Some people are uncomfortable talking about cemeteries and headstones. For some, the mere mention of the words bring the images of death and sorrow to mind.
Lindquist Mortuaries and Cemeteries and many others list some interesting facts that will make you smile and see cemeteries and headstones in Ogden in a different light:
No More Mortsafes
Before the 18th Century, people covered the graves of their departed loved ones with stones or with mortsafes (iron cages). It was done for four reasons:
- To prevent grave robbers from ravaging the grave.
- To prevent animals from digging the body out
- To prevent people from sitting or walking on the grave
- To prevent the dead person from turning into a zombie or vampire
The Y2K Bug
The year 2000 problem was not exclusive to computer programmers. It also affected the headstone industry. In the U.S. alone, at least 500,000 people had pre-purchased headstones that bore pre-carved dates starting with 19. The good news is most of them were glad to live beyond 1999.
“Remember, You Will Die”
Puritans were famous for their remarkable piety. They often placed Crossbones and Skulls on their headstones. It is a reminder that the buried person had gone to heaven. If you don’t believe it, you’ll end up in hell. The tradition is known as Memento Mori. It is Latin for “Remember, you will die.”
No to Headstones
For different reasons, there are many famous personalities who wished to be placed in unmarked graves. These include George C. Scott, John Wayne, Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, John Belushi, and Bessie Smith.
United Cemetery of America
Arlington Cemetery used to be exclusive for Union soldiers. In 1898, Pres. William McKinley, who once served as a Union soldier, said that it was time for the north to have a share in caring for graves of soldiers from the Confederate side. US Congress then enacted a law that allocated a part of the Cemetery for the graves of Confederates.
Regardless of how you feel about headstones and cemeteries, these facts should make you think about death from another perspective.