Showing posts with label City of the Dead. Show all posts
Showing posts with label City of the Dead. Show all posts

Friday, July 8, 2016

Living in a Cemetery

Cemeteries go by many names - referencing this as a final abode; names like “eternal home” “city of the dead,” “charnel house,” “necropolis,” and “marble town.” But there have been people – living people, who have chosen to reside in the cemetery. No, not necessarily the homeless, and not those looking for a “creepy place” to party. Sometimes it’s just someone who can’t bear to loose a loved one, so they decide to move with them ….

The Evergreens Cemetery
Jonathan Reed was a retired merchant from Brooklyn, New York. He was in his sixties when his wife, Mary died on March 19, 1893. She was interred in her family’s mausoleum in The Evergreens Cemetery and Jonathan went to visit her every day. His father-in-law found such devotion to be in poor taste, so Jonathan limited his visits. When Mary’s father died, Jonathan took things in hand and had Mary removed from the family vault to a mausoleum he had purchased on the other side of the cemetery – one where he could visit for as long as he wished.

As summer turned into autumn, Jonathan had a wood stove installed for heat. He began moving furniture in; a comfortable rocker, a table and chairs so he could eat all his meals there - with Mary. He decided the place needed to look a bit more homey so he hung paintings on the wall, brought the family parrot in to live, and placed Mary’s knitting by one of the chairs – as if she had just left the room and could return at any moment.

Reed Mausoleum
People talked. Many went to see if this was real. The first year, Jonathan Reed had over 7,000 visitors. It seems that he never really believed Mary had died. He thought that “the warmth had simply left her body” and if he kept the crypt warm and cozy, she would continue to sleep comfortably.

In May 1905, Jonathan was found by cemetery workers lying unconscious on the crypt floor. He died a few weeks later and was placed in the homey little tomb he had created; where he went to visit Mary - to sit and talk with her for 10 years. The door of the mausoleum was locked that day, and the Reeds have never been disturbed since.

Then again, necessity may be the reason for such a move.

A Brazilian businessman moved into a tomb after his business failed and his family disowned him. In 2000, 35-year-old Fabio Beraldo Rigol was a broker in Santa Isabel, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Rigol moved into a crypt with his best friend; his friend, however, had been dead for several years.

Rigol said that after he lost his job, he turned to drugs and his family kicked him out. He went to the grave of his best friend to “discuss things” and decided to move in. With enough room for six coffins, the tomb provided Rigol with shelter from the elements, and safety. (Few people want to bother a guy living in a crypt.) Although it could get lonely at times, Rigol didn’t mind, saying he wasn’t very talkative. No word if he still resides there.

~ Joy

Friday, March 1, 2013

Neptune Society Memorial Reef – A City of the Dead

Archways in the City
Just three miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida, lay a mystical underwater world – A recreation of Atlantis, the Lost City.  But this Atlantis is a destination for marine life, scuba divers, and the dead. 

One of Two Lions
Also known as the Atlantis Memorial Reef, or the Atlantis Reef, the Memorial Reef began in 2007 when the Neptune Society decided to create a ‘replica’ of the Lost City of Atlantis.  The Reef is located 40 feet below the ocean’s surface and was originally designed as an artistic project.  The focus of the venture soon changed and it was developed into the world’s first underwater “cemetery”, actually a cremation memorial park.

Diagram of Finished Reef
Entrance Gates
Although technically not a cemetery, the Memorial Reef does contain the cremains of over 200 people, with room for another 600 during the first phase.  The goal of the society is to eventually provide a resting place for over 125,000 remains that will spread over 16 acres of ocean floor.

Diver Places Cremains on Reef
Ashes Mixed with Cement in a Mold
The Neptune Society, the largest cremation-only provider in the U.S., takes cremated remains and mixes them with cement before placing them in a mold. Once the mold is formed, the shaped piece is then taken down to the City and placed on the Reef with a memorial plaque.  There, the molds become a permanent part of the ever-changing man-made reef.

A Diver Visits
A Stairway
The Memorial Reef opened in 2007.  It is the largest man-made reef in the world.  Statues, gates, columns, benches, and roads make up the underwater city. Divers, researchers, marine biologists, and students are encouraged to visit the area, but fishing and lobstering are not allowed here.

A marine study conducted in the area reports that the Memorial Reef is developing faster than originally expected, and is attracting a multitude of marine life.

Molded Memorials
The Memorial Reef is a natural green burial option, certified by the Green Burial Council.  The Reef promotes coral and marine organism growth, thus allowing you to become part of the underwater ecosystem.  Placement on the Reef begins around $2,000.

To learn more about the Neptune Society Memorial Reef, visit their web page @

To visit the Reef in person, the GPS coordinates are N25º 42.036', W80º 05.409'The Memorial Reef is free and open to the public.

~ Joy
*Photos from the Neptune Society Memorial Reef webpage and Facebook page