Monday, October 15, 2012

OCTOBER 15: FIFTEEN FAMOUS GRAVESITES


1) H.P. LOVECRAFT. * PROVIDENCE, RI.  * AUGUST 20TH, 1890-MARCH 15, 1937
Howard Phillips Lovecraft lived and died in Providence and much of his fiction is set in the city on real locations that are still standing. Even though H.P. Lovecraft isn't buried under his headstone (he lies in another location in the cemetery) in October 1997 someone attempted to unearth his corpse. However, they only dug about three feet deep and then fled, leaving only a single footprint. ~MR



2) BELA LUGOSI * HUNGARY * OCTOBER 20, 1882 - AUGUST 16, 1956
Bela started his career on stage and when he played Dracula for the first time, the wheels were set in motion for a career in horror.  He was stereotyped though, and never really got out of horror to make an impression anywhere else.  But we're happy for his contribution nonetheless. A recovering drug addict, Lugosi died of a heart attack at age 73 and was buried in his Dracula cape (a request of his fourth wife).~CH
 

3) EDGAR ALLAN POE * BOSTON/BALTIMORE * JANUARY 19, 1809 - OCTOBER 19, 1849
One of our most important horror influences, Edgar Allan Poe's death is a complete mystery.  He was found wandering the streets of his beloved Baltimore delirious and rambling incoherently.  All records of his death have been lost. A raging alcoholic, it is speculated that he drank himself to death or had one of the many maladies brought on by excessive drink.  His legacy though, survives in the many films made from his writings as well as the books and poems themselves. ~CH
 
 
 EDGAR ALLAN POE (original grave site)
 
4) STANLEY KUBRICK * MANHATTAN, NEW YORK * JULY 26, 1928-MARCH 7, 1999  
Kubrick is my favorite director; any one of his films could be my favorite but when asked I usually respond with "The Shining". He died at his home in Hertfordshire and was buried there under his favorite tree. ~MR
5) WASHINGTON IRVING * NEW YORK * APRIL 3, 1783 - NOVEMBER 28, 1859
Best known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving was famous for his short stories and writings on history. He died of a heart attack at age 76.  It is said that his last words were: "Well, I must arrange my pillows for another night. When will this end?" He is buried at Sleepy Hollow cemetery in New York.~CH


6) NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE * SALEM, MASS. * JULY 4, 1804 - MAY 19, 1864
Author of The House of Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter, among other great literary works, Hawthorne is the descendant of John Hathorne - the only judge in the Salem Witch trials that never repented for his actions.  Nathaniel added the 'w' to his name to separate himself from that tragic family history.  He died in his sleep after feeling sick to his stomach. Strangely, he's also buried in Sleepy Hollow cemetery, but this one is in Massachusetts.~CH

7) MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT SHELLEY *LONDON *  AUGUST 30, 1797 –  FEBRUARY 1, 1851
The author of Frankenstein, Shelley lived to the age of 53, when she died after being plagued with headaches and other maladies for many years. Her physician thought it could have possibly been a brain tumor that she was living with prior to death.  So heart-broken was Shelley after her husband's demise, she kept his ashes and the remains of his heart in a box until her own death. ~CH

 
8) HARRY HOUDINI * BUDAPEST, HUNGARY * MARCH 24, 1874 – OCTOBER 31, 1926
The master of escape met his end after a queer incident involving a man who allegedly wanted to test Houdini's resolve by punching him in the stomach several times (just to see if Houdini could take it). Unfortunately, this later caused Houdini's appendix to burst, causing peritonitis to swarm his insides and after several days eventually kill him.  After his death, his beloved wife Bess would try (unsuccessfully) to reach her husband in the afterlife by having frequent seances.  It became an obsession of hers, poor thing. And it does seem that if it would be possible to reach out from beyond the grave, the master of escape would sure be a likely candidate to perform that last trick...  ~CH
 
HOUDINI, A closer look
 
9) JERRY GOLDSMITH * LOS ANGELES, CA. * FEBRUARY 10, 1929 – JULY 21, 2004
Nominated for 18 Academy Awards (and winner of one for The Omen in 1976), Goldsmith is one of the most prolific composers in history.  Besides his amazing work on films of other genres, he wrote many of horror's most famous scores, including Poltergeist, Gremlins, Alien, The Mummy, Psycho II, Leviathan, Deep Rising, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Basic Instinct, Hollow Man, Coma, Magic....etc.  He died of colon cancer at his California home at age 75.  ~CH

10 ) RAY BRADBURY  * WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS * AUGUST 22, 1920-JUNE 5, 2012
Ray Bradbury contributed a great deal to the world of horror and sci-fi, his most famous work being "Fahrenheit 451". His 1972 novel "The Halloween Tree" was written to teach children about the origins of Halloween and similar holidays. Though Bradbury only died several months ago, his headstone has been in place for over a year, the date of his death left simply blank. I can only speculate that this was done because Bradbury had been suffering from illness for some time before his death. You may visit him completely at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.~MR

 
11) INGRID PITT *  WARSAW, POLAND  * NOVEMBER 21, 1937 – NOVEMBER 23, 2010
Born in Poland and the survivor of a concentration camp in WWII, Ingrid Pitt became a staple in Hammer films in the early 70's.  She starred in such flicks as The Vampire Lovers (1970), Countess Dracula (1971), The House that Dripped Blood (1971) and The Wicker Man (1973).  Pitt also did a lot of theater, television, and even boasted a lengthy writing career before her death at age 73.  Before she died, she finished production on an animated short film (Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest, 2011) about her experiences in the Holocaust. ~CH


A closer view of Pitt's grave.

12) M.R. JAMES * GOODNESTONE, ENGLAND * AUGUST 1ST, 1862 - JUNE 12, 1936
Montague Rhodes James is the master of the supernatural short story. After his death at age 73 he was buried in Eton Town Cemetery in Berkshire. He grave was restored in 2000. The inscription on his stone reads, "No longer a sojourner, but a fellow citizen with the saints and of the household of God." ~MR


13) HEATHER O'ROURKE * SAN DIEGO, CA. * DECEMBER 27, 1975 – FEBRUARY 1, 1988
A mere 12 years old at the time of her death, O'Rourke was of course famous for her role as Carol Ann in the Poltergeist film series.  Her iconic "They're heeeere" line is one of the most famous utterances in horror. At the time of her death, apparently she was misdiagnosed as having Crohn's disease. Then it was told that she had the flu. After which the hospital she was being treated at retracted that story and went on record stating she had died during surgery for a bowel obstruction complicated by septic shock. The official death record eventually stated cardiac arrest. Her grave site is on the "Haunted Hollywood" tour.  Besides the tales of a "Poltergeist Curse", O'Rourke's ghost is claimed to have been seen haunting the set where she filmed episodes of Happy Days in the mid-80's.  ~CH

(How Heather gets classified with Truman Capote and Mel Torme is beyond me...)


14) MARIE LAVEAU * NEW ORLEANS * SEPTEMBER 10, 1794 - JUNE 16, 1881
The premier Voodoo priestess, Marie Laveau was a Creole from the French Quarter. It's not really known how she became such a force of Voodoo and Voudoun. What is much more interesting is her life "after" death. It has long been reported that she was seen in town after her own death, and her name remains synonomous with the occult and magical practices of the mysterious New Orleans culture. Her burial crypt proves her popularity has not waned, and it is visited by thousands of people every year - many of whom draw three "x"'s onto the tomb, in hopes that she will somehow grant their wishes from beyond the grave.~CH




15)  THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS MEMORIAL.
In 1992, Salem commemorated the 300th anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials by dedicating a memorial to the twenty people who died as a result of the trials.  Each of those executed was memorialized with a stone bench, and the result is a park within Salem that serves as a reminder of the wrongful deaths, and yet enriches the history of the town by making a right of something that was so terribly wrong. In 2001, all the wrongfully prosecuted and executed people were legally proclaimed innocent, putting an end to 300+ years of a different kind of heresy. ~CH



*Note: If you are wondering where other some of the other famous folks might be that you can't find on this list, I give you this:  Both Vincent Price and Alfred Hitchcock were cremated and had their ashes scattered out at sea.  Lon Chaney Jr. donated his body to science.  Boris Karloff has only a marker under a rosebush, as his ashes remain in a crematorium.
 


 


5 comments:

rick hipson said...

Great list! Thanks for posting this!

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

Excellent work, Christine and Marie! This was truly fascinating to read and see - some really great names up there (including Houdini, whom I consider to be my buddy - love him) and great information. Have you actually visited any of the grave sites yourselves?

Christine Hadden said...

Thanks, Rick!

Michele: the only gravesite I've been to on this list is the Salem Witch Trial memorial, which is actually just that- a memorial more than a gravesite. But when in Salem I did visit the sites there and in neighboring Danvers where the women accused and hanged are interred. Salem is a wonderful place to visit, I lived it there. I'm a real history buff. I did visit The House of Seven Gables while there as well - the inspiration for Hawthorne's book. He lived there for a time.

Surprisingly I have not seen Poe's graves, even though I've been to Baltimore countless times. Must remedy that!


estetik said...

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Christine Hadden said...

Thank you estetik :)