Friday, January 31, 2014

Old Jewish Cemetery

This one was on our bucket list so I thought I'd share a few photos. There are some things that just defy description...

 This cemetery in the Jewish Quarter of Prague was the only area the Jewish were allowed to be buried from the 15th century to the 18th century. There are over 12000 tombstones in this area, roughly the size of a small city block. Historians estimate there are nearly 100,000 graves and as many as 12 deep.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Ossuary

 Had no idea what an ossuary was before our visit to the Czech Republic.
 In a nutshell it's timeshare for dead people. You get buried for awhile at an exclusive burial location then after a few hundred years or so, your time is up, they dig you up and relocate your bones to an ossuary so other people can be buried where you were.

Think the coins strewn around the mountains of skulls are where people made wishes?

This chandelier of skulls and bones is the centerpiece in the Ossuary.
The exclusive grounds in the village of Sedlec, in the Czech Republic, surround the abbey there. In 1278 the head of the monastery in Sedlec brought back soil from Jerusalem (or more specifically Calvary, where Jesus Christ was crucified) and sprinkled the earth around the cemetery. So now it became like this very cool place to be buried and everyone wanted in.  I didn't read how much it would have cost but I'm guessing no paupers were buried there. So that pretty much excludes any of my ancestors, assuming I have any Czech or Bohemian family history.

 A few wars go by and a couple of plagues and things are getting a little tight at the small cemetery, and in 1400 they added the Church of All Saints there. The first of the skeletons are exhumed to make room for the church and placed in an ossuary built beneath the church.

Around 1500, one of the order's monks who was partially blind, (and I'm guessing, based on his job assignment, was no one's favorite monk), is assigned the task of exhuming some of the graves and stacking more of the bones in the ossuary.

Finally, in 1700, Frantisek Rint, a Czech woodcarver, is hired and begins the decorating of the Sedlec Ossuary with all the exhumed bones. The most disturbing thing to me is why this job was thought of in the first place? I mean, what kind of warped mind says, "lets take all these bones and decorate"?

The macabre sculptures are unusual to say the least. Not as creepy as you might think. We missed out on seeing the catacombs in Paris and after seeing photos of this in the past, we weren't about to let this one go by. Certainly it was one of the more unusual things we've ever seen.

Family crest

We did spend quite a few minutes admiring the beauty that neglect had on some of the old tombstones




Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Dead with Dave" Video Contest Submission

Reworked our 2013 video to add some photos to the end  (at about 1:59) showing some of build process for "Sorrow" and the mausoleum facade and entered in the "Dead with Dave" Home Haunter Video Awards. We entered in the static prop contest even though I'm not very optimistic, there are some killer entries in that category this year! It's all good though, each year we see what people are creating and the videos they put together just challenges us for the next year!

We've also submitted to the Home Haunter Video Awards for the second year and the Canadian Haunter's Association Video Awards in the "International" Category.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Resting and Reflecting

Souvenir from Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic

Some days to recover from the holidays and I should be able to spend some time setting some goals for this years additions to Shingle Creek Manor. We're hoping our readers, fellow bloggers, and fellow haunters had an excellent Christmas and New Years and good fortune follows you throughout 2014.

An exhausting vacation out of my normal element and in strange surroundings always makes me feel re-energized when I return to my home and what I know. The renewed energy and creative feelings makes me optimistic for 2014. I'll share some of our more unusual and macabre discoveries in some future blogs maybe it will inspire or get the creative juices flowing so to speak. We did manage to bring back one unusual souvenir for this years haunt, ironically it didn't even get a raised eyebrow from Customs or TSA officials at the airports. Guess they've seen it all...

Looking forward to reading what everyone is planning and their goal setting for the new year. We hope you will continue to share with us!