Interesting Facts about Cemeteries..Myth or Truth?

    "Did You Know?" 
    Interesting Facts About Cemeteries..
    Do you know the difference between a coffin, a casket and a sarcophagus? It's the 
    shape! A coffin is wider at the shoulders, narrower at the head and feet. A casket is 
    rectangular and a sarcophagus is more molded into the shape of the human body and 
    often had a portrait of the deceased painted on the lid.
    Based on a standard grave size of 3' x 8', one acre of land will provide enough space 
    for 1,815 graves. 
    The typical iconography for Faith (cross), Hope (anchor), and Charity (mother and child)
    are among the most commonly used Victorian funerary symbols. Even groupings of three, 
    such as three steps into a chapel or mausoleum, or tiers on a monument, may signify this 
    most favored symbolism of heavenly apiration. The upward pointing obelisk (another popular 
    monument style) will often have a three layer base. 
    The custom of shutting the eyes of the deceased is believed to have begun this way, done 
    in an attempt to close a 'window' from the living world to the spirit world. Covering the 
    face of the deceased with a sheet comes from pagan beliefs that the spirit of the 
    deceased escaped through the mouth. 
    In some cultures, the home of the deceased was burned or destroyed to keep his spirit 
    from returning; in others the doors were unlocked and windows were opened to ensure 
    that the soul was able to escape. 
    In 19th century Europe and America the dead were carried out of the house feet first, in 
    order to prevent the spirit from looking back into the house and beckoning another member 
    of the family to follow him. Mirrors were also covered, usually with black crepe, so the 
    soul would not get trapped and not be able to pass to the other side. Family photographs 
    were also sometimes turned face-down to prevent any of the close relatives and friends 
    of the deceased from being possessed by the spirit of the dead. 
    Some cultures took their fear of ghosts to an extreme. The Saxons of early England cut 
    off the feet of their dead so the corpse would be unable to walk. Some aborigine tribes 
    took the even more extreme step of cutting off the head of the dead, thinking this would 
    leave the spirit too busy searching for his head to worry about the living. 
    The use of tombstones may go back to the belief that ghosts could be weighed down. 
    Mazes found at the entrance to many ancient tombs are thought to have been 
    constructed to keep the deceased from returning to the world as a spirit, since it was 
    believed that ghosts could only travel in a straight line. Some people even considered 
    it necessary for the funeral procession to return from the graveside by a different path 
    from the one taken in with the deceased, so that the departed's ghost wouldn't be able 
    to follow them home. 
    Some of the rituals which we now practice as a sign of respect to the deceased, may 
    also be rooted in a fear of spirits. Beating on the grave, the firing of guns, funeral bells, 
    and wailing chants were all used by some cultures to scare away other ghosts at the 
    In many cemeteries, the vast majority of graves are oriented in such a manner that the 
    bodies lie with their heads to the West and their feet to the East. This very old custom 
    appears to originate with the Pagan sun worshippers, but is primarily attributed to 
    Christians who believe that the final summons to Judgment will come from the East.
    Did you know...
    In 1785, the city of Paris removed bones from cemeteries to ease the overflow of dead 
    people. They took these bones and stacked them in tunnels now known as the Catacombs. 
    You can visit these tunnel attractions and work your way along long corridors, which 
    are stacked with skulls and bones. 
    What is the difference between a cemetery & a graveyard?
    Graveyards are in the "yards" of churches.
    What's the difference between a cemetery and a graveyard?
    Answer:  A  graveyard  is  always  adjacent  to  and  part  of  a  church.
    Did you know...
    In Czechoslovakia, there is a church that has a chandelier made out of human bones. 
    The sound of bells drives away demons because they're afraid of the loud noise. 
    When a bell rings, a new angel has received his wings. 
    A bird in the house is a sign of a death. 
    If a robin flies into a room through a window, death will shortly follow. 
    If you get a chill up your back or goosebumps, it means that someone is walking over 
    your grave.
    Light candles on the night after November 1. One for each deceased relative should 
    be placed in the window in the room where death occurred.
    You must hold your breath while going past a cemetery or you will breathe in the 
    spirit of someone who has recently died.
    If a clock which has not been working suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the 
    You will have bad luck if you do not stop the clock in the room where someone dies. 
    If a woman is buried in black, she will return to haunt the family. 
    If a dead person's eyes are left open, he'll find someone to take with him. 
    Mirrors in a house with a corpse should be covered or the person who sees himself 
    will die next. 
    If you dream of death it's a sign of a birth, if you dream of birth, it's a sign of death. 
    If you touch a loved one who has died, you won't have dreams about them 
    A person who dies on Good Friday will go right to heaven. 
    A person who dies at midnight on Christmas Eve will go straight to heaven because 
    the gates of heaven are open at that time. 
    All windows should be opened at the moment of death so that the soul can leave. 
    The soul of a dying person can't escape the body and go to heaven if any locks are 
    locked in the house. 
    If the left eye twitches there will soon be a death in the family. 
    If a dead person's eyes are left open, he'll find someone to take with him. 
    Funerals on Friday portend another death in the family during the year. 
    It's bad luck to count the cars in a funeral cortege. 
    It's bad luck to meet a funeral procession head on. 
    Thunder following a funeral means that the dead person's soul has reached heaven. 
    Nothing new should be worn to a funeral, especially new shoes. 
    Pointing at a funeral procession will cause you to die within the month 
    Pregnant women should not attend funerals. 
    If the person buried lived a good life, flowers will grow on the grave. If the person was 
    evil, weeds will grow. 
    If a mirror in the house falls and breaks by itself, someone in the house will die 
    A white moth inside the house or trying to enter the house means death. 
    If 3 people are photographed together, the one in the middle will die first. 
    If 13 people sit down at a table to eat, one of them will die before the year is over. 
    Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house. 

    Diane Siniard Send your questions (and thanks) directly to Diane.

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