellow Graveyard Rabbits . .
This chapter covers cemeteries and all that is of interest to us blogging Graveyard Rabbits. From mass burials (think Gettysburg) to mass transfers of bodies (think Colma, California) this chapter covers it. It covers Ghost Towns, Famous Graves, Monuments, Epitaphs, International Graves and Ceremonies. She tries to explain the fascination and allure cemeteries hold for people (like us!) and even tells us our name ~ Taphophile! We have a name! We are Taphophiles! This chapter explains the term, for those of you unfamiliar with it, as I was.
Chapter 3: Whispers and Shadows in the Night ~
This chapter did not hold my interest as much as the other two chapters did due to the subject matter involved. I am not personally interested in such as Corpse Abuse, Necrophilia, Ghouls and Rituals with the Dead, so I skipped over those particular subjects. I can honestly say, I did not read this entire chapter. I did read the sections on spirits and Ghosts, since I have felt the presence of spirits myself in a cemetery or two. Read the story about Cemitério Municipal de Canindé and see what you think! I was also surprised to learn that there are Museums dedicated to death. In Hollywood, California the doors to it are right by Bela Lugosi’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Overall I found the author a good storyteller, and the stories in the book are interesting and do give an insight behind the scenes, so to speak. She does give the background of a lot of traditions and practices and writes in a manner that the layman can understand.
It is also lightweight and fits into a purse easily~