NROP: No rest for the wicked. Why are some considered less worthy of rest than others?

As a kid, I enjoyed digging through the yard around my house. Somehow, I was convinced that I would find a pot of gold, a chest filled with gems, or some bones. It did not matter that the ground was recently dug through by all those people who built the house. They must have overlooked it. They were not looking for it, but I was. Where there is a will, there is a way. Or so they will have you believe. Unfortunately, I was unable to excavate anything of interest. Maybe that is why, even though I would have loved to work in Egypt and other ancient cities, I decided not to become an archeologist like a couple of my high-school friends. I could not handle the disappointment of not discovering anything.

Not too long ago, I heard about a newly discovered burial place underneath a school in Florida. Someone sent in a tip, and within days, it was confirmed by geophysical technicians that there were more than a hundred graves on the grounds of C. Leon King High School. What was surprising to me was that the initial investigation revealed that the caskets were buried only three to five feet deep. That sounds like something easy to unearth. When archived records and blueprints were consulted, it turned out that the school was built on top of Ridgewood Cemetery.

The school district reacted pretty quickly, fenced off an agricultural lab building, and vowed to tear it down in order to preserve the peace and give respect to the diseased. Once all these graves were discovered, the medical examiner’s office came into possession of the school grounds. It will be up to them to either keep the land or give it back to the school. I was unable to find the verdict. The decision might not have been made yet. All parties involved seemed to be dedicated to doing what is “right” and honoring the dead. While I deeply believe in respecting those that are no longer with us, I wonder if it is necessary to close the school. Think about all the teachers and staff that will be laid off. Think about all the students that will have to be moved to other schools, which are already understaffed.

Ridgewood Cemetery came to be in 1942. It was meant for poor African-Americans living in the area. Less than two decades later, in 1960, the high-school was opened. While only around 140 graves were mapped out by the radars, the cemetery records put the number of people buried there at more than 200. Even though there are a few explanations for this phenomenon, we are not sure what happened to the missing coffins. They might be buried underneath the agricultural building, they might have disintegrated (small babies), or they might have been moved to another cemetery. The agricultural lab building was erected in the late 1970s.

A day or two after hearing about the school cemetery, I read about newly discovered Egyptian mummies. It definitely made me pause and wonder. While it definitely is concerning to know that a cemetery can be turned into a school in just two decades, I cannot reconcile with the fact that some people are thought to deserve more peace once they are dead than others.

Hundreds of mummified animals were unearthed in Egypt and are now on display. (Click on the hyperlink to view the photos.) Among those discovered was the biggest scarab in the world and at least two lion cubs. Those were found near catacombs for mummified cats and are said to be from the seventh century before Christ (i.e. 28 centuries ago). Not every mummy was identified, so there is a possibility that there are cheetahs, tigers, and leopards among the dug up mummies.

Before you tell me that those two cases are not the same, I would like to ask you why do we value animals less than humans? Also, if you insist that humans are more worthy of respect than animals, I would like to tell you that the same thing happens to human mummies in Egypt (and other ancient places). About a month before the animal mummies were discovered, a team of Egyptian scientists unearthed 30 sarcophagi containing human mummies. They were thrilled because it was finally something discovered by them and not the foreigners. These coffins were found only three feet below the sand, similar to the graves in Florida, but are believed to be approximately 3,000 years old.

The plan is to restore the mummies and then move them into a museum, separate from the coffins, which will land in another exhibit.

“They will be moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum, which will be opening at the end of 2020, as a new surprise for our visitors,” said the Egyptian Minister Antiquities, El-Enany.

The country of Egypt hopes those excavations will bring tourists back. How morbid is that?

Why are we so worried about human remains from 70-some years ago, but not the ones from 3,000 years ago? Are some bodies “dead-er” than others? Should we put a time cap on respect? We are to learn about ancient cultures and believes from those mummies, but is it really THAT important? Could we maybe learn quickly and be as delicate as we can and then give them a proper burial?

How do you want your remains to be handled once you die?

Do you care what happens to your body after you pass away?

Would you mind if your body was used for science?

How about being put in a glass box at a museum for everyone to see?

If you wish to be laid to rest in a cemetery, have you thought of what the land might be turned into in the future? Would you care?

Should the school be shut down and the land turned into a proper cemetery?

Stay golden,

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70 thoughts on “NROP: No rest for the wicked. Why are some considered less worthy of rest than others?

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  1. Amazing the discoveries so close in time. Why do people value animals less than humans? Today’s Egyptians do not like animals and treat them as such – appaulingly . What an amazing find the scarab, cheetah, leopard and tiger they were adored by the ancient Egyptians. I cannot understand how a school was allowed to be built over a cemetery with such shallow graves in the first place. Very interesting post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was curious about your perspective on this as you’re kind of in the center of one of those places. Egyptians used to try and preserve bodies of animals, because they believed they had an afterlife, too. That they deserved the respect. Sad to hear that today’s reality is so different.

      I have no idea how the school came to be, either. But I think there must be more of such examples. If not always discovered.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I find the Ancient Egyptians fascinating they were so advanced in many ways and I can see and feel their energy which is deeply infused into the country. They were very spiritually powerful. I am grateful they knew how to preserve their presence here and it has not been damaged by the current inhabitants.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, yeah, some might be “dead-er”.

    I didn’t like to get my hands dirty, so I never did the actual digging.
    But I did day dream about finding a million dollar bone in the backyard.
    Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
    A friend of mine actually did pursue a career as an archaeologist and went to some tropical places to do some digging.
    I envied her for a while, but all the trips to museums became too boring at one point.
    In the end it’s just bones and old pots and pants.
    Nothing too exciting (for me).

    I visited a cemetery only twice and it was the saddest thing ever.
    When I die, put me to flames.
    But I do expect books written about me 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’d use a shovel, not my hands. 😉

      And yes, I wonder why my grandparents didn’t leave me some family bowl which would turn out to be from an oooooold Chinese dynasty and be worth $1mil+

      I agree. It seems like a lot of boring work in hopes of some discovery that might never come. But if it does, then it’s great.

      TWICE? Wow. I’m surprised. I’ve been dragged to cemeteries on a regular basis. I actually find them peaceful.

      I think I’d go with burning, too. Easier. Cheaper. Less fuss.

      And of course there need to be books about me, too!

      Like

  3. Once again your thoughts have given me so much to think about. I find it creepy that a school was built on a burial ground. Surely the school management was aware that the site was a burial ground. Did they feel like it didn’t matter at first, and then feigned concern and ignorance after someone unravelled the site’s history? It makes you think.

    In response to your questions, I would like to be buried the old-fashioned way — body into coffin; coffin laid 6ft into the ground; ground covered up; finito. Someone once asked me if I’d ever consider having my organs donated to a hospital after I die, and then having my body cremated afterwards. But I don’t know… It’s a noble thing to do, I suppose, but my culture doesn’t really allow it.

    Actually, my culture doesn’t have a say in the matter. The conventional way to handle a dead body for Igbo Christians and Igbo traditional worshippers has always been to bury them. The christians are first buried the christian way, but some mandatory rituals are still performed. (Although catholics do not perform these rituals.)

    I’ve always fantasized having my body mummified and then displayed in a museum for the world to see, but it’s only a fantasy. I don’t know if I’d really like that. I wouldn’t want to be the reason why a ten-year-old gets nightmares throughout their childhood.

    I care about my body a lot, and I’d hate to be turned into a lab rat for a bunch of medical students or some evil science firm.

    And, no, I don’t think it’s necessary to close down the school. After all, what has been done has been done. But don’t take my word for it, though, if the students eventually get to enact a gory horror story.

    (Ridgewood — showing in cinemas 8th October 2020. Hah!)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Good to hear that it’s a topic that juggled your brain a little, too.

      I find it TOTALLY creepy that a school was there. However, how sure are you there is nothing under where you live? I cannot be sure of anything. Actually, I believe it wouldn’t necessarily change anything for me. I’d just make sure not to dig in the garden so as not to disturb someone’s peace.

      Someone definitely knew. Maybe the person that was selling the land wanted the money so bad that they hid the fact about the burials. After buying the land, it probably went through multiple channels and not everyone (if anyone) had to know.

      I have to say that I was recently stunned. All my life, I knew that the Roman Catholic way is like you said – to bury in a coffin. As I was visiting family last month, I found out that cremation is allowed. When did that happen? I read an article from the priest, which said that cremation’s been allowed for a long time now (don’t remember the origin year). So maybe it’s more about tradition. Maybe we need to research our “options” better.

      The organs debate is tricky for sure. Many pros and cons. Evil science firm is right.

      The mummy part seems “fun” to me, too. Someone might discover me in a couple of thousands years and I will magically come to life and we would exchange life experiences. Yes, I know this is not gonna happen.

      Yep, it might even get an Oscar!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehehe. Funny thing is, I AM sure that there are bodies under where I stay. In fact, I think there are bodies all over the parts of the country where people inhabit. We bury our dead in our houses more than we do in cemetries. If the deceased had a house of their own, they are usually buried somewhere in it. If they don’t have a house, then they’re usually buried in their family house that’s in their hometown or village.

        Some people would even go as far as preparing a room for the deceased to be buried in if that deceased was a very important person or someone greatly loved (I find this creepy, though).

        Another reason people do this is so that the weather (heat and rain) doesn’t disturb the dead. 😐🤔🤨😕🤷🏾‍♂️

        LOL. It might just shock you that you could be mummified and cursed to awaken once your resting place is disturbed. And then you’ll be bound by this curse to destroy the country the person who awakened you is from. People will talk about it for ages. Heck, they might even make a movie about it! 😏

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Walls? God, no! I would NEVER enter a place where people are buried in the walls. Not after watching Teen Wolf and a bunch of horror movies. No, they’re usually buried in the floor.

            Some people leave the door open, while others just place the room under lock and key. The igbos who bury their dead in rooms would lock up the room and only open it whenever they want to sweep and dust the room.

            The most common place to bury our dead is at the backyard of their house. In the past, when the deceased was someone who committed suicide, it was forbidden for a freeborn Igbo to touch the body. The community would get the osu (outcasts) or traditional chief priest to carry the body to the “forbidden” forest where they’d then dump the body.

            But we rarely do this nowadays, thanks to Christianity (and education???). Some traditional people still treat suicide victims poorly, though. They’d fashion a terrible and ugly coffin, with long nails protruding into the coffin from every corner. They do this as some sort of punishment for the one who took his life that wasn’t really his.

            (Mmm, I suddenly feel like writing a story!)

            Liked by 2 people

            1. I remember my parents talking about a girl who was buried in a wall of a restaurant she worked at. It was one of the very few things that absolutely had me shook up. Yes, it was murder, not a ritual burial.

              The backyard makes sense. In many countries even burying your dog is not allowed. I think it’s for the fear of poisoning the water/soil with potential illnesses.

              Wouldn’t there be unwanted smell coming from those burial rooms?

              Yea, suicide is still a bit tricky. I know priests sometimes refuse to attend burials for such people.

              I’d be interested in reading that story!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. That’s horrible. I feel sorry for that girl. I wonder, those countries where it’s not allowed to bury your dog, how exactly are you expected to dispose of the body?

                Concerning unwanted smells, I’ve entered just two rooms where people have been buried in, and there wasn’t any unpleasant smell. But maybe it’s because I visited the rooms years after their ‘occupants’ were buried.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting story the discovery in Florida. An interesting question re what do we owe the remains of the dead. Should we leave them where they rest or is what is left just a shell, suitable for review and study? Where is the line; how long dead is dead enough? I’m not wedded to the idea of venerating a body; the person is gone, the shell remains. And yet…something to add to the list of things I’ll think about. It’s easier to address in the abstract; other people’s bodies versus the bodies of people you love. For myself, donate what can be used and cremate the rest. I’d like the ashes mixed in with a tree, I think, or made into small diamonds for my children. So, putting my body on display isn’t the issue – there won’t be anything left to display.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad I was able to make you come up with more questions that might not be the easiest to answer.

      I always said that I didn’t care about my body once I am gone. However, my loved ones have voiced their concerns regarding that. Should I be selfish or consider them?

      You have quite the ideas. Interesting…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a Hindu by birth so my body will be burned once I die and my ashes will be immersed in the holy river Ganga or one of its tributaries. I’ve never thought of getting buried. Don’t think I’d like to get displayed at a museum. Also, instead of being used for science, I’d prefer my organs being donated.

    Side note: it’s so weird talk about death in first person 😛

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s believed that the dead will be granted salvation and it opens the doors to heaven.
        The whole burning thing and ash immersion is supposed to be done by the son of the deceased.
        In fact, women aren’t even allowed to be there at ‘shamshaan ghaat’ where the bodies are burnt.
        But I have heard of some daughters doing the last rites of their parents as they had no son.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. If there are no sons, daughters might be allowed to perform the last rites in some cases. If daughter’s are not allowed or there are no kids at all, like you asked, other male members from the family do the rituals.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. If they are going to be so concerned about it now, how did a school get approval to be buried there in the first place, as it seems like they had records and everything, would not be surprised if it’s discovered that the bodies were moved and someone forgot to file the record in the proper place and probably not meaning to scare off developers who built the school some comittee sat on a board and decided let’s never tell anyone what we did here…..

    I understand the sentiments of wanting the school shutdown if I was learner there I would probably be hysterical looking for ghosts and wondering why if I was bad at Agriculture because of ghostly interference 😂😂😂

    On an aside I went to mission school which had graveyards closer than I was used to. You woke up stared outside the dormitory and first thing you saw was graves of long dead missionaries. Everyone had something of a ghostly story to share 😂👻

    I was reading a report on how our city council is running out of burial grounds in the city and in the near future may consider stacking graves on top of graves and were asking families with burial plots to start figuring out if they would consider being staked together in graves… Or move to mandatory cremation

    Having spent a class or two in gross anatomy lab I understand the need for medical students to have cadavers to work on, and if people don’t willingly donate then arrangements have to be made, e.g. morgues “release” john does and unclaimed bodies to medical schools and then burial after anatomy dissections, future doctors gotta learn…

    I for one won’t be overly concerned by what happens to my body when I no longer need it, buried, cremated or let medical students try cramming the naming of bones by studying mine dem bones dem bones dem dry bones 😂😂😂 I may have sang that song shaking around someone’s radius and ulna with the metatarsals clicking around scandalously😅
    For Science
    Hmmmm how about pumping my stomach full of fertiliser and seeds and planted in a shallow grave where a huge tree will one day grow, if you sit beneath it, and listen……..

    OK enough of that😂😂 saves this comment to future draft post.
    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They found the records now that someone tipped them off. You know how things are – not everyone knows everything. I think someone wanted to sell that land, and the person who bought it was happy to buy it for cheap. Maybe only the seller knew about the graves, or maybe they both did. I don’t think anyone else really looked into it afterwards. I think you are about the committee. The records say there should be over 200, but only 140 some were found. Like you said – someone forgot to file the report most likely.

      It wouldn’t be “My dog ate my homework,” it would be “The ghost scared me and I dropped it into a puddle of mud.”

      I actually don’t mind cemeteries all that much.

      It’s not surprising that we are running out of burial grounds. I sometimes wonder about those abandoned graves (ones that no one pays attention to, no one pays for it). I think after a while, they dig it up and … ??? (insert the least scary speculation) and then reuse the hole for someone else. It’s just weird.

      I, too, agree that students need to learn. But I think certain respect should surround it. Plus, with today’s technology, shouldn’t we be able to just “print” humans to experiment on?

      LOL You made me laugh with the shaking of hands.

      Someone else mentioned about being turned into a tree. Interesting.

      Glad to be of service 😉

      Like

  7. I think I would rather be cremated: much simpler that way. Also, the thought of my body just… being… after I’m gone, kind of unsettles me.

    As for disturbing graves, I don’t know. I don’t think I’d *want* to go to school on a graveyard… But — dead is dead, no? Is there anything left to really disturb? Then again, the thought of someone mucking about with my body a thousand years later is also kind of uncomfortable. And how can you know what the person believed when alive? If, say, a person believed that for their body to be tampered with after death, after burial, was to be barred from heaven, could I deny them that, simply because I don’t believe?

    But then… without some interference, how would we ever know? For those of us still alive, we do so like our answers.

    Liked by 2 people

              1. Hehe… I do have a habit of forgetting how old I actually am. Literally: I sometimes have to do the math… 😆😅
                But no, really, it’s that I’m whimsical enough that anything I’ve kept to for a certain length of time, is very likely permanent. Not that anything’s permanent, really. But if it can endure more than a couple months of *me*, then it’s likely here to stay.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I actually do the same. I deduct my year of birth from the current year. It just goes to show what I think about age – it’s not as important as some might have you believe. Sometimes I act older than I am, sometimes I act much younger.

                  Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, I see my body as the meat suit my soul was given to learn the lessons I need to learn while I’m here. My body will die and my soul will do whatever it is souls do. I will be cremated and let my children pick the bio urn of their choice. I can be planted with a tree or they can split my ashes and have a urn for the house with a beautiful succulent growing with my ashes. Here’s the link, it’s rather fascinating. https://www.thelivingurn.com/

    I’ve always seen “bodies” as soul containers. I honor the spirit of the deceased. Once the soul exists it’s just a pile of bones.

    I think the school should stay put.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s a tough topic, but as of now, I believe I wouldn’t care what happens to my body after death. Maybe because I would like to be cremated. However, if you are dead, then you’re dead and what does it change for you if a school is built over your catacomb? I think it should be more problematic for people who attend this school to know that there’s a cemetery just below the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you for asking 🙂 It’s been a quite intensive time for me recently and indeed, I’ve been posting less frequently. I hope to change it with upcoming days/months and with more spare time. It’s good you’re holding me accountable 😉 How about you? I guess you’re on the wave after you’re published! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. There have been some rough patches recently, which caused me to question things. But there have also been things that made me feel alive. I think the publishing tipped the scale in my favor. At least for now.

              Like

  10. I’m an organ donor, so am fine with donating my body to science. Should it not be selected or used for either/both those purposes, cremation is ideal. I’m not interested in the expense, pomp and circumstance, or wastefulness of being buried. I’ll be dead. I don’t think I should demand to take up any addition space or use up any resources by being buried.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I found out the costs associated with a traditional burrial, I was appauled. That’s why I’m not about it anymore. However, as more people are turning towards cremation, they are making every effort of making it as expensive as possible. I’d hate to leave my loved ones with such high bills to pay just to get rid of me.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think once dead, they can gladly use it for science. After all, I doubt my body will have a say on what should be done with it post-mortem. But I guess respect could come from accomplishments by said person, thus giving their body some kind of subjective value. I do however think that the older the body, the more precious they are for our historical knowledge. Like finding a 300000000-year-old elephant. I know I’d care more of it than the 3-year-old elephant found in the ground! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You definitely have a more scientific approach to things. I definitely understand it. However, I am also religious/spiritual, so I’m on the fence with all that. A dead body is a dead body. 3 or 3000000000 years old.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh man. That’s a rather disturbing story, but you also make a very compelling argument. While I think the school should be rebuilt elsewhere, or the remains exhumed and given a new permanent place of rest. While the animals and remains of ancient tombs are put on display just doesn’t compute. They should be left to rest.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. When I was even younger – at a house we hadn’t been living in for long – I somehow convinced myself that I’d seen pirates or someone bury treasure on the property when I was a baby, and tried to dig it up with a pitchfork.
            No luck, of course 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  13. My maternal grandfather was buried in his living room in the early 1980s. I got to see the grave in 2013 at my grandma’s funeral (she was buried outside).
    They still receive visitors in that room and act like it’s nothing 🤷🏽‍♀️.

    Meanwhile, one of the high schools I attended was built in a cemetery. The school was founded in 1898 by Christian missionaries. The locals weren’t too happy about giving their lands to Christians and their “foreign God” so they offered only cemeteries.

    Up until when I left to another high school in 2007, we randomly saw bits of tomb stones with year markings. In fact, it was a norm.

    We all believed we were constantly attacked spiritually by ghosts. One girl said she was served tea and bread by a ghost at night. And the ghost made her head very big (we also believed ghosts made people’s heads big and heavy to prevent them from running away).

    Oh..I like the idea of cremation. haha… who am I kidding? I’m going to be buried- all thanks to tradition.

    This was an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder how those graves inside houses look. Do you see the casket?

      The history behind Christian schools at cemetaries is most fascinating.

      Thank you for sharing all of the anecdotes. So interesting!

      Thanks for stoping by.
      How have you been?

      Like

      1. It was floor level (just the name and dates on the floor). No coffin or anything. In fact, I walked over it several times before my cousin jokingly mentioned I was stepping all over our grandpa. (The horror!🤢)

        He died almost 15 years before I was born and I had known my Grandma all my life. So it didn’t feel right for my grandma to be outside in the sun and rain while he was inside entertaining visitors and listening to conversations 🙄.

        My mum said they didn’t bury my grandma inside because they were more civilized and educated. But only 3years ago, a VERY EDUCATED man buried his father in his living room admist protests from his siblings who felt it was selfish to keep their father to himself 🙄.
        He however won the bid because he started digging the grave before anyone could stop him. The villagers believe once a grave has been dug, it cannot be covered without someone inside. Or it will get angry and seek to fill its void. People will keep dying until ‘the grave’ is satisfied 😆.

        Liked by 1 person

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