Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 31, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
LETHBRIDGE July Chilly chapel may house headless corpse Archeologists prepare fresh search for Dracula By MALCOLM W. BROWNE New York Times Service SNAGOV Rumania Hopes have been raised that the headless skeleton of long mis- sing from his tomb may turn up next year in a fresh ex- cavation beneath the floor of Snagov Chapel. Such a development would be at least as interesting to lovers of vampire fiction as to archeologists and historians. Perhaps the greatest beneficiary would be the Rumanian for which thanks to his attraction for foreign has become an important national asset. Touristic parallels have been drawn between Rumania's Dracula and the Loch Ness Monster. The location of Dracula's bones would at least settle an old controversy among concerned scholars regarding a somewhat obscure period of Rumanian history during the Byzantine period. Prince Vlad of who lived from sometimes used the nickname and the name stuck. His father's name was meaning or and means son of a dragon or devil. But Dracula was also given a nickname by which he is much better known in Rumania today meaning the 16th century ac- counts describe him as having had scores of thousands of people slaughtered.'most by slow impalement on upright Sears SPECIAL PURCHASE GWG Double Knit Pants Regular YOUR CHOICE Take advantage of this great Choose from a solid heather knit or two check patterns. All are Trim Fit. Assorted colors and brown. Waist sizes 30 to 40. Personal Shopping You can charge it on your Sears All Purpose 1534 SblSS lOCCSN 5'IGPPER 100 HUN ST rOl.8 TOUN Salisfacnon Gueraniood or Money I Ltd.- at Simpsons-Sears you get the finest guarantee satisfaction or money refunded and free delivery Store Open Daily a.m. to p.m. Thursday and Friday a.m. to p.m. Centre Village Mall. Telephone 328-9231 stakes. Even by contem- porary Byzantine he was considered an extraor- dinarily sadistic and blood- thirsty tyrant. Dracula is supposed to have died at the age of 45 in one of his many battles with the who carried off his head on a spike for public dis- play in Constantinople. The rest of his body is believed to have been taken by Rumanian Orthodox monks to their monastery here at a wooded island about one mile long' in a large lake 15 miles north of Bucharest. Prayers He is believed to have been buried under a heavy stone slab set in the floor directly in front of the chapel possibly so as to facilitate prayers for his exceptionally troubled spirit. In 1931 Snagov Island was extensively excavated and many skeletons were found buried upright where they had been but in the grave supposedly belong- ing to Dracula only ox bones and some very old Rumanian artifacts were found.. Another unmarked grave near the door of the chapel contained human some scraps of red silk clothing and some jewelry bearing the emblem of all of which were taken to Bucharest Historical from which they mysteriously disappeared One theory is that the body was disturbed by Dracula's enemies at one time and mov- ed away from the altar to the second grave. The dis- appearance of the bones and ornaments from the museum in modern times has not been explained. The latest theory was described by Sebastian a 27-year-old theological student with two lives on Snagov Island. Still buried new he that Vlad Tepes is really still down but deeper than they dug before. The grave at the top with the animal bones may have been intended to divert and dis- courage grave robbers from the real grave which perhaps lies just under it. That princi- ple was used to conceal some of the tombs in too. Some Rumanians take supernatural phenomena seriously and even believe in dangerous vampires. But the' association .of Dracula with vampirism is a wholly foreign having originated with the 1897 novel about Dracala by the English writer Bfam Stoker. .Rumanian interest in the real Dracula has been enhanc- ed in recent years not only by the tourist attraction the memory of undead is but through the painstaking research of two American Dr Raymond T. McNally and Dr. Radu Florescu. The Dracula studies of these two scholars are regarded by at least one cabinet minister of the Communist government as definitive. In the Snagov Lake area is a popular resort for the people of nearby Bucharest It is crowded with swimmers and speed boats. There is also a trickle of foreign interested mainly in Dracula's tomb. Lonely But despite the vacation aspect of the lake and its the island itself is lonely There are still folklore tales about a sunken church under the lake and the rising of Dracula's ghost from its murky depths. Even by relatively few people come to the island to wander through the crumbl- ing toundation walls ot old tor- ture chambers or stroll through the Jorest. At there is only the two monks and the theological student The old chapel is startling chilly even on a hot and in the half light scaling Byzantine frescoes of saints and princes look peculiarly sinister. Most of the stone floor is covered with except for the heavy slab marking the tomb ol greatest interest that ot Dracula Epitaph custom a dying business HAMILTON Like the business it is part the epitaph is dying. For centuries an epitaph was considered a necessary part of a a few lines ot thoughts that a person would carry with him to eternity. The making of gravestones is still a profitable business but it offers nowhere near the same creative potential that making epitaphs used to in the old days Other than the cold facts of the person's dates of birth and grave- stones today might carry a simple inscription like Rest In Peace or Just Sleeping. In the a stone could carry al- most a person's life history. For this epitaph appears on Jane Schooicraft's gravestone at St. John's Ang- lican Church in Ancasterv educated and of polished manners and conver- she was easily fitted to adorn yet of retiring and modest deportment. Ear- ly imbued with principles of true .she patiently sub- mitted to the illness which for several years marked her decline and was inspired through seasons of bodily and mental depression with the lively hope of a blessed im- CARVED BY HAND That was done in when a stone-cutter used a chisel and mallet to cut each letter by hand. Now a rubber mold is made of the design and the mold is glued to the granite stone. It is then sand-blasted. The sand bounces off the rubber mold but etches out the letters and 'design. A new dimension in epi- taphs has been invented in the United States by a mar. who hopesjo market talking tomb- stones that also show movies of the deceased. Tombstones can be used to find out about not so The Egyptians were the first to put a man to perpet- ual rest with his personal his- tory. The ancient Greeks and Romans did the same. Early Canadian settlers' tombstones offer clues to the hardships they as a gravestone from a Hamilton area cemetery indicates. The pioneering Rymal family is buried and irom the grave of Frances Rymal we learn of a hard winter in 1865. The winter of trouble is passed The storm of afflictions is over Her struggles are ended at last And sorrows and death are no more. SOME HUMOROUS In some cases epitaphs are like that of John who is buried in Wim- England His epitaph If cash thou art in want of any Dig four feet deep and find a Penny. Or that of Elizabeth Ire- buried in 1779. Here I lie by the chancel door Here I lie because I'm poor The farther in. the more you pay Here lie 1 as warm as they Many epitaphs combine hu- mor and history. An example from the American west Here lies Lester Four slugs from a No Les. no Moore. William writ- ing his own produced a Good friend for Jesus' sake forbear To dig the dust enclosed here Blessed be the man who spares these stones And cursed be he who moves my bones. W. C. Fields chose his gravestone to get off one last about his least favorite in I'd rather be in Philadelphia They don't write epitaphs like that any more.