The London Necropolis Railway carried the dead to Brookwood Cemetery

The London Necropolis Railway Funeral Train

For almost a century the London Necropolis Railway transported corpses out of the city on funeral trains to Brookwood Cemetery.

Dancing on the Dead at London’s Enon Chapel

In the mid-1800s, why were dances held at London’s Enon Chapel called “Dances of the Dead?” Here are the results of this week’s contest.
Victorian Golgotha

Week two of the October Instagram contest was a bit trickier than the previous week. The question was: In the mid-1800s, why were dances held at London’s Enon Chapel called “Dances of the Dead?”

Dancing with the Dead at Enon Chapel

Enon Chapel was run by Mr. W. Howse, a greedy Baptist minister who offered premium burials beneath the church for a mere 15 shillings – much cheaper than other options. To keep from running out of space, Howse chopped up the coffins and used them for firewood so he could fit more bodies in. As the corpses piled up in the basement and open sewer, the smell of decay began to creep up through the simple board floor. During the summer months, parishioners and sunday school children were plagued by corpse flies and other insects that feasted on the rotting human remains beneath.

When Howse died in 1844, over 12,000 bodies had been interred beneath the chapel. The new tenants covered the old wooden floor with a layer of brick and capitalized on the morbid curiosities of the time by offering “dancing on the dead.”

Read more about London’s Victorian Golgotha in an article by Carla Valentine right here.

For the contest, correct answers have to be submitted in the form of a photo or video post on Instagram. The more creative, the better. I narrowed down the entries to 4 finalists, then let the Cult community vote. The winner of this week’s memento mori Box of Weird is this multimedia piece called “Victorian Golgotha” by @mybrainchild:

Victorian Golgotha

Here are the grotesque and beautiful entries from the other three finalists:

See all the entries at #cultofweird

Box of Weird: Memento Mori Edition

Memento mori box of weird featuring macabre oddities

There are two more chances this month to win a Box of Weird filled with a copy of the brand new release Ghostland by Colin Dickey courtesy of Viking Books, Hearse Driver’s Union buttons from Dead Sled Brand, a black beeswax spine candle from Grave Digger Candles, morbid patches and stickers from Poison Apple Printshop, real antique coffins screws, a diecast Matchbox hearse, and more macabre oddities. Follow @cultofweird on Instagram.

The next question is coming Monday.

UPDATE: 10/29/2016 The contest has ended. Here are the results of the other weeks:

Dig into the Edible Body Farm this Halloween at Barts Pathology Museum

DELICIOUS DECAY: Bakery and decomposition come together at Barts Pathology Museum this Halloween with morbid confections from the Conjurer’s Kitchen.
Delicious Decay: Edible Body Farm Halloween event at Barts Pathology Museum
Delicious Decay: The Edible Body Farm

Morbid curiosity is getting a little sweeter this Halloween! Annabel de Vetten of Conjurer’s Kitchen, Carla Valentine, Technical Curator at Barts Pathology Museum, and forensic anthropologist Dr Anna Williams are collaborating to host Delicious Decay, an edible body farm where you will have the opportunity to learn about the science of decomposition while enjoying macabre consumables.

“The event is inspired in part by the unusual chemical indole,” the press release states, “which is present in coffee and chocolate as well as the decomposing deceased.”

The event will include talks on body farms and funerary cannibalism, smelling chemicals used to train cadaver dogs, cocktails, many grotesque edibles, and, of course, you get to dig through edible soil to exhume a full size edible corpse.

Talks include:

  • Carla Valentine – “Mourning Coffee: how funerary cannibalism led to death cakes, death cookies, and funeral biscuits”
  • Dr Anna Williams – “Nauseating or Necessary? Why we need Body Farms in the UK”
  • Jamie Upton – “What’s Your Poison? Death Cocktails”

There will also be a makeup artist on hand to make you look decomposed.

Delicious Decay Halloween event at Barts Pathology Museum

Delicious Decay is happening October 28-29 at Barts Pathology Museum.
Info and tickets right here.

The Viktor Wynd Museum is Crowdfunding a 1,000-Year-Old Mummy Head

Help London’s quirky Viktor Wynd Museum buy a mummy head for its collection for cool perks like mummy dust, penis bones, and chocolate anuses.
Viktor Wynd Museum mummy head
This 1,000-year-old mummy head would make a great addition to the Viktor Wynd Museum

The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History in London is home to an amazing and macabre collection of oddities, including skulls, bones, shrunken heads, weird medical antiques and more. They even have the gold-plated hippo skull of Pablo Escobar. But they don’t have a mummy.

And quite frankly, who doesn’t want a mummy?

The museum opened two years ago thanks to nearly 500 contributors to their first crowdfunding campaign. So, to celebrate the its second birthday, a new campaign on just launched on Indiegogo to purchase the 1,000-year-old mummified head of a young boy from Peru’s moon-worshipping Chimú culture.

Of course, helping a museum buy a mummy that you can visit any time you want is reward enough, but the perks are great, too. Contribute to the campaign to earn things like mummy dust from the bottom of the cabinet, cat skulls, edible chocolate anuses, walrus penis bones, Viktor Wynd’s used underwear, and other bizarre items that would look great in your own personal cabinet of curiosities.

Some of the skulls, bones and other oddities on display at the Viktor Wynd Museum
Some of the curiosities on display at the Viktor Wynd Museum

Help the museum fill it’s mummy-shaped hole right here.

The Guillotine Blade of Marie Antoinette

The guillotine blade that beheaded Marie Antoinette

This guillotine blade on display at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London is believed to be the actual blade that beheaded French queen Marie Antoinette on October 16, 1793. It was purchased from the executioner’s family.

Marie Antoinette’s last words as she climbed onto the guillotine platform were “Pardon me sir, I meant not to do it” after accidentally stepping on her executioner’s foot.