What's New?

The postponed "fixes" to the site from last month were completed. Internet Explorer users should no longer have any difficulties seeing the images for each record. A few other mis-matched picture/record matches were corrected, and all records that come from searches should have a picture now.

Coming Soon!

Progress has been made on the new layout and search options, however these are still in the testing phase, and probably won't be seen on the live site for a few months. There is a great deal of data entry yet to be done for the current database, and my current plan is to add a bunch of records over the Labor Day weekend, now that the picture problems have been largely resolved.

Featured Article

Cemetery Dowsing

One of the more fascinating methods of determining the final resting places for human remains has been the technique of "dowsing." Like "divining" for water, cemetery dowsers use rods, held parallel to the ground while walking, to determine where a body has been buried. The practice has been around for centuries, and there are many who believe it is a very reliable, inexpensive way in which to map unmarked cemeteries.

It is quite easy to make diving rods, and you might want to experiment. Find two old wire hangers, and make them into L shapes. Holding the wires by the bottom of the "L," with the long sides parallel to the ground. Walk with the rods parallel to each other, and if the rods widen, you might have discovered a burial.

More than one cemetery caretaker I've talked to has seen remarkable results from dowsers, some of whom have honed their skills of interpreting the motion of the rods to such a fine point, that such details as the person's height and sex can be gleaned from the rod's movements.

However, there is as much skepticism about the practice as there are believers. A recent study on the effectiveness of dowsing seems to show that there's not a good deal of strong evidence to support dowsing as a reliable method of identifying burial spots.

While not nearly as inexpensive as two bent clothes hangers, many archaeologists use Ground Penetrating Radar to help them identify possible human remains. Experts agree this technology is much more reliable than dowsing. Yet, Ground Penetrating Radar is not perfect. In areas such as Colorado, with its rocky, and conductive, clay-heavy soils, the performance of Ground Penetrating Radar suffers. Moreover, using this technology requires a knowledgeable technician who can interpret the readings yielded from the equipment. Ground Penetrating Radar is a non-destructive way to peer beneath the earth's surface with radio waves, and determine likely burial sites, but it is not something that a novice can easily use.

Cemetery of the Month

While technically not a cemetery, it is a burial site, and one of the most famous in the state. Buffalo Bill's Grave, on Lookout Mountain, is the finally resting place of the famed soldier, scout and showman. He lies next to his wife, Louisa. Long before there was a forest of antenna blocking the view from the burial site, the Codys were interred under a concrete and rock cairn, designed to prevent the remains of Col. William Frederick Cody from leaving the site at the hands of grave robbers. According to one of his first wills, Cody requested that he be interred in the city that bears his name, Cody, WY. In a later will, it seems that the matter was to be left to Louisa Cody. Several sources have hinted that she was talked into allowing the burial on Lookout Mountain, and that Cody never requested to be buried on Lookout Mountain, as the marker on his grave claims.

Various attempts have been made to return Cody's remains to his "rightful" home. Rumors have persisted through the years that the remains were stolen and are interred elsewhere, however, there is no evidence to support these rumors. Perhaps a body dowser or some ground penetrating radar is needed, to put the rumors, as well as the Codys themselves, to rest.

Around the Web

This month has been light on news from around the web. First, on the international front, a dispute over a Jewish cemetery in Lithuanian has been resolved.

Another cemetery/monument conservation business has emerged. The Missouri company provides conservation expertise.

The history of African Americans, which has taken a back seat to the tale of our country is being researched at Forest Hills Cemetery.

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