#MOONstl: The Mourning Society of St. Louis visit Bellefontaine Cemetery

i took to the many winding paths of Bellefontaine Cemetery at the end of N. Kingshighway this past weekend to learn all about the history of Victorian death in America. The Mourning Society of St. Louis was decked out in garb of the era to teach visitors at their event (Consolation of Memories: Mourning and Death in the Nineteenth Century) all about the major causes of death at the time and funeral customs, fears and superstitions. i highly recommend checking out their website at the link below and check out their upcoming events. we were even let in on a little secret about an upcoming event: Bellefontaine Cemetery plans to honor one of their most famous Civil War patrons with a full military funeral in 2017...you will not want to miss that!

click HERE to learn more about The Mourning Society of St. Louis

click HERE to learn more about Bellefontaine Cemetery

in the Hotchkiss Chapel we were welcomed by the Mourning Society to attend the funeral of 14 year old Charlotte E Willis who is actually buried at Bellefontaine

this character told us all about taphophobia which is the fear of premature burial that was alive and well in the Victorian era. there were no stethoscopes yet to determine if the deceased had truly become deceased and this really created a frenzy. at this very crypt, a female was buried and her lover came and when her lover came to the crypt to entomb another family member, her bones fell to his feet. she was buried alive and was trying desperately to get out.

no wonder so many babies were dying of disease. this is a bottle flask that would be left with the baby in the crib and only cleaned about once every 3 weeks. so basically these babies were drinking bottles of bacterial goo. this is actually the same shape of culture flasks used in modern day scientific research.