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25 July 2013

Caged graves

While searching through images about goth, I often find this image of a graved cage (see below). Many think that these kind of graves were done to avoid the zombie apocalypse in Victorian era but as you can guess this surely isn't exactly the reason why even though it would be really cool.


 "In actuality, these cages were used to prevent body snatching. It was a HUGE problem especially in areas where medical schools were prevalent.

The practice of allowing students to learn anatomy by dissecting bodies was finally allowed in the 18th century. Prior to that, they only watched teachers and instructors without having hands on experience themselves. But as soon as they were giving the go-ahead, bodies starting disappearing from graveyards like crazy. Lots and lots of bodies.

Gangs of body snatchers were "employed" to remove bodies from graves. Many of these gangs fought one another over the "cadaver trade" because it was a pretty good money making business. Many nights, the body snatchers would steal as many as 6 bodies. They would even ship bodies over sea--it was THAT great of a business. (Some gangs even started killing people just so they could get more bodies to sell).

Well, as you can imagine, it created quite an uproar among the citizens who lost the bodies of loved ones. It caused riots and fighting in the graveyards, and several men found robbing a grave were lynched on the spot.  But people demanded more as the practice of body snatching worsened.


So graveyards became FORTIFIED and underwent some major changes.

Seriously, people built watch towers, they hired armed men to patrol the cemeteries (called watchmen societies--some having over 2,000 members). Many cemeteries even went so far as to use land mines and spring guns.

There were even cases in history in which family members would rig their loved ones coffin with traps that would kill anyone trying to remove the coffin. Gun powder. Kaboom!
Those families who could afford it built the metal cages or placed large stones over the graves of their loved ones. This helped to preserve the grave and deter grave robbers."

Source: www.angelascottauthor.com

24 July 2013

Interview to...Sebastian Latajka, creator of successful Google+ community "Gothic Subculture"

A few months ago I changed my normal Blogger profile into a Google+ profile because I wanted to see how this famous social network worked. First thing I typed in the google bar to explore its content was the word "goth" and I found myself in "Gothic Subculture" Google+ community. I was immediately drawn to it by the fact that it's really interactive and there is a continuous sharing of pictures, music, art and all things possible related to gothic culture. A huge font where to draw inspiration from! So I decided to interview the German-based creator of this community in constant growth, Sebastian Latajka, to find out more about it:

Where did the idea of creating an online community for goths come from? What inspired you to create "Gothic Subculture" Google+ community?

Several things happened at the same time. First the feature to find communities on Google+ was brand new. Secondly, while I was bored clicking through the internet I stumbled over the actual Community Profile Picture and its statement. And third thing... I like to communicate, I like to find out what is going around in people's minds. And so then, somehow the idea was born. I gave it a try. I never expected to have over 1,300 Members (only on GooglePlus), plus almost 1,500 followers on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. And all that in only about 6 months since founding the community. 

What do you like the most about it?

I am always very interested in the fact that goth is everywhere around the globe, but everywhere it's different in the way people live it. It's always amazing to see what occupies the people's minds. Especially when they come from different continents. For example I found out that there is a huge goth scene in Brasil! I was never expecting that before, but we have a lot of south american members in our community.

In the picture that represents the community you have put this image with a clear statement of what goth culture is. Why did you choose it? 

Sadly, goth people still have to suffer under a lot of judgmentalness. We're the freaks, we only wear black, we have depressions and are all suicidal etc ... I think the readers know all with their own experiences what I'm talking about. Actually, I was bored to click through the internet one day and as I saw that picture with the statement it was like WHAM! that's it! I have to share this message, I wanted to make everyone in the world know that we are humans, and so unique just like anyone else. We just have only different points of view and a different way to express ourselves.

The picture representing the community.

Now let's talk about you :) How did you get into the culture?

Talking about me, yay! Probably what I can do best... No, seriously now: Until 2009 I was just "normal". Even pointing with fingers on people like what I am now. I was working in an office a lot. Had a common relationship with a girl. But then suddenly almost all was gone. I had to surrender the high amount of stress which was out there. I had a nervous breakdown in spring 2009, developed self-harming behaviour and went to a lots of hospitals. I thought I would have lost everything. But actually my enlightment only began. This was the time where a former friend introduced me to the german goth scene. And from the very first moment I felt like I would have come home. This hard experience made me think another way. I rearranged my whole life, got rid of everything which was unnessesary. I dedicated my life to finding the truth even though it can hurt mostly.

Beside this blog, have you ever read any other blog regarding goth culture? Did these blogs influence you or made you discover new things as a goth?

Actually, I have to admit...I do not really enjoy reading blogs or magazines. Sometimes I do, but mostly when someone in a social media shares a link to a interesting article. I have not really subscribed to any blog regularly, unless they are my own.. LOL! 
What really influences me a lot is music. I breathe music. The atmospheres, the lyrics, the sounds everything touches my emotions extremely. Also influences me everyday experiences with people in my social evironment. But what makes me want to discover new things? I don't know,.. it's inside of me, it's a neverending want to discover and explore new. New things, new people, new social evironments.

We know goth music includes many genres. Which one is your favourite?

Hard question. For me it's hard to decide for just one Genre. I listen to EBM, SynthPop, Industrial, Harsh-EBM as much as I listen to NDH, Goth-Rock, Dark-Metal. Also the whole branch of pagan / medievil music is my favourite. I can't strictly decide for any genre. It depends on my mood what I listen to. And that can even change multiple-times a day.

Is there any band (old or new discovery) that you recommend people to listen to?

Same here... Oh my god... I am indecisive. People should listen to what their emotions carry them to. You don't even have to understand the language. Just listen, close your eyes and pay attention to what the music is doing to you. It doesn't matter in the end if it is Agonoize, Combichrist, ASP, Faun, And One, Eisbrecher, IAMX, Omnia or Ost+Front. You can consume music or you can feel it. I'd like to recommend to the people to start feeling music. Not more and not less.

What advice would you give to the newbies in goth culture?

Good question. At the very first: You wanna be Goth? Than do a f*** research what the goth movement is coming from. Read about the 80s and the influences, read about the "Goth Roots" and how it developed over the years. Modern goths always want to fit into labels,... Well. To be honestly. I don't like labels. Not even when it's among goths. Being goth is something which is inside of you or not. A label is just like a drawer. Most sadly, people try to fit into those drawers by acting in a certain way. You have to listen to THESE Bands, you have to wear THOSE clothes... Sorry this makes me angry actually. There are sooo many drawers today even in goth scene. There are Emos, CyberGoths, Oldschool, Newschool, Pagans, Steampunker, and what the f*** is BubbleGoth or PastelGoth ??? People WAKE UP !!! What you do is nothing else then being NOT different than common people just only with a goth badge at your chest! It makes me angry. Sorry... but it is the way it is. So finally I could say: The label I like is the label where I can just BE. Whatever I want to be.
And the second advice: Listen to your feelings. Don't care about what others say about you. It's your life. You only have one, try.

This interview in German --> http://slaytay.tumblr.com/post/56603663809/gothic-divine-magazine-interview-mit-sebastian

 Gothic Subculture Community (inside of Google+):

Fan-Pages are:

15 July 2013

Crows and Ravens

On a Google+ community about all things macabre I stumbled upon this image:

The face appearing is of E.A. Poe. Very artistic, isn't it? 
What inspired me to write this post though is not Mr. Poe but the crows used to shape the face. One of the people who replied to this image said those weren't crows but ravens. So far I never thought about the difference between crow and raven, actually because I thought there was no real difference but in the name. I thought it was just 2 popular ways to call the same bird and I believe I'm not the only one believing this. So just to make a little clarification for me and for all I repost you a very clear explanation of the difference between crows and ravens.

"The Common Raven ( Corvus corax ) is one of largest members of the crow family (the Thick-billed Raven, Corvus crassirostris , is the largest), corvidae, and order Passeriformes (perching /songbirds). The Corvidae family also includes birds such as crows, rooks, jackdaws, blue jays, magpies, and many others. Among all birds, ravens are said to be the most intelligent, showing capability for thought and problem solving, as well as tool making and using.

Ravens are omnivorous scavengers, meaning that they will eat, among other things, grain, bugs, berries, shellfish, small animals, eggs, and carrion. They have been known to act in concert with wolves or coyotes, leading them to prey or carrion. This is a win-win situation, since the raven is unable to penetrate the tough hide of the carrion with its beak, and the wolves don't have to search as hard for food. Because they eat carrion, ravens have long been associated with war and death, thus adding to the bad reputation they have acquired. In reality, these birds are very clever, curious, playful and some can even "talk". 

The Raven in Mythology 

With a reputation as a trickster and thief, harbinger of bad luck or of death, and unwitting giver of gifts, the raven is a part of mythology in almost every culture. This includes, but is not limited to, Native American, Scandinavian, European, Japanese, Chinese, Aborigine and Indian. In many cultures, the raven was originally white, but was turned black by a god who was displeased or from encountering smoke on one of his many escapades.

In Scandinavian mythology, the Norse god Odin has two ravens, Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory) whom he would send out at the beginning of the day to gather information for him. 

In much Native American mythology, generally the Pacific Northwest, the raven is a creator. The first humans came from a pea plant that the bird had created, or he found them hiding in clam (male) and chiton (female) shells (Haida tribe). Messenger and occasional hero, albeit unintentionally, this is a mischievous trickster god, similar to the coyote. The raven is attributed to bringing the stars, moon and sun to the sky, mischievously stolen from a man who had kept them in a box for himself. 

The Celts associated the raven and crow with Morrigan, their goddess of death and war, she was said to be able to take the raven's shape.

The Tower of London: Ancient legend says that if the ravens that occupy the White Tower depart, the Tower and British Empire will fall. King Charles II almost got rid of the birds because his astronomer had complained about them. After hearing the legend, being superstitious he changed his mind, instead ordering that at least six ravens be kept at the tower at all times. Thus, there is always a regiment of ravens kept there, with their own keeper, the Ravenmaster. 

Thanks to the popularity of the Edgar Allan Poe poem, "The Raven," "Nevermore" is probably the word most associated with ravens.

Corvus even has its own constellation, in the southern sky near Virgo.

The Difference Between the Common Raven ( Corvus corax ) and the American/Common Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos ) 

Though you can technically call ravens crows, belonging to the Corvus (crow) family as they do, you cannot call all crows ravens.

What are some differences between these two birds? The immediate difference between ravens and crows is size, the crow being approximately 1/3 smaller. The raven around the size of a red-tailed hawk (or a medium size full-grown cat), approximately 22 to 27 inches long, and the crow closer to the size of a pigeon, 17 to 18 inches long. 

Males and females of the species are about the same size and same color, young raven and crow mouths are pink-lined, the color changing from pink to black usually by the second year. Black from beak to feet, ravens and crows can both have iridescent sheens of blue, purple and green on their feathers, ravens more so than crows. Younger ravens can have a brownish-black sheen to their feathers. Rarely, ravens and crows have been born white; they can be either leucistic (less pigment) or true albino (no pigment). White ravens have been reported to live by Qualicum Beach, an island town in Brittish Columbia. 

Ravens are generally seen singly or in pairs, though young ravens stay with their parents for about six months. The more social crow tends to flock, the breeding pairs of crows at times allowing a couple yearlings to stay on and help with the next batch of chicks. Non-breeding birds of both species collect in like flocks, and share communal roosts. When finding food on a breeding pair's territory, a non-mated bird calls to fellow flock members, as the breeding pair is less likely to attempt to drive off a large number of intruders.

Ravens tend to avoid big cities, while crows can make their home there. Ravens have a deeper, more guttural call, and have a wider vocabulary of calls than crows. They are great at mimicking sounds, and some ravens have picked up human words, even changing the pitch of their call to reflect a human female or male voice.

source: emg-zine.com

09 July 2013

Sedlec Ossuary: hidden macabre treasure in the heart of Europe

For this summer I was planning to visit Czech Republic (located in central Europe) but unfortunately there's been a change of plans and I'm not going anymore. :( 

One the places in Czech Republic that was on my itinerary, beside visiting the wonderful gothic city of Prague, was a place called Kutna Hora which holds one of the world's most macabre places to visit: the Sedlec Ossuary
Now, I've seen catacombs, cemeteries, churches with corpses of priests displayed near the altar (in north Italy in the town of Monselice), but never such a monument to death!

The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have in many cases been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. The ossuary is among the most visited tourist attractions of the Czech Republic, attracting over 200,000 visitors yearly.

Four enormous bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel. An enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault. Other works include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a large Schwarzenberg coat of arms, and the signature of Rint, also executed in bone, on the wall near the entrance.

In 1278, Henry, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia. He returned with him a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe.

File:Sedlec Ossuary Entrance.jpg

In the mid 14th century, during the Black Death, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands were buried in the abbey cemetery, so it had to be greatly enlarged.

Around 1400, a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted upper level and a lower chapel to be used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction, or simply slated for demolition to make room for new burials.
After 1511, the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was given to a half-blind monk of the order.

The signature of F. Rint, the author of this macabre ossuary.
Between 1703 and 1710, a new entrance was constructed to support the front wall, which was leaning outward, and the upper chapel was rebuilt. This work, in the Czech Baroque style, was designed by Jan Santini Aichel.
In 1870, František Rint, a woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to put the bone heaps into order, yielding a macabre result.

The ossuary is a major plot device in the John Connolly novel "The Black Angel"
The ossuary is used as a location for the "Dungeons & Dragons" movie and the movie "Blood & Chocolate".
The ossuary was also featured in "Ripley's Believe it or Not" and is described by Cara Seymour in the final scene of the film "Adaptation".
The ossuary was also the influence for Dr. Satan's lair in the Rob Zombie film "House of 1000 Corpses".

File:Sedlec Ossuary Entrance.jpg
The entrance to the ossuary

03 July 2013

AYRIA: The Dark Side of Pop!

Ayria is a Canadian futurepop/synthpop musical project formed in early 2003 by Toronto's Jennifer Parkin following her departure from the influential futurepop and EBM band Epsilon Minus. The lighter, ethereal side of gothic, her work shows a collage of smooth textures and soft vocals over collisions of bass and driving beats, danceable and melodic with the darker elements and themes of electro-industrial music still present.

Parkin has stated in at least one interview that the name is a play on one of her favorite words, "aria", as in the melodic operatic form of singing and composition, but pronounced "area," because music has spatial properties.She once playfully suggested in her blog that AYRIA is an acronym for "Awesome, Yeah Really, I'm Awesome," but her emphasis on carefully constructed melody with ethereal vocals does recall the derivation of her stage name from classical music.

"With a fan base ranging from underground electro, industrial, goth, dance, and pop, people have referred to Ayria as the darker version of Lady Gaga, or the industrial Madonna. Jennifer Parkin has become a bit of an icon in the underground electronic and industrial music scene since starting Ayria in 2003, with her unique writing, singing and performing style and music with an in-your-face sonic approach that combines electro, synth-pop, industrial, 80’s dance, distorted gritty beats and synths, haunting melodies contrasted with angry distorted chanting all wrapped up with pop structures and catchy hooks."

I personally really like her cover of Depeche Mode's In Your Room :

And her remix of Angelspit's Grind:

Ayria Discography:

• Plastic Makes Perfect (CD) – May 24, 2013
• Plastic And Broken (Digital EP) – Feb 14, 2013
• Hearts For Bullets (CD) – 2008
• The Gun Song (EP) – 2008
• Flicker (CD) – 2005
• My Revenge On The World (EP) – 2005
• Debris (CD) – 2003

See more at: www.ayria.com

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