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Wednesday, 14 May 2014


The solid gold coffin of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun is 73 inches long. The value of its gold is $4,3 million, but the casket is priceless.

In 16th century England it was discovered that some coffins, reopened after several years, had scratch marks inside indicating the unfortunate person had not been dead when buried. So they tied a string to the wrist of each person that led to a bell above ground. A person was assigned to sit at night and listen for the bells, hence the expressions: "graveyard shift" and "saved by the bell."

During 1571 in Hertfordshire, England, a pallbearer dropped Matthew Wall's coffin, waking him up—he lived for over two decades after that.

The fear of being buried alive increased greatly in 1740, after Jacques-BĂ©nigne Winslow, Professor of Anatomy at the Jardin du Roi in Paris, published a paper in Latin on the uncertainty of the signs of death. It was translated into French by a Paris physician, Jean-Jacques Bruhier d'Ablaincourt, who sensationalised it by adding 'amusing and well-attested' stories of people who had not only returned to life in their coffins and graves but also under the hands of surgeons.

The sight of Lord Byron’s coffin being rowed up the Thames prompted grief on a huge scale with hysterical women hurling themselves at his corpse when it was put on public view.

Hans Christian Andersen suffered from the conviction that he would be buried alive. He requested a spyhole drilled into his coffin so he could watch his own funeral service.

General Robert E. Lee was buried barefoot as the coffin was too small to allow for his boots.

The actress Sarah Bernhardt  bought a coffin at the age of 15, in which sometimes she slept.

After Humphrey Bogart died a small, gold whistle was placed in his coffin by his wife, Lauren Bacall.

When James Brown passed away, his coffin was 24 carat gold.

What's the difference between caskets and coffins? Caskets are generally a four-sided (almost always rectangular) funerary box, while a coffin is usually six-sided. The tapered ends of a coffin saves a bit of cost because it uses less material to make.

After Hurricane Katrina, a group of Benedictine monks in Louisiana began selling low-cost, handmade cypress caskets. The state’s Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors issued a cease-and-desist order, claiming that only funeral homes could sell caskets. A judge ruled in favor of the monks.

Sources Saturday Evening Post, History World

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