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Someone in my tour group pointed out this cracked-open coffin and asked, "Is this one empty?" The guide said, "No" without breaking stride. I stopped and took a picture just to make fun of the person who asked.
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And now we enter the Terrace Catacombs. They're so named because they are built into the foundation of the terrace overlooking the gardens of the old manor house that was here before the cemetery. If you are a horror fan feeling a vague sense of familiarity it's because Highgate was used in a number of the Hammer Horror films (and several other independent films.) There's a weird little feedback loop here. Because of the horror films shot in Highgate in the 1960s the cemetery became a favourite place with occult dabblers and rumours of Highgate being home to a real vampire cropped up. And even though they kind of caused it all, Hammer Films jumped all over the occult goings-on and the rumours of the Highgate Vampire as the basis for "Dracula A.D. 1972". People breaking into crypts and mausoleums for goofy rituals and fangtards cracking open coffins (in the catacombs especially) looking for the vampire and staking bodies just in case, had those Victorians that bought into the security of Highgate literally rolling over in their graves. Meanwhile there was a group that called themselves "The Gravediggers Guild" that were robbing graves, not for cadavers anymore, but for the lead lining the coffins. The catacombs were easy picking for that. The Friends of Highgate came together in the 1980s to try and put an end to all this and preserve the cemetery. Naturally The Friends of Highgate aren't big fans of the "Highgate Vampire" and I got a bit of a dirty look from the guide for being that one guy in every tour that already knew about it and just might be there because of it.
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There's nothing particularly noteworthy about these three pictures. They're just some things that caught my eye on the way from the Circle of Lebanon to the Terrace Catacombs.
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This is the tomb of Mabel Veronica Batten, lover of groundbreaking lesbian author Radclyffe Hall. The two lived together between the death of Batten's husband and Batten's death in 1916. Radclyffe Hall is famous for her book "The Well of Loneliness", published in 1928. Radclyffe Hall, who died in 1946, is also interred in this in the sepulchre. As you can see people still leave flowers for Radclyffe Hall. There is a lot more to this story but I'' leave it to you to read about it yourself:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radclyffe_Hall https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Well_of_Loneliness https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mabel_Batten
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My balcony cherry-tree is getting blossoms.
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