Victorian Book of the Dead
The Victorian Book of the Dead
Kestrel Publications, 2014, 360 pages, paperback
Chris Woodyard, author of the The Ghosts of the Past series, digs through long-buried newspapers and journals, for this fascinating look at the 19th-century obsession with the culture of death. The Victorian Book of the Dead unearths extraordinary tales of Victorian funeral fads and fancies, ghost stories, bizarre deaths, mourning novelties, gallows humor, premature burial, post-mortem photographs, death omens, and funeral disasters. Resurrected from original sources, these accounts reveal the oddities and eccentricities of Victorian mourning. Packed with macabre anecdotes, this diverting, yet gruesome collection presents tales ranging from the paranormal and shocking to the heartbreaking. Some of the stories in The Victorian Book of the Dead *mourning bicycles, black boudoirs, and sable cigarettes for the up-to-date widow *a child ghost who beckoned for her father to follow her into death *black dogs and shrieking banshee who foretold death and disaster *the widow who fired the undertaker who would not give her trading stamps. *a corpse that spontaneously combusted in the coffin *the fiendish parrot who murdered his mistress *The petrified corpse furniture created by Professor Segato *visions of the Grim Reaper and the Angel of Death *the man who lived in the tomb of his wife *A mourning wreath made from the hair of a murdered family *interviews with undertakers, post-mortem photographers and morgue attendants And many more tales from the crypts.