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Cemetery Stories: Haunted Graveyards, Embalming Secrets, and the Life of a Corpse After Death by [Ramsland, Katherine]
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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The recent success of HBO's funeral home comedy Six Feet Under proves the power of the macabre over public imagination. "[A]mused, disturbed, and delighted by the range of human behavior surrounding the subject of death," Ramsland (Ghost, Forecasts, Aug. 20; etc.) undertook a pop-anthropological survey of "cemetery culture" by interviewing graveyard caretakers, "death-care" consultants, funeral directors, grave diggers, monument dealers and mortuary assistants. This rambling, anecdotal account traces burial traditions such as embalming, cremation (30% of all funerals), corpse preparation, restorative techniques, cadaver cosmetics and unconventional funerals like the one attended by the deceased's fellow nudists. At Houston's National Museum of Funeral History and the annual National Funeral Directors Association's convention, Ramsland, a Rutgers professor, learns about mortuary schools and entrepreneurial schemes like hologram tombstones, the $65,000 mummification procedure and cemetery kiosks with touch-screen biographies of the deceased. Along with instructions on gravestone rubbing, artistic grave markers and unusual epitaphs, the book introduces "taphophiles," who visit cemeteries as a hobby. The book's closing section recounts ghastly tales of ghouls, corpse abuse, necrophilia and people buried alive, and fascinating interviews with people who grew up in funeral homes. Although it's "the corpseless soul that inspires the most fear," those with weak stomachs might want to skip the graphic description of autopsy procedures, botched reinterments and adipocere ("body cheese"). A bibliography and list of Web sites provide further resources. (Oct.)Forecast: This should see a brief spike in sales at Halloween (aided by promotion at Grim Rides, an elegant online bookstore specializing in death-related volumes [www.geocities.com/grimrides].

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Katherine Ramsland has written a dozen books and numerous articles and short stories. In the past year she has been editing Vampyre Magazine. After publishing two books in psychology, Engaging the Immediate and The Art of Learning, she wrote Prism of the Night: A Biography of Anne Rice. At the same time she had a cover story in Psychology Today on our culture's fascination with vampires. She followed the biography with several guide books to Anne Rice's fictional worlds including The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and The Anne Rice Reader. Her last book before Piercing the Darkness was a biography of Dean Koontz called Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography. She has also written for The New York Times Book Review, The Writer, The Horror Show, The Newark Star Ledger, The Trenton Times, and Publishers Weekly. Ramsland has a master's degree in clinical psychology and a Ph.D. in philosophy. She has been a professor at Rutgers University, a therapist, and a psycho-educator specializing in the psyche's shadow side, and is currently at work on another master's degree--this one in forensic psychology. She lives in Princeton, NJ.

Product details

  • File Size: 614 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; 1 edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 5, 2011
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0053JOL62
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,426 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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