19th century


Folklore Week: Emily’s Bridge, Vermont

It’s sometime after ten and we’re standing in front of Old Yard holding an eighteenth-century lantern replica with a tin roof, holds slotted into it to let the heat escape. We’re dangling it over the wall that separates the parking lot from the cemetery. The candlelight reflects off a small slabbed tombstone — isolated from the rest of the graves without any real indication why. It could be a dissenter’s plot. I run over the number of reasons why someone might be buried as a dissenter in 19th century Stowe: usual reasons include not adhering to the popul[...]


The Resurrectionists, Rotters, and Corpses for Cash

“How long do you think it takes to dig a six foot grave, six feet deep? What is that, like, a hundred cubic feet of dirt?” Hundred an’ eight, actually. Assuming shoulder-width is three feet across on average. “In the dark.” I’m sitting on a nearby tomb — feet dangling off the ground, shoes kicking so that the lace of my left foot sneaker’s come undone and it’s making a regular ticking sound against the cement resting place of some lady whose name I don’t recognize. The dark part is important. You don’t want to be seen while you’re doi[...]