A Morbid Mix-Up in West Virginia

“The mistakes just kept happening.” Alone this expression is unsettling. In the context of funeral arrangements, it assumes novel gruesomeness. On October 28, 2016, the family of deceased Madeline Yost filed a lawsuit against the now closed Bartlett-Burdett-Cox Funeral Home (B-B-C) in Kanawha County, West Virginia, alleging that the funeral home mixed up two bodies in January of this year. Peggy Bowles, Yost’s daughter, said that her mother’s dying wish was for a closed casket ceremony. In the care of B-B-C, Yost received the opposite.    The lawsuit alleges that B-B-C confused Yost’s body with another deceased woman, Margaret Fraser. […]

Continue reading

Depictions of God are Out, but Statues of Elvis are In!

Sweden now has its first cemetery in which a devout Catholic, fervent Muslim, and acknowledged atheist can spend eternity together. According to a 2015 Gallup International and WI Network of Market Research survey, almost 80% of the Swedish people consider themselves to be “not religious” or a “convinced atheist”. Josef Erdem, with the permission of the Church of Sweden, had the vision of a “cemetery for everybody”.  The cemetery is next to the Stora Tuna church, which already has a Christian graveyard; the church will even maintain both cemeteries.    The only restriction in this universal resting place? No religious […]

Continue reading

Oswald’s Coffin Belongs to His Brother, Not Funeral Home, a Judge Rules

  Texas Judge Donald J. Cosby ruled that the wooden coffin that held the body of one of America’s most notorious killers – Lee Harvey Oswald– belongs to his brother and not to a Fort Worth funeral home. According to the ruling, the Baumgardner Funeral Home, owned by Allen S. Baumgardner Sr., engaged in “wrongful and wanton and malicious conduct.” This malicious conduct? Illegally concealing the existence of Oswald’s coffin from his brother Robert in order to sell the infamous killer’s coffin years later. Lee Harvey Oswald, infamous for killing President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, was buried […]

Continue reading

New Texas Rule Requiring Burial or Cremation of Fetal Remains

When it comes to the current election, there is no question that abortion rights are one of the central issues that voters will be considering in November. One state that has been well known for issues surrounding abortion is Texas. One of the most recent controversies follows a proposed rule that would require abortion providers to cremate or bury fetal remains. The rule would apply to all fetal remains from miscarriage or abortion regardless of what stage of pregnancy they occur. The Health and Human Services Commission first proposed the rules on July 1st, 2016.    The reason behind the […]

Continue reading

Woman faces up to 12 1/2 years for stuffing her boyfriend’s corpse in an old Christmas wreath box

Douglas Bailey, a truck driver from Prescott Wisconsin, was expected in Peoria, Illinois for Thanksgiving dinner last year. When Douglas never arrived, his family contacted police to file a missing person report. Five days later, Douglas’s body was found in a cardboard box dumped along a deserted highway in Kentucky. Douglas lived with his girlfriend, Rose Kuehni but their relationship was rocky. Rose reported that Douglas abused her physically, sexually, and psychologically throughout their relationship. Rose has begun spending time with another man, Clarence, and Douglas became jealous. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the couple was arguing in the bedroom. […]

Continue reading

When Sorry Doesn’t Cut It: Mishandling of Prearranged Funeral Funds

In 2014, the Rude Family Northwest Mortuary, located in Phoenix, Arizona, closed its doors for the last time. Over the years, the funeral home and its owner Steve Rude had developed close relationships with members of the community. When planning for her own funeral, Edith Garrity relied on Rude’s reputation—the two were members of the same church—in deciding to purchase a prearranged funeral contract from the Rude Family Northwest Mortuary. It was Garrity’s understanding that the $4,600 she paid to Rude would be held in a trust until her death. For Garrity and her family, “the thought of having that […]

Continue reading

Cemetery Car Show Cancelled

Cemeteries carry a reputation as a place for mourning, grief, and sadness for those who visit the grounds.  The fear embedded in those who will never set foot in a cemetery is contributed to cemeteries being personified as scary, forbidden lands.  While these stereotypes of cemeteries have existed since their existence, some cemeteries are taking steps to change the community members’ minds.  Recently, cemeteries are offering to host events on their grounds to welcome all community members to enjoy the grounds.  However, cemeteries attempting to change their public perception has led to complaints from those who use the cemetery for […]

Continue reading

The Plot Thickens: A Court Will Have to Sort Out Dispute When Men Placed in Each Other’s Graves

In October 2015, Lewis T. Chadwick, Jr. was buried in Pocasset Hill Cemetery in Tiverton, Rhode Island. Five months later, Raymond Murray was buried three graves away. The problem? Chadwick is buried in Murray's grave and Murray is buried in Chadwick's.  The solution Chadwick's widow prefers, which is supported by the chairwoman of the town cemetery commission, is to leave the men where they are and switch the deeds. However, Murray's family wants the plot they selected, which would involve disinterring the men and re-interring them in the correct graves. The town attempted to facilitate an agreement between the families, […]

Continue reading

Jewish Cemetery Vandalized Days Before Jewish Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the Jewish year.  A few select individuals in New York can only hope for atonement this year after vandalizing a New York-area Jewish cemetery just days prior to the start of Yom Kippur. On October 9, just two days before the evening Yom Kippur began, a Jewish cemetery in upstate New York was found defaced with swastikas, "Heil Hitler," and the letters "SS," representative of the Nazi security force, spray-painted at the entrance.  Although none of the headstones within the cemetery were damaged, the vandals left […]

Continue reading