- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Fusion Press (21 Feb. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1904132022
- ISBN-13: 978-1904132028
- Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.6 x 2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,371,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cemetery Stories: Creepy Graveyards, Embalming Secrets and the Life of a Corpse After Death Paperback – 21 Feb 2002
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A unique collection of anecdotes and oral histories about death. Beginning with the story of the death of her grandfather, the author weaves an intriguing history of death and its accompanying rituals. Among the anecdotes recounted in the book is the night Jim Morrison (supposedly) died, and why there is speculation that he lives. Famous death rituals including the Odon Festival of the Dead are to be found here as well as tales of mysterious graveside visitors, the stories of gravediggers and even reported sightings of so-called Hellhounds. Packed with engrossing, eerie and overwhelmingly fascinating tales, the strange and macabre are featured too - from the man who slept with his dead wife for five years before burying her, to tales of more organised necrophilia parties! The facts, practises, history and folklore collected in Cemetery Stories will appease the most curious among us who yearn to learn about this biological certainty.
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Top Customer Reviews
But I was so happy when I found this book following my father's unexpected death . I felt that at last I would have the answers to what happened to him that afternoon after we left the graveside. I stayed up late every night reading it and continued first thing in the morning usually at breakfast.
Thankfully I did learn about the process of how the body breaks down after death, but also many funny and strange stories about undertakers, unusual and terrifying behaviour with corpses and much more. It was gripping - a bit like seeing ALL the gorey bits in a horror film minus the edits. At one stage I threw the book across the room and took a two-week break.
I recommend this title to you as a starter but be warned, you'll be enthralled in an oddly addictive way.
There is unfortunately one drawback , the author focuses on the rituals and practices of the USA. Are there any English writers willing to expose the rituals and practices of death and its associated industry of our green and pleasant land? I'm due my next fix.
The book is divided into three sections, concerned with the preparers of bodies, funeral directors and morticians, with burial, burial grounds and memorials, and with the supernatural, necromancy and necrophilia. There is no doubt that enormous effort has gone in to collecting all this evidence, but I can't help feeling that the book lacks any focus or central thesis. Most of the stories are cited without editorial comment; the few comments she does make are not much above the level of "yuck". It seems a shame to miss this unique opportunity to draw some conclusions about America's attitude to its dead.
While Ramsland's enthusiasm for her subject and energy in collecting her material must be lauded, it's impossible to let some of the factual inaccuracies in this book go. "In 1604 King Henry made it a felony in England to steal a corpse for the practice of witchcraft" [p. 204]; the 1604 Witchcraft Act was of course passed by James I, our last Henry (the Eighth of that name) having died in 1547. And on page 83, we read that "archaeologists assume that the first burial efforts were to protect the dead from spirits". Hardly; the first burial efforts were almost certainly to protect the dead from consumption by scavenging predators. And when you've collected oral evidence, this kind of niggling inaccuracy is very damaging.
This aside, for the taphophiles out there, this is an inevitable and highly entertaining addition to your book collection.
I was intrigued to learn about the yucky bits about embalming, laying out a dead body and burials. This book lays it out for you and is an interesting and intelligent read.
The cemetery stories with ghosts and necrophilia is a rather interesting section of the book, as a self confessed lover of graveyards I found this informative and rather inspiring as I have trawled through the book a second time for names and places to visit.
Get this book, it is fabulous! I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of ghosts, ghouls and vampires and those of you who are intrigued about what happens to us when we die!
If you are looking for a shocking and inflamitory insight into the embalming room- this is the book to read.
I enjoyed most of the book until the author begins her "interviews" with various embalmers and Funeral Directors who seem to know a lot about necrophile activities.
Using a little common sense one could fathom the following: 1) If you were a necrophiliac, would you tell anyone about your nefarious activities? I thought not.
2) Being an embalmer (in the UK)- I have never encountered a blue corpse. (Maybe they only get those in the USA.)
I could continue to pull these accounts apart, but they are so entertainingly sordid!
The dubious accounts of necrophile orgies in the Funeral homes of the USA put me off the rest of the book- although I do admit to laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all.
I do not recommend it for those of you who have had a loved one pass on recently. The stories in this book are works of fiction and poorly researched in many cases.
What I am trying to say is please do not take this book too seriously.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic and a very interesting read, I found this book to be very honest and knowledgeable ,would definitely recommend . Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down!!!Published 19 months ago by Hazel
Interesting read from this author who explores the concept of death and what happens to our body after the event. Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2013 by F Keegan
I wish Bastets review had been published before I bought this laugh out load nonsense! It starts out well with detail of what starts happening at the moment of death and how the... Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2011 by Sue.