Sunday, November 17, 2019

Join us December 15th when the Boiler Elf makes his annual visit.

You were good this year...right?














right?

Watch this space in case of pre-salon homework...
it's been known to happen for this particular Salon.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Funerals! With Wulfride Blitzen (Unedited Transcript)



[13:59] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Hallo, Herr Steadman.
[14:00] Steadman Kondor: greetings herr baron
[14:00] Steadman Kondor: hope you have been well
[14:00] Fauve Aeon: Greetings Herr Kondor
[14:00] Wildstar Beaumont: greetings!
[14:00] Fauve Aeon: Greetings Admiral
[14:00] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Good evening everyone :)
[14:01] Fauve Aeon: Good Day Grafin, I hope you are well!
[14:01] Kailyn Stormraven (kailyn.bravin): Good evening
[14:01] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Slowly recovering from flu, still tired though.
[14:01] Fauve Aeon: Hello Miss Stormraven, welcome
[14:01] Kailyn Stormraven (kailyn.bravin): Thank you
[14:02] Fauve Aeon: I am very glad you are on the mend Frau Grafin *hugs*
[14:02] Fauve Aeon: Welcome Melanippe, lovely to see you again
[14:02] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta) *hugs* and smiles
[14:02] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): Ooo, that was excellent aim on my part!
[14:02] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Greetings to our new arrivals
[14:02] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): I think everybody else scattered to various suppers and bed, so I had to come.
[14:03] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): What in the world are you wearing?
[14:03] Fauve Aeon: it has been a very busy weekend here with events on the grid for sure!
[14:03] Lady Sumoku kisses Wulfi on the nose.
[14:03] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): Futuristic clothes.  Nyah.
[14:03] Coleen (coleen88mcgee) looks for a comfy chair
[14:03] Fauve Aeon: Welcome Coleen
[14:03] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Hello!
[14:04] Coleen (coleen88mcgee): 'ellos all
[14:04] Fauve Aeon: Welcome Laird Tamlorn
[14:04] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Guten Abend, everyone.
[14:04] Fauve Aeon: Welcome Miss Blackwater
[14:04] Larlotte Blackwater (larlotte): Thank you
[14:05] Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood (tamlorn): Greetings all.
[14:05] Fauve Aeon admires Melanippe's hat
[14:05] Ravenghost Antique Absinthe Fountain 1.3 whispers: Fauve Aeon has set down an absinthe goblet, places a slotted spoon and sugar cube, starts the cold water drip, waiting in anticipation for the louche.
[14:05] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) feels eyes on her head and grins
[14:06] Wildstar Beaumont: :)
[14:06] Fauve Aeon prepares some absinthe doses
[14:06] Fauve Aeon: ((and kicks the spelling bot))
[14:06] Ravenghost Antique Absinthe Fountain 1.3: Louche has bloomed, anyone can click goblet to attach.
[14:06] Fauve Aeon: I see we have some of His Blueness's cookies as well
[14:07] Fauve Aeon: mind the 'slpodey ones
[14:07] Ravenghost Absinthe Goblet (r) whispers: The louche has bloomed, herbal aromas fill the air, the absinthe is ready to drink.
[14:07] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Indeed. Excellent selection.
[14:07] Fauve Aeon: The louche has bloomed, herbal aromas fill the air, the absinthe is ready to drink.
[14:07] Fauve Aeon: please do click and take a glass if you indulge, it is ready
[14:07] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Welcome to March's Aether Salon, home of Dauphine Fauve's talkative absinthe.
[14:07] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): A few points of order before we start.
[14:07] Fauve Aeon hiccups wistfully
[14:07] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): 1) To ensure you can hear the speaker, stand or sit on the patterned carpet.
[14:08] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): 2) Sit wherever you might like in the provided seating. If you would prefer a wearable chair, please contact me in IM. The director's chairs are for Tinies.
[14:08] Fauve Aeon: ((welcome Mr Falconer))
[14:08] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): 3) Please remove all lag-feeding thingamajigs you might be wearing.
[14:08] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): 4) A tip jar is out for our speaker. Do please show your appreciation!
[14:08] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): 5) Any tips to help support the establishment will also be welcome - just click on one of the support signs or this handsome clank floating above us.
[14:09] Larlotte Blackwater (larlotte): Mr Falconer! So good to see you!
[14:09] Wildstar Beaumont waves at Liz
[14:09] Ranulf Falconer: "Greetings everyone.' -- bows to Dee and Lar.
[14:09] Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood (tamlorn): I don't see many chairs, have they simply not rezzed yet?
[14:09] Fauve Aeon: ((Welcome your Grace))
[14:09] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): They have not rezzed yet, but I can give you one.
[14:09] Dee Wells (promiscute) waves :)
[14:09] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Just a moment.
[14:09] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Welcome, welcome :)
[14:09] Fauve Aeon: (( Welcome Mr Tenk))
[14:09] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): 6) If you are not a member of the AEther Salon group, there are signs that will let you join up. You'll be most heartily welcome.
[14:09] Fauve Aeon ((waves to Dee))
[14:09] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): 7 ) Edited and unedited transcripts of these proceedings will be posted at http://aethersalon.blogspot.com.
[14:10] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): 8) Tea and treats are set out - help yourself! Beware of possible Hatchies guarding the sweet biscuits.
[14:10] Ravenghost Antique Absinthe Fountain 1.3 whispers: Fauve Aeon has set down an absinthe goblet, places a slotted spoon and sugar cube, starts the cold water drip, waiting in anticipation for the louche.
[14:10] Fauve Aeon: (((shhhhh...)))
[14:10] Larlotte Blackwater (larlotte) nods to Tenk
[14:10] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Our speaker today is a long-time resident of several of the Steamlands, a responsible citizen and a highly regarded staff member with the Embassy.
[14:11] Ravenghost Antique Absinthe Fountain 1.3: Louche has bloomed, anyone can click goblet to attach.
[14:11] Ravenghost Absinthe Goblet (l) whispers: The louche has bloomed, herbal aromas fill the air, the absinthe is ready to drink.
[14:12] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): She is also an archeologist of long standing, and finds all kinds of history fascinating. Today she will fascinate us with funeral traditions and history. Wulfrithe Blitzen, everyone.
[14:12] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander) applauds
[14:12] Fauve Aeon claps wildly
[14:12] Lady Sumoku cheers cheeringly
[14:12] Nika Thought-werk (robotnika) claps.
[14:12] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Danke, Herr Baron and thank you all for being here today.
[14:12] Fauve Aeon: ((welcome to all you late-niks))
[14:12] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) must support fellow Amazons
[14:13] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Before I start, I would like to make a note - I am recovering from a very bad flu infection and wrote this during the worst period - it is not as polished as I would like.
[14:13] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Secondly, if at any point, you have a question, please ask!
[14:14] Nika Thought-werk (robotnika) smiles as she listens and wonders why anyone would dislike having to fly.
[14:14] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): It is hard for us to understand the Victorian preoccupation with death.
Although they were familiar with death and did not welcome it, they did relatively feel rather at ease with it. They celebrated it for no other stage of life demanded such elaborate rites of passage. We in the 21st century are now the opposite; with many people 'erecting fences' when the matter is brought up and instantly changing the subject. In African and some Asian cultures, it is a time of partying and joy. We know about the New Orleans Jazz funerals, but have you ever seen Ghana Coffin Dancers who perform feats of strength while carrying the coffin to the gravesite to wild music?
[14:14] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/untitled-1.gif
[14:14] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): A small gif of them in action
[14:14] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In this talk, I will cover the rituals and habits of the English, which were to some extent copied in America for a set period of time. Some information may surprise you and I hope to dispel some of the more lurid and false Internet myths that have sprung up about the Victorian way of death. I am however just scratching the surface - there is an awful lot more to learn.
[14:15] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Before Death:
Preparations for the funeral might take place well in advance by both rich and poor - the actress Sarah Bernhardt famously kept her coffin in her boudoir and was photographed in it, something she undertook on a regular basis it was claimed. The poor too: one period writer commented on his village carpenter making his own coffin then turning it into an upright storage space and cupboard until the time came for it to be used. Earlier there are several accounts of generals setting off to war and battle complete with their coffins strapped to the back of their coach.
[14:15] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): There she is, looking languid and Gothic
[14:16] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander) kisses Zanta's hand
[14:16] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The Earl of Essex was one such general who at the start of the English Civil War in 1642 became a butt of jokes when his coffin, winding sheets and other funerary items was said to slow down his regiment during marches. Some accounts survive of dying ladies being visited by friends to approve the wreaths they will put upon their coffin and graves. This was far from a morbid visit and usually depicted as a happy social time where the dying person would be cheered by having a 'good funeral'.
[14:16] Zantabraxus (zantabraxus.aristocarnas) settles in quietly
[14:16] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The role of Undertaker did not exist before the mid 17thc when everything was left to family and friends. Traditionally women washed and prepared the body before the funeral. So many people died in the great plague of 1665 that the role grew from a small group of volunteers who offered to take away the diseased corpse as no one else would touch them. In just twenty years it became established as a very profitable business with its own traditions and trappings.
[14:16] Fauve Aeon smiles at the Queen's lovely presence
[14:17] Dee Wells (promiscute) waves to Zanta :)
[14:17] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In the image on the right you can see an invitation for a night funeral.
[14:17] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Mourning:

Although black is traditionally worn we have to bear in mind that until the 1840's when chemical dyes were invented, black was a very expensive colour reserved for the rich. The poor made do with a black ribbon or wore 'drab', consisting of dark grey or browns (another Roman tradition). However, in some countries white is worn instead. And until the 1920's white was worn in England for children's burials, unmarried women and girls who died in childbirth with their first child. Modern children's coffins are still white but people now wear black, although in England at least a new trend is emerging where mourners are asked to dress in bright colours to celebrate the life of the person. White was, before Queen Victoria, a rare colour to wear at a wedding because of its connection to death, and some people at the time found it more than a little shocking.
[14:18] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) grins
[14:19] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The image of the Queen of Holland is not a wedding, but of her in mourning. The Dutch Royal family still adhere to this tradition today
[14:19] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): On the left is a 'Mute', in this instance to a child funeral
[14:19] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Pardon, what are those wrapped poles?
[14:20] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Mourning had become very strictly observed by the Regency period, where rules stated how long you wore mourning, what type of mourning if you were a child, right down to the fabric used. Silk Crepe had become a fashionable mourning fabric as far back at the late 18thc, and society demanded that a widow wore black crepe up to four years before she was permitted to revert to fashionable clothing again. Half-mourning was permitted after two years, but a woman remarrying before the end of the mourning period was considered utterly scandalous. Mourning wasn't so strict for children who had passed away, being mostly one year. Poor people would wear black armbands.
[14:20] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Ah, the poles have various names including 'Muffler'
[14:20] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): It was a Victorian hang up from the medieval habit of displaying a banner with a coat of arms
[14:20] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They traditionally led the procession at the front
[14:21] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In the UK today you sometimes see a solitary man walking in front of the coffin, so his role, although less fabric covered, still exists
[14:22] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The start of the 17thc started a new craze for mourning rings, and by the late 18thc a fashion for hair braid lockets woven into intricate styles became fashionable. They actually started off as a sweetheart brooch, a gift between lovers or even just friends as before then mourning jewellery were rings. By the Regency era hair brooches became more intricate, often featuring a weeping willow tree made from the hair of the deceased. This pushed sweetheart hair gifts to a new direction, braided hair necklaces or bracelets, and sometimes these are mistaken for death or memento mori items. By the 1850's mourning hair brooches were a huge seller, and you could even buy empty ones to place your own hair into.
[14:23] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The brooch on the left is using hair to great effect, but this fell out of fashion by 1850
[14:24] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): I must briefly mention the so-called post-mortem photos, as many bloggers have posted thousands of these online. Unfortunately far too many are mistakenly labelled as post-mortem. Fake post-mortem photos, whether categorized in error or intentionally mislabelled to sell for a profit, have in recent years become widespread on the Internet. They fill online galleries of Victorian oddities and accumulate on Pinterest and Instagram—even otherwise reputable websites have contributed to the myths.
[14:24] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The image in the centre is often cited, but is NOT of a dead child.
[14:24] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Though unfortunate, it’s also understandable: there’s clearly something compelling about a lurid, not-so-distant culture engaging with death in a way we don’t. People have created fake history and its peculiarity is such that people want to believe it. Many are of people very much alive held in clamps to keep still for the long posing time, of children falling asleep during photo sessions, and of sick people being photographed because family feared the worst. People then did what people do now; look away at the wrong moment, get distracted, move...use your common sense, folks!
[14:24] Fauve Aeon has a book on this topic and wonders how many are fake...
[14:25] Lady Sumoku: Probably a lot.
[14:25] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): She looks either ill or about to nap.
[14:26] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): There's some new sites springing up which debunk these photos. Even a Twitter feed
[14:26] Liz Wilner: a bit of both
[14:26] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Embalming.
Although there have been great efforts for thousands of years for the preservation of the corpse it was rather a hit and miss affair. Embalming was rare and the preserve of the very rich, so bodies were washed, dressed within a 'winding sheet' often held together with pins and ties and then left to rest for a few days to ensure the person was really dead. It was already well known that some burials in lead coffins survived 'uncorrupted', but they did not understand the causes. However, by the late 18thc, the population boom made burials more urgent, and that was when rumours increased of live burials.
[14:27] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Heres' some examples of 'Avoidance of Live burials'
[14:28] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They are American - they seemed rather petrified. Even Washington demanded that his body be left for a couple of days to make sure he was utterly ded.
[14:28] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): *a
[14:28] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): The Dauphine is rubbing off on you.
[14:28] Liz Wilner: good precaution
[14:28] Fauve Aeon snickers and hiccups loudly
[14:28] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The idea of these crypts were that you were removed from your coffin and slid, feet first, into the tomb
[14:29] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Food and drink was provided, as was air
[14:29] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In an emergency, you could reach back and open the door
[14:29] Ranulf Falconer looks over at Coleen
[14:29] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the time of the Age of Enlightenment in the 18thc there was a sudden interest in new scientific methods, so much so that one eccentric, Martin Van Butchell of London advertised in 1775 that visitors were welcome to come and see his wife who had passed away and that he had embalmed in the utmost scientific way. She remained on display in his front window till his second wife demanded its removal. There are also records taken down in a scientific way of medieval coffins opened that had well-preserved incumbents where the liquid they were found in was sniffed and even tasted (I kid you not, they really did this).
[14:30] Nika Thought-werk (robotnika) chews happily on licorice root as she listens.
[14:30] Dee Wells (promiscute): Ew
[14:30] Steadman Kondor dry-retches
[14:31] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): If you don't believe me, there are several accounts out there :p
[14:31] Ranulf Falconer whispers: "Licorice... yuck.'
[14:31] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the mid 19thc Arsenic was commonly used to preserve bodies and came into its own during the American Civil War as bodies had to often be transported for great distances to relatives. By the 1920's this was replaced with Formaldehyde.
[14:31] Wildstar Beaumont: dinner stay down, please
[14:31] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): They believe you, they're just disgusted.
[14:31] Nika Thought-werk (robotnika) continues chewing.
[14:32] Dee Wells (promiscute): hehe Nika
[14:32] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) hides her garum.
[14:32] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta) lets that sink in for a moment
[14:32] Fauve Aeon impassively sips her herbal absinthe
[14:32] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): I thought arsenic was a beauty agent.
[14:32] Lady Sumoku: Medicinal
[14:33] Lady Sumoku: Arsenic was many things.
[14:33] Liz Wilner: it was in makeup for a very long time
[14:34] Fauve Aeon: if the first wife remained so Well Preserved, I can see why the second mortal ageing woman might request the removal...
[14:34] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Oddly they only stopped using arsenic when it was pointed out that it was poisoning the water table and causing problems in criminal cases where poisoning was suspected
[14:34] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): Oooooh
[14:34] Steadman Kondor quietly wonders how long it took them to work that out.
[14:34] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): So, how would you like to be furnished in your last journey?
[14:34] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Burial habits and change is usually marked by great social upheaval or devastating loss of life in war or disease. The Celts and the Romans practised bed burials which carried on into the early Christian period when beds were replaced with Biers, a kind of flat litter that was carried by four or six men to the gravesite, a tradition that still takes place today in Europe. Medieval parishes would have their own for communal use of the poor, complete with parish coffin for those too poor to afford more than a winding sheet. In those cases the body would be taken to the gravesite, removed from the coffin and buried. Many English churches still have their Victorian or older biers on display. Biers eventually gained wheels before evolving into the horse-drawn hearse.
[14:36] Fauve Aeon has already decided that all her lolita dresses will serve to line her coffin
[14:36] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In the middle is a selection of gravestones, and how they changed - 17th, 18th and then the mad period of 19thc realism and the grand 'showing off to the Joneses'
[14:36] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): 'My grave is bigger than your grave'
[14:37] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander) wonders how Zanta will bury him.
[14:37] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): On the upper left is a Pauper's Bier and Parish coffin
[14:37] Liz Wilner snickers
[14:37] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Underneath that in contrast is the gigantic cast iron monster used to carry the coffin of the Duke of Wellington in his 1850's State funeral
[14:38] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): You can still go and see it collecting dust at the Wellington family home
[14:39] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): On the right is a 'covered Bier', for when there was no coffin at all. It was presented to a small English church as a present by the village priest on the occasion of his birthday
[14:39] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): No cakes for him...
[14:39] Liz Wilner: lol
[14:39] Lady Sumoku: Happy birthday
[14:39] Steadman Kondor: i knew there would be beer at this talk :)
[14:39] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta) laughs
[14:40] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): From Roman times onwards the wealthy were buried in lead coffins and archaeologists in the UK still find them in various states of preservation, sometimes with beautiful decoration. By the medieval period they were small and tightly wrapped around the body in an anthropomorphic shape. Even Kings were buried this way. By the 18thc century a good burial was considered to be a lead coffin inside a red or black velvet covered oak coffin. This of course was excellent news to the undertakers, who began to cheat and hid inferior construction under the velvet.
[14:40] Njal Edwyn entered the region (168.86 m).
[14:40] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Tsch.
[14:41] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Now these are London burial crypts
[14:41] Liz Wilner: at least in boxes and not the skulls hanging out in holes in the walls of crypts
[14:41] Wildstar Beaumont: :)
[14:41] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In stark contrast with American crypts (having space), London had none and its common to see piles and piles of coffins
[14:41] Lady Sumoku: They have those too, in places.
[14:42] Wildstar Beaumont: hey ... I haven't taken you yet in to Roman catacombs
[14:42] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Many are still used too
[14:42] Liz Wilner: :)
[14:43] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Now with the 'gentrification' of London crypts are being emptied and reburied elsewhere, and specialist archaeological teams have sprung up - it's still possible to catch Smallpox from crypts
[14:43] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): I'm one of the last to have the Smallpox vaccination, so I get asked on occasion
[14:44] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Liz Wilner!
[14:44] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): I'm not that old, some European countries were still vaccinating against smallpox in the 1970's
[14:44] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): :p
[14:44] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander) chuckles
[14:44] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): As a side note, plague pits are deemed a danger to public health and when found are usually covered up and sealed
[14:45] Lady Sumoku: Possibly to hide evidence of zombies.
[14:45] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): It was discovered that a sample taken from a victim still had living plague virii
[14:45] Dee Wells (promiscute): Good Lord
[14:45] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Wildstar Beaumont!
[14:45] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Now to the interesting part!
[14:46] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Change was afoot, and Fisk cast iron burial cases were patented in 1848 by Almond Dunbar Fisk in Rhode Island. He claimed his new coffins were totally airtight, hygienic and perfect for the preservation of your loved ones.  While pine coffins in the 1850s would have cost around $2, a Fisk coffin could command a price between $40 to $100. Nonetheless, the metallic coffins were highly desirable by more affluent individuals and families for their potential to deter grave robbers.  These coffins came at a time when death and burial began to become a multi-million pound and dollar enterprise. Cast iron coffins became a huge success, even with some people finding the Egyptian style creepy even for their tastes. By 1860 their style changed into one still seen today with American metal caskets. They were sold around the world but America proved to be their main market. The traditional Brits preferred their lead-lined coffins and fitted guard rails on the graves if they could afford it.
[14:46] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Does any of our American guests recognise these?
[14:47] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Fisk patented these cast iron coffins in the 1840's, and before long they became the must have thing for the rich.
[14:48] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They even came with a little viewing window
[14:48] Liz Wilner: beware if the person inside waves back
[14:48] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They were sold to deter grave robbing, airtight and hygienic mode of burial
[14:48] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Robotnika Resident!
[14:48] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): And he claimed they preserved the body too
[14:48] Lady Sumoku: Looks like an iron lung gone wrong.
[14:48] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Fauve Aeon!
[14:49] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Recently two were recovered and the Smithsonian opened one and managed to reconstruct the occupant, a teenage boy
[14:49] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They agree they did indeed preserve their incumbent.
[14:50] Lady Sumoku: Now we know.
[14:50] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They changed shape by the 1860's and became the recognizable modern American style
[14:50] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the 1850's the English developed a collective fear of being buried in an unmarked pauper's grave and began to set up co-ops where for a small weekly donation they would be able to put some pennies into a fund to help with their burial. The very poor in workhouses could not afford this and continued to be buried in simple unmarked graves, or if in a big city, large mass graves.
[14:51] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): A population boom, large-scale people movement into the cities soon followed and graveyards began to fill up alarmingly fast. One such site was the Cross Bones graveyard in London, in use since the medieval period for the burial of prostitutes, executed criminals and suicides. It was closed in 1853 because it was "completely overcharged with dead", and further burials were deemed "inconsistent with a due regard for the public health and public decency. This began to be repeated around London and new sites had to be found urgently. Highgate Cemetery is probably one of the most famous of these new sites, and still on occasion allows funerals there if certain conditions are met.
[14:52] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Burials took place at all hours of the day and night, often at 11pm (finishing at the 11th hour) being the latest. Usually the coffin was followed by friends and family with the men at the front and ladies at the back. If you were wealthy enough you could afford professional male mourners known as Mutes, or even some feather bearers. Maybe a team of horses. You walked behind the coffin unless you were lucky enough to own a carriage. Mutes have a long history going back thousands of years, originally being female weepers, who by Roman times collected the tears to put in a bottle to bury with the deceased.
[14:52] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the 18thc they led the procession to the church, then to the grave. In the UK you will still see undertakers do this role in large funerals, although the title of Mute is now seen as archaic. Medieval habits persisted, with black hooded cloaks with Liripips (similar to modern academic gowns) eventually being replaced by the late 18thc with a wide sash made from Crepe silk worn over the shoulder and around the hat.
[14:53] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): From the 17thc onwards funerals began to be ticketed, especially if the person was popular or famous. The cards usually contained several reminders that one day, it will be your turn *and don't you forget it!*...or the people who invited you. Funeral biscuits with crosses and often made of shortbread were given to all mourners who turned up, another ancient tradition that sprung from the pagan feasts held around the dead. Funeral biscuits fell out of fashion by World War 1 and the Wake replaced them. There is presently an attempt at reviving this tradition.
[14:53] Fauve Aeon likes liripips and funeral biscuits
[14:54] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Cremation, although ancient in practice, was shunned by the advent of Christianity as a 'Pagan habit' and consequently only began to be used relatively recently. Some groups still oppose its use, but with modern graveyard sites running out of room and land becoming more of a commodity these thoughts may change over time. It was resisted in England during the 1860's when graveyards became a health hazard due to powerful religious leaders stating that one had to rise for the resurrection complete. It was not until 1874 that the Cremation Society, a secular organisation, was formed in London to campaign for cremation, mainly on the grounds of hygiene and cost.
[14:54] Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood (tamlorn): Oliver Twist was for a time employed as a Mute
[14:55] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Yes, Mutes were young and old. Today, you even see young ladies
[14:55] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the 1880s the mere act of organizing a large showcase funeral had reached the upper working classes who pulled out all the stops emulating the rich and state funerals. Naturally, like all these things are wont to do the rich scowled and suddenly found large, over the top funerals gauche and tacky and began to settle for more simple affairs.
[14:56] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Dressed up Mutes, Feather bearers and several horses slowly trickled into being seen as a sign of those 'lower sort', and the wealthy settled for just the hearse and a couple of carriages for the immediate family only. Gone were the velvet covered and lead-lined coffins, being replaced with simpler wooden affairs, now with rails for carrying by family members on the shoulders. By 1905 the only people who hired Mutes et al were the working classes who clearly had not got the memo yet that it was unfashionable and downright vulgar.
[14:56] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The photo behind me is a record of the last great funerals of London's East End
[14:56] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): He was a shopkeeper but he has a huge team of horses, mutes, feather bearers...
[14:57] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Tamlorn Resident!
[14:57] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By now the upper classes thought this was vulgar
[14:57] Lady Sumoku: And wooly Daleks.
[14:57] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): So, as we have run out of time, I shall end this talk today. Thank you for coming
[14:58] Liz Wilner applauds
[14:58] Kailyn Stormraven (kailyn.bravin) claps
[14:58] Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood (tamlorn): Thank you very much!
[14:58] Larlotte Blackwater (larlotte) claps, "Thank you!"
[14:58] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Kailyn Bravin!
[14:58] Nika Thought-werk (robotnika) blinks at Lady Sumoku and wonders whatever is a Dalek.
[14:58] Diogenes Teufelsdröckh (diogenesteufelsdrockh) claps enthusiastically
[14:58] Wildstar Beaumont: fascinating talk ! thank you !
[14:58] Nika Thought-werk (robotnika) claps happily.
[14:58] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Coleen88McGee Resident!
[14:58] Steadman Kondor: Wunderbar!
[14:58] Lady Sumoku claps
[14:58] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Steadman Kondor!
[14:58] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, DiogenesTeufelsdrockh Resident!
[14:58] Liz Wilner: well done...and so very interesting!
[14:58] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Wildstar Beaumont!
[14:58] Coleen (coleen88mcgee) applauds vigorously
[14:59] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Lady Sumoku!
[14:59] Zantabraxus (zantabraxus.aristocarnas) applauds
[14:59] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): I know its a sad topic, but there's a lot of fascinating things *cough* buried in there
[14:59] Wildstar Beaumont: good night everyone !
[14:59] Lady Sumoku salutes
[14:59] Zantabraxus (zantabraxus.aristocarnas) groans
[14:59] Liz Wilner: I must dash...have a wonderful evening everyone :)
[15:00] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Night, and have a good week!
[15:00] Tamlorn Carterhaugh Wood (tamlorn): Cheers
[15:00] Steadman Kondor: The whole point though is that they thought they would be woken up on judgement day isn't it?
[15:00] Zantabraxus (zantabraxus.aristocarnas): Good night, Liz
[15:00] Steadman Kondor: Literally from the Grave.
[15:00] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Yes exactly Mr Kondor
[15:00] Kailyn Stormraven (kailyn.bravin): I spent more than 400 EU in going to London for a 3 days trip and explore one graveyard for my book. The snow made it impossible. I have learned more here
[15:00] Coleen (coleen88mcgee) entered the region.
[15:00] Lady Sumoku: For some of them, I think it was also an attempt to outlive their bodies.
[15:01] Lady Sumoku: "People will remember me"
[15:01] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Nods
[15:02] Fauve Aeon hears the train whistle calling the Grafin away soon...
[15:03] Lady Sumoku: Sooner than soon.
[15:03] Steadman Kondor: Thank you for the talk and for organising this .
[15:03] Steadman Kondor: Till next time!
[15:03] Lady Sumoku claps
[15:04] Fauve Aeon: I have toured a hair museum in Kansas City, fascinating stuff, the owner teaches the art still...maybe we can organize a followup next year, funerals, food and art *grins*
[15:04] Lady Sumoku: The train came early. >.>
[15:05] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) applauds
[15:05] Fauve Aeon waves the Grafin on through the Aether
[15:05] Fauve Aeon offers last nips of absinthe
[15:05] Ravenghost Antique Absinthe Fountain 1.3 whispers: Fauve Aeon has set down a absinthe goblet, places a slotted spoon and sugar cube, starts the cold water drip, waiting in anticipation for the louche.
[15:06] Nika Thought-werk (robotnika) gets up and decides to take one last attempt at the projector.
[15:06] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) blinks a little fuzzily.
[15:06] Fauve Aeon: (( I will ask for the photos for the transcript))
[15:06] Lady Sumoku: Projectiles?
[15:06] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): Long day.  I'm sorry I missed her going.
[15:06] Nika Thought-werk (robotnika) grabs a wrench next to her and walks home.
[15:06] Lady Sumoku: She crashed.
[15:06] Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Melanippe Karas!
[15:06] Fauve Aeon: she did crash I think and ran off when the trolley came by *grins*
[15:06] Ravenghost Antique Absinthe Fountain 1.3: Louche has bloomed, anyone can click goblet to attach.
[15:07] Ravenghost Absinthe Goblet (l) whispers: The louche has bloomed, herbal aromas fill the air, the absinthe is ready to drink.
[15:07] Lady Sumoku: She's gone silent in the interwebs so I assume her network has gone amiss.
[15:07] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): Oh dear.
[15:07] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): I appreciate Fauve coming and trying to educate the Romans.
[15:08] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) grins
[15:08] Lady Sumoku: A valiant attempt?
[15:08] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Is that what you call it now?
[15:09] Fauve Aeon: they are lovely and I will run off in bare feet and toga once again soon to be educated myself, the rite was lovely!
[15:09] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): Gratias!
[15:09] Fauve Aeon: I suspect Zanta's Ladies might be fierce chariot racers also if given 1/2  a chance
[15:09] Zantabraxus (zantabraxus.aristocarnas): Heh
[15:10] Fauve Aeon *grins*
[15:10] Lady Sumoku: And an interwebs free of trolley stops.
[15:10] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): I'd love to have more charioteers!
[15:10] Fauve Aeon: do you have practices to teach us to manage them I wonder?
[15:10] Fauve Aeon: before the races?
[15:10] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): Practices are every Monday.
[15:11] Fauve Aeon: oh splendid, I will relay the info, expect some green haired ladies to join the fun *smiles*
[15:11] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): I announce on Aether Chrononauts, too.
[15:12] Fauve Aeon: thank you, I will look for the message
[15:13] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): I am closing up the building.
[15:13] Dee Wells (promiscute) waves and runs off screaming
[15:13] Lady Sumoku will take the hint.
[15:13] Fauve Aeon reluctantly packs up her absinthe kit
[15:13] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Heh.
[15:13] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): I have a rezday to visit briefly.
[15:13] Lady Sumoku: You can lay it out in your living room now.
[15:14] Fauve Aeon: we will sweep up, sir.
[15:14] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): We had festival all day, I need to go nap.
[15:14] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas): Valete, omnes, and gods bless!
[15:14] Lady Sumoku waves
[15:14] Fauve Aeon hugs Melanippe and Lady
[15:14] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Guten Abend.
[15:14] Melanippe of Themiscyra (melanippe.karas) waves and poofs

Funerals! With Wulfride Blitzen (Edited Transcript)



[14:04] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Guten Abend, everyone.
[14:07] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Welcome to March's Aether Salon, home of Dauphine Fauve's talkative absinthe.
[14:07] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): A few points of order before we start.
1) To ensure you can hear the speaker, stand or sit on the patterned carpet.
2) Sit wherever you might like in the provided seating. If you would prefer a wearable chair, please contact me in IM. The director's chairs are for Tinies.
3) Please remove all lag-feeding thingamajigs you might be wearing.
4) A tip jar is out for our speaker. Do please show your appreciation!
 5) Any tips to help support the establishment will also be welcome - just click on one of the support signs or this handsome clank floating above us.
6) If you are not a member of the AEther Salon group, there are signs that will let you join up. You'll be most heartily welcome.
7 ) Edited and unedited transcripts of these proceedings will be posted at http://aethersalon.blogspot.com.
8) Tea and treats are set out - help yourself! Beware of possible Hatchies guarding the sweet biscuits.

Our speaker today is a long-time resident of several of the Steamlands, a responsible citizen and a highly regarded staff member with the Embassy. She is also an archaeologist of long-standing and finds all kinds of history fascinating. Today she will fascinate us with funeral traditions and history. Wulfrithe Blitzen, everyone.

[14:12] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Danke, Herr Baron and thank you all for being here today.

[14:13] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Before I start, I would like to make a note - I am recovering from a very bad flu infection and wrote this during the worst period - it is not as polished as I would like.
[14:13] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Secondly, if at any point, you have a question, please ask!
[14:14] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): It is hard for us to understand the Victorian preoccupation with death.
Although they were familiar with death and did not welcome it, they did relatively feel rather at ease with it. They celebrated it for no other stage of life demanded such elaborate rites of passage. We in the 21st century are now the opposite; with many people 'erecting fences' when the matter is brought up and instantly changing the subject. In African and some Asian cultures, it is a time of partying and joy. We know about the New Orleans Jazz funerals, but have you ever seen Ghana Coffin Dancers who perform feats of strength while carrying the coffin to the gravesite to wild music?
[14:14] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/untitled-1.gif
[14:14] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): A small gif of them in action
[14:14] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In this talk, I will cover the rituals and habits of the English, which were to some extent copied in America for a set period of time. Some information may surprise you and I hope to dispel some of the more lurid and false Internet myths that have sprung up about the Victorian way of death. I am however just scratching the surface - there is an awful lot more to learn.

[14:15] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Before Death:
Preparations for the funeral might take place well in advance by both rich and poor - the actress Sarah Bernhardt famously kept her coffin in her boudoir and was photographed in it, something she undertook on a regular basis it was claimed. The poor too: one period writer commented on his village carpenter making his own coffin then turning it into an upright storage space and cupboard until the time came for it to be used. Earlier there are several accounts of generals setting off to war and battle complete with their coffins strapped to the back of their coach.
[14:15] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): There she is, looking languid and Gothic
[14:16] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The Earl of Essex was one such general who at the start of the English Civil War in 1642 became a butt of jokes when his coffin, winding sheets and other funerary items was said to slow down his regiment during marches. Some accounts survive of dying ladies being visited by friends to approve the wreaths they will put upon their coffin and graves. This was far from a morbid visit and usually depicted as a happy social time where the dying person would be cheered by having a 'good funeral'.
[14:16] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The role of Undertaker did not exist before the mid 17thc when everything was left to family and friends. Traditionally women washed and prepared the body before the funeral. So many people died in the great plague of 1665 that the role grew from a small group of volunteers who offered to take away the diseased corpse as no one else would touch them. In just twenty years it became established as a very profitable business with its own traditions and trappings.
[14:17] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In the image on the right you can see an invitation for a night funeral.
(image to follow)
[14:17] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Mourning:
Although black is traditionally worn we have to bear in mind that until the 1840's when chemical dyes were invented, black was a very expensive colour reserved for the rich. The poor made do with a black ribbon or wore 'drab', consisting of dark grey or browns (another Roman tradition). However, in some countries white is worn instead. And until the 1920's white was worn in England for children's burials, unmarried women and girls who died in childbirth with their first child. Modern children's coffins are still white but people now wear black, although in England at least a new trend is emerging where mourners are asked to dress in bright colours to celebrate the life of the person. White was, before Queen Victoria, a rare colour to wear at a wedding because of its connection to death, and some people at the time found it more than a little shocking.
[14:19] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The image of the Queen of Holland is not a wedding, but of her in mourning. The Dutch Royal family still adhere to this tradition today
[14:19] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): On the left is a 'Mute', in this instance to a child funeral
[14:19] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Pardon, what are those wrapped poles?
[14:20] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Mourning had become very strictly observed by the Regency period, where rules stated how long you wore mourning, what type of mourning if you were a child, right down to the fabric used. Silk Crepe had become a fashionable mourning fabric as far back at the late 18thc, and society demanded that a widow wore black crepe up to four years before she was permitted to revert to fashionable clothing again. Half-mourning was permitted after two years, but a woman remarrying before the end of the mourning period was considered utterly scandalous. Mourning wasn't so strict for children who had passed away, being mostly one year. Poor people would wear black armbands.
[14:20] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Ah, the poles have various names including 'Muffler'
[14:20] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): It was a Victorian hang up from the medieval habit of displaying a banner with a coat of arms
[14:20] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They traditionally led the procession at the front
[14:21] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In the UK today you sometimes see a solitary man walking in front of the coffin, so his role, although less fabric covered, still exists
[14:22] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The start of the 17thc started a new craze for mourning rings, and by the late 18thc a fashion for hair braid lockets woven into intricate styles became fashionable. They actually started off as a sweetheart brooch, a gift between lovers or even just friends as before then mourning jewellery were rings. By the Regency era hair brooches became more intricate, often featuring a weeping willow tree made from the hair of the deceased. This pushed sweetheart hair gifts to a new direction, braided hair necklaces or bracelets, and sometimes these are mistaken for death or memento mori items. By the 1850's mourning hair brooches were a huge seller, and you could even buy empty ones to place your own hair into.
[14:23] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The brooch on the left is using hair to great effect, but this fell out of fashion by 1850
[14:24] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): I must briefly mention the so-called post-mortem photos, as many bloggers have posted thousands of these online. Unfortunately far too many are mistakenly labelled as post-mortem. Fake post-mortem photos, whether categorized in error or intentionally mislabelled to sell for a profit, have in recent years become widespread on the Internet. They fill online galleries of Victorian oddities and accumulate on Pinterest and Instagram—even otherwise reputable websites have contributed to the myths.
[14:24] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The image in the centre is often cited, but is NOT of a dead child.
[14:24] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Though unfortunate, it’s also understandable: there’s clearly something compelling about a lurid, not-so-distant culture engaging with death in a way we don’t. People have created fake history and its peculiarity is such that people want to believe it. Many are of people very much alive held in clamps to keep still for the long posing time, of children falling asleep during photo sessions, and of sick people being photographed because family feared the worst. People then did what people do now; look away at the wrong moment, get distracted, move...use your common sense, folks!
[14:26] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): There are some new sites springing up which debunk these photos. Even a Twitter feed

[14:26] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Embalming.
Although there have been great efforts for thousands of years for the preservation of the corpse it was rather a hit and miss affair. Embalming was rare and the preserve of the very rich, so bodies were washed, dressed within a 'winding sheet' often held together with pins and ties and then left to rest for a few days to ensure the person was really dead. It was already well known that some burials in lead coffins survived 'uncorrupted', but they did not understand the causes. However, by the late 18thc, the population boom made burials more urgent, and that was when rumours increased of live burials.
[14:27] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Heres' some examples of 'Avoidance of Live burials'
[14:28] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They are American - they seemed rather petrified. Even Washington demanded that his body be left for a couple of days to make sure he was utterly dead.
[14:28] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The idea of these crypts were that you were removed from your coffin and slid, feet first, into the tomb
[14:29] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Food and drink was provided, as was air
[14:29] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In an emergency, you could reach back and open the door
[14:29] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the time of the Age of Enlightenment in the 18thc there was a sudden interest in new scientific methods, so much so that one eccentric, Martin Van Butchell of London advertised in 1775 that visitors were welcome to come and see his wife who had passed away and that he had embalmed in the utmost scientific way. She remained on display in his front window till his second wife demanded its removal. There are also records taken down in a scientific way of medieval coffins opened that had well-preserved incumbents where the liquid they were found in was sniffed and even tasted (I kid you not, they really did this).
[14:31] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): If you don't believe me, there are several accounts out there :p
[14:31] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the mid 19thc Arsenic was commonly used to preserve bodies and came into its own during the American Civil War as bodies had to often be transported for great distances to relatives. By the 1920's this was replaced with Formaldehyde.
[14:32] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta) lets that sink in for a moment
[14:34] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Oddly they only stopped using arsenic when it was pointed out that it was poisoning the water table and causing problems in criminal cases where poisoning was suspected

[14:34] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): So, how would you like to be furnished in your last journey?
[14:34] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Burial habits and change is usually marked by great social upheaval or devastating loss of life in war or disease. The Celts and the Romans practised bed burials which carried on into the early Christian period when beds were replaced with Biers, a kind of flat litter that was carried by four or six men to the gravesite, a tradition that still takes place today in Europe. Medieval parishes would have their own for communal use of the poor, complete with parish coffin for those too poor to afford more than a winding sheet. In those cases the body would be taken to the gravesite, removed from the coffin and buried. Many English churches still have their Victorian or older biers on display. Biers eventually gained wheels before evolving into the horse-drawn hearse.
[14:36] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In the middle is a selection of gravestones, and how they changed - 17th, 18th and then the mad period of 19thc realism and the grand 'showing off to the Joneses'
[14:36] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): 'My grave is bigger than your grave'
[14:37] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): On the upper left is a Pauper's Bier and Parish coffin
[14:37] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Underneath that, in contrast, is the gigantic cast iron monster used to carry the coffin of the Duke of Wellington in his 1850's State funeral
[14:38] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): You can still go and see it collecting dust at the Wellington family home
[14:39] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): On the right is a 'covered Bier', for when there was no coffin at all. It was presented to a small English church as a present by the village priest on the occasion of his birthday
[14:39] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): No cakes for him...
[14:40] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): From Roman times onwards the wealthy were buried in lead coffins and archaeologists in the UK still find them in various states of preservation, sometimes with beautiful decoration. By the medieval period, they were small and tightly wrapped around the body in an anthropomorphic shape. Even Kings were buried this way. By the 18thc century, a good burial was considered to be a lead coffin inside a red or black velvet covered oak coffin. This of course was excellent news to the undertakers, who began to cheat and hid inferior construction under the velvet.
[14:41] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Now these are London burial crypts.



[14:41] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): In stark contrast with American crypts (having space), London had none and its common to see piles and piles of coffins
[14:43] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Now with the 'gentrification' of London crypts are being emptied and reburied elsewhere, and specialist archaeological teams have sprung up - it's still possible to catch Smallpox from crypts
[14:43] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): I'm one of the last to have the Smallpox vaccination, so I get asked on occasion
[14:44] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): I'm not that old, some European countries were still vaccinating against smallpox in the 1970's
[14:44] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): :p
[14:44] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): As a side note, plague pits are deemed a danger to public health and when found are usually covered up and sealed
[14:45] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): It was discovered that a sample taken from a victim still had living plague virii
[14:45] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Now to the interesting part!
[14:46] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Change was afoot, and Fisk cast iron burial cases were patented in 1848 by Almond Dunbar Fisk in Rhode Island. He claimed his new coffins were totally airtight, hygienic and perfect for the preservation of your loved ones.  While pine coffins in the 1850s would have cost around $2, a Fisk coffin could command a price between $40 to $100. Nonetheless, the metallic coffins were highly desirable by more affluent individuals and families for their potential to deter grave robbers.  These coffins came at a time when death and burial began to become a multi-million pound and dollar enterprise. Cast iron coffins became a huge success, even with some people finding the Egyptian style creepy even for their tastes. By 1860 their style changed into one still seen today with American metal caskets. They were sold around the world but America proved to be their main market. The traditional Brits preferred their lead-lined coffins and fitted guard rails on the graves if they could afford it.
[14:46] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Does any of our American guests recognise these?
[14:47] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Fisk patented these cast iron coffins in the 1840's, and before long they became the must-have thing for the rich.
[14:48] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They even came with a little viewing window
[14:48] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They were sold to deter grave robbing, airtight and hygienic mode of burial
[14:48] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): And he claimed they preserved the body too
[14:49] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Recently two were recovered and the Smithsonian opened one and managed to reconstruct the occupant, a teenage boy
[14:49] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They agree they did indeed preserve their incumbent.
[14:50] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): They changed shape by the 1860's and became the recognizable modern American style
[14:50] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the 1850's the English developed a collective fear of being buried in an unmarked pauper's grave and began to set up co-ops where for a small weekly donation they would be able to put some pennies into a fund to help with their burial. The very poor in workhouses could not afford this and continued to be buried in simple unmarked graves, or if in a big city, large mass graves.
[14:51] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): A population boom, large-scale people movement into the cities soon followed and graveyards began to fill up alarmingly fast. One such site was the Cross Bones graveyard in London, in use since the medieval period for the burial of prostitutes, executed criminals and suicides. It was closed in 1853 because it was "completely overcharged with dead", and further burials were deemed "inconsistent with a due regard for the public health and public decency. This began to be repeated around London and new sites had to be found urgently. Highgate Cemetery is probably one of the most famous of these new sites, and still on occasion allows funerals there if certain conditions are met.

[14:52] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Burials took place at all hours of the day and night, often at 11pm (finishing at the 11th hour) being the latest. Usually, the coffin was followed by friends and family with the men at the front and ladies at the back. If you were wealthy enough you could afford professional male mourners known as Mutes, or even some feather bearers. Maybe a team of horses. You walked behind the coffin unless you were lucky enough to own a carriage. Mutes have a long history going back thousands of years, originally being female weepers, who by Roman times collected the tears to put in a bottle to bury with the deceased.
[14:52] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the 18thc they led the procession to the church, then to the grave. In the UK you will still see undertakers do this role in large funerals, although the title of Mute is now seen as archaic. Medieval habits persisted, with black hooded cloaks with Liripips (similar to modern academic gowns) eventually being replaced by the late 18thc with a wide sash made from Crepe silk worn over the shoulder and around the hat.
[14:53] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): From the 17thc onwards funerals began to be ticketed, especially if the person was popular or famous. The cards usually contained several reminders that one day, it will be your turn *and don't you forget it!*...or the people who invited you. Funeral biscuits with crosses and often made of shortbread were given to all mourners who turned up, another ancient tradition that sprung from the pagan feasts held around the dead. Funeral biscuits fell out of fashion by World War 1 and the Wake replaced them. There is presently an attempt at reviving this tradition.
[14:54] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Cremation, although ancient in practice, was shunned by the advent of Christianity as a 'Pagan habit' and consequently only began to be used relatively recently. Some groups still oppose its use, but with modern graveyard sites running out of room and land becoming more of a commodity these thoughts may change over time. It was resisted in England during the 1860's when graveyards became a health hazard due to powerful religious leaders stating that one had to rise for the resurrection complete. It was not until 1874 that the Cremation Society, a secular organisation, was formed in London to campaign for cremation, mainly on the grounds of hygiene and cost.
[14:55] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Mutes were young and old. Today, you even see young ladies
[14:55] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By the 1880s the mere act of organizing a large showcase funeral had reached the upper working classes who pulled out all the stops emulating the rich and state funerals. Naturally, like all these things are wont to do the rich scowled and suddenly found large, over the top funerals gauche and tacky and began to settle for more simple affairs.
[14:56] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Dressed up Mutes, Feather bearers and several horses slowly trickled into being seen as a sign of those 'lower sort', and the wealthy settled for just the hearse and a couple of carriages for the immediate family only. Gone were the velvet covered and lead-lined coffins, being replaced with simpler wooden affairs, now with rails for carrying by family members on the shoulders. By 1905 the only people who hired Mutes et al were the working classes who clearly had not got the memo yet that it was unfashionable and downright vulgar.
[14:56] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): The photo behind me is a record of the last great funerals of London's East End
[14:56] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): He was a shopkeeper but he has a huge team of horses, mutes, feather bearers...
[14:57] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): By now the upper classes thought this was vulgar
[14:57] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): So, as we have run out of time, I shall end this talk today. Thank you for coming

[14:59] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): I know it is a sad topic, but there's a lot of fascinating things *cough* buried in there
[15:00] Steadman Kondor: The whole point though is that they thought they would be woken up on judgement day isn't it?
[15:00] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Yes exactly Mr Kondor
[15:00] Kailyn Stormraven (kailyn.bravin): I spent more than 400 EU in going to London for a 3 days trip and explore one graveyard for my book. The snow made it impossible. I have learned more here
[15:01] Lady Sumoku: "People will remember me"
[15:01] Wulfriðe Blitzen  (ancasta): Nods
[15:14] Baron Klaus Wulfenbach (klauswulfenbach.outlander): Guten Abend.
~fin~