Timeline for Taphophiles

Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax (gazissax@best.com)
Tue, 02 Jul 1996 17:44:36 -0800

I am assembling a timeline of signicant and interesting events in the history
of death and burial practices. Here are a few examples to give you some of the
flavor of this list:

1831 <TT>Aberdeen Magazine</TT> publishes Francis Clerihew's fictionalized account of
his experiences as a resurrectionist.
1832 English Parliament passes the Anatomy Act, which supplies doctors with cadavers for
1832 Utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham wills his body to science with the provision
that it be made into an "Auto-Icon" which shall be displayed periodically. He appears
at certain board meetings.
1838 Richard the Lionheart's lead-encased heart turns up in Rouen, France.
1839 Angry mobs destroy Ohio's Worthington Medical College for its practice of using
cadavers stolen from graveyards.
1840 The body of Napoleon Bonaparte is returned to Paris. More than 600,000 people,
including King Louis Phillipe, line the street to watch his cortege pass.
1841 Edgar Allan Poe's <I>The Murders in the Rue Morgue</I> makes its first appearance
in <I>Graham's Magazine</I>.
1843 Church officials declare that the body of virtuoso violinist and agnostic Niccolo
Paganini (1782-1840) may be buried in consecrated ground. Genovese officials refuse to
bury him, however, until 1896 because of rumors that Paganini made a Faustian pact in
exchange for his genius.
1847 Survivors of the Donner Party admit to cannibalism during their winter entrapment
in California's Sierra Nevada.
1847 Death of Dr. Jacobus Kolletschka from a cut finger during an autopsy enables Dr.
Ignaz Semmelweis to prevent puerperal peritonitis (childbed fever).
1849 The husband-wife team responsible for burials during Glasgow, Scotland's cholera
epidemic seal bodies as soon as they are declared dead and refuse to open the coffins
even if the "corpse" begins to kick and scream.
1849 The childless wives of King Thien Thi of Cochin, China are buried with him so that
they can prepare his daily meals and provide for him.
1849 Edgar Allan Poe dies after completing his famous ode to necrophilia, <I>Annabel
1852 The Duke of Wellington's death is marked by grand memorial services in London and
1856 The New York Supreme Court affirms the right of the next-of-kin over the body.

Any additional entries would be appreciated and acknowledged.


Joel GAzis-SAx
Caretaker, City of the Silent

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