Customs & Rituals; For those with a beating heart
Good Evening my dear playfellows!
Enter the chamber, where Nighty emerges from her Electronic Coffin to bid you a most horrifying Welcome! Enter yes, and let us play!
Curious of the dead are you? Oh, forgive me— the undead? Nighty shivers in gruesome delight! Let us discuss; customs and rituals both traditional to some, bizarre (to say the least) to many with a beating heart.
Are you aware that not so long ago devices were invented for those believed to be dead, or shall we say those doubted to be dead?
Bells were rigged above the ground attached to a rope within a casket. This was devised, “just in case” the undead should awaken and need release from their darkened slumber beneath the cold, worm infested earth.
Why would they need such gadgets of deathly desire?
Well, my dear playfellows being a primitive time, little was known to adequately diagnose death. Many unfortunates were therefore buried alive— Oh Yes! Imagine, the screams heard from beneath your feet!
Thank Hades, we embalm now!
Oh, dear Beelzebub, what if??
There are, some rare disorders that mimic death. These poor individuals, very much alive, have awakened in the cold, cold morgue covered by a sheet, toe tag in place!
A toe tag my Playfellows!
That is definitely not meant to suffice as a fashion statement by any means!
These supposed dead and the contraptions designed to insure no breath existed in their corpse-like state, gave way to many medical instruments used today. Yes! Some, actually made sense! The stethoscope is one such instrument of greatest value. Nighty would advise requesting the use of one of these if you should depart. Temporarily, that is. Make a note of that, pass it along. “Use the stethoscope to insure the undeniable fact that I am indeed without a pulse.” In fact, wear it around your neck! Nothing wrong with a little death prevention.
Now, traditions played out by the living to honor the dead;
How cozy it must have been, grandma in her eternal sleep, nestled deep within her comfy coffin... in the dining room… AMONG THE GOOD CHINA! This was done whilst family members took turns, standing vigil— so… she dare not run away? Hades knows! But watched they did! This was a time when embalming was considered some futuristic voodoo, so these dead lay intact.
Well, let Nighty inform you, the dead who remain fully functional minus a beating heart, do and will make the most spine chilling noises! Muscles and nerves will continue to cause these dearly departed to move. Some, it has been documented would actually sit erect as if startled by the creaking of a door, or perhaps the realization that they, in fact are truly dead!
Another odd tradition to honor those so sorrowfully lost was to photograph them. Oh, not in the supine state! That would be absurd! No! Not the people in this age most morbid. Due to the lack of medical knowledge, entire families were overtaken by disease and perished. Those left behind would pose them, as though alive and well; children sitting upon a mother’s lap, dad’s arms around them all— and with camera ready, photograph them. The living, posing with the dead? Ah, yes! Many a gifted photographer could alter photos to make the eyes of the dead appear open! Gruesome enough for you, my playfellows? This custom, considered an art form began during the Victorian Age and carried on well into the 1940’s. I would not suspect they were required to recite the proverbial, “cheese.”
The most horrifyingly, extreme tradition Nighty will mention this cold and cryptic night, comes from India. Although, throughout the centuries being banned multiple times, this disturbing Hindu practice still persists. It is called, “Self-Immolation”— whereupon, a grieving widow will lay beside her husband atop his funeral pyre and burn herself alive next to his corpse.
Now that dear playfellows is the ultimate in love, honor and devotion of the most deathly kind!
Visited a funeral home of late? Hmm…a morgue? Perhaps that creaking of the floorboards at 3:00 am is the soul most unfortunate to have been buried alive! Dear Azazel, for Hades’ sake, as we learned from last week’s column… feed them already!
Until next time my playfellows, practice death prevention, check every corner, and by all means
(Echo of laughter)