There are several myths about The Great Wall of China; the most recognized myth would possibly be that the wall is the only man-made item noticeable from outer space, which is not at all true. Though, there is a much more ghoulish myth about the Great Wall that is fairly popular.

We know that building the Great Wall was an immense effort that likely involved millions of workers during the years. Numerous people who labored on the wall died while working on the assignment. This has led to the myth that there are possibly hundreds of thousands of bodies buried inside the remaining wall itself.

According to experts, this is very doubtful—though it’s difficult to prove either way. They claim that it would have significantly weakened the configuration, because the bodies would have produced air pockets as they decayed within the walls.

Still, there could be a definite component of truth to the story. Long before the current Ming Wall was built, there was another lost wall known as the Qin Wall. A domineering emperor of the same name ordered this wall’s production. Several legends claim there were so many deaths throughout the assembly that they just dug lots of graves and dropped the bodies right in. Though, even in these legends the deceased are not truly entombed inside the walls, as that would have been an unrealistic idea. They were simply buried nearby, as a matter of pure convenience—not to please the impulses of an outrageous dictator who believed a wall crammed with bodies was a good idea.

The most famous attraction in Hiawatha, Kansas is a 1930’s tomb sitting in Mount Hope Cemetery near the southeast edge of town. John Milburn Davis came to Hiawatha in 1879 at the age of 24. After a short time, he married Sarah Hart, the daughter of his employer. Her family did not approve. The Davises started their own farm, prospered and were married for 50 years. When Sarah died in 1930, the Davises were wealthy. Over the next 7 years, John Davis spent most of that wealth on Sarah’s grave.

The amount spent on the Davis Memorial has been estimated at anywhere between $100,000 and several times that amount. In any case, it was a large amount and included the signing over of the farm and mansion. This was during the Depression, when money was tight.

Several reasons are offered for the extravagance including great love or guilt, anger at Sarah’s family, and a desire that the Davis fortune be exhausted before John’s death.

The Davis Memorial grew by stages, which is bit of a shame. If it had been planned, it might have been built on a larger lot and made more attractive. The memorial began with a typical gravestone, but John worked with Horace England, a Hiawatha monument dealer, making the gravesite more and more elaborate. There are 11 life-size statues of John and Sarah Davis made of Italian marble, many stone urns and a marble canopy that is reported as weighing over 50 tons.

 

 

The Recoleta Cemetery is most famous for being the burial ground of Eva Duarte de Peron “Evita,” but it actually holds many famous military leaders, presidents, scientists, poets and other important or wealthy Argentineans.

David Alleno was an Italian immigrant who dreamed of being buried in the prestigious cemetery where he worked as a caretaker from 1881 to 1910. He saved enough money to buy a space and built his own tomb. He even traveled back to his home country to find an artist who could carve his own figure in marble, complete with keys, broom & watering can. Legend says that after the tomb was finished David took his own life inside his grave, but many reputable sources say he died years after the tomb was constructed.

This headstone is also located at the Recoleta Cemetery in Argentina. What’s unusual about it? Well, a man sitting on his sofa looking seriously at the horizon while a woman is seated in another one, at his back, but they are looking in opposite directions. They are placed like that because he died first, so the family made his Mausoleum. Some years later, when his wife died, in her testament she asked to be placed that way so as to represent their marriage: they spent their last 30 years without speaking a word.

When Jonathan Reed’s wife, Mary, died in 1893, the widower didn’t want to leave her side. In fact, he was so devoted he moved in to her tomb, where he lived (with a parrot) for over 10 years.

From Evergreen Cemetery’s website:

Reed had his Mary’s casket transferred to the vault, where he installed an empty casket in which he would eventually lie. He then settled into what became his second home. Domestic furniture stood in the vestibule, a wood stove provided heat, and scattered about the vault were a clock, some urns filled with flowers, photographs, paintings on the wall, a deck of playing cards, Mary’s half-finished knitting, and the family’s pet parrot (first alive, later stuffed). As word of Reed’s story spread, company began stopping by. Around 7,000 people stopped by in the first year alone.

Witnesses said he ate all of his meals there and held imaginary conversations with his wife. According to the New York Times article, published in March of 1905, “Mr. Reed could never be made to believe that his wife was really dead, his explanation of her condition being that the warmth had simply left her body and that if he kept the mausoleum warm she would continue to sleep peacefully in the costly metallic casket in which her remains were put.” The article also states, “According to his friends, he really believed that his wife could understand what he was saying to her.”

Reed died in 1905 and was finally interred with Mary — you can read his New York Times obituary here. Sad, but true.

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Graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, who were not allowed to be buried together. In the Protestant part of this cemetery, J.W.C van Gorcum, colonel of the Dutch Cavalry and militia commissioner in Limburg, is buried. His wife, lady J.C.P.H van Aefferden, is buried in the Catholic part. They were married in 1842, the lady was 22 and the colonel was 33, but he was a protestant and didn’t belong to the nobility.

This caused quite a commotion in Roermond. After being married for 38 years, the colonel died in 1880 and was buried in the protestant part of the cemetery against the wall. His wife died in 1888 and had decided not to be buried in the family tomb but on the other side of the wall, which was the closest she could get to her husband. Two clasped hands connect the graves across the wall.

Sweetest graves ever. 🙂