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Telling tales

Posted by ESC on March 06, 2003

In Reply to: Buried six feet under posted by James Briggs on March 06, 2003

: : Why are people buried "Six Feet Under" Ground? why Six?

: Perhaps to allow several burials on one site. The common practice in Britain until the early Victorian times was to reuse graves without always removing the previous occupant(s)! Church grave yards became the site of numerous scattered bones. As a result the law was changed to allow burials to take place in non-consecrated ground - the Victorian public cemetery was born. Never-the-less, the custom of burial six feet down continued. Today only two burials are allowed in one family grave; thus the first has to be deep enough to allow the second. Since almost all of our cemeteries are full in Britain, then most people are cremated and their ashes scattered. A few years ago I was able to purchase a plot in my local beautiful Victorian cemetery for my father - it was one of 7 newly discovered unused plots.
: In Germany and other countries the system is different and the graves are reused every 25 or 50 years - the bones are placed in a charnell house.
: How do I know all these things? I'm a pathologist with a German wife!

Just between us...there was an argument at a family funeral about the depth of the grave. I am changing the names to protect the guilty.

Before his death, John asked his nephew Sam to make sure his grave was at least six feet deep. John said he didn't want to be "buried on top of the ground like a cow."

After John died, Sam talked to the gravediggers and was assured that the grave would be dug properly. Right before the funeral he checked and found out he'd been lied to. I won't go into what happened next but it wasn't pretty.