Grave robbing was a major concern in the early 19th century. Scotland was one of the countries where this concern was seen the most. There, the robbers would steal the dead bodies and supply the corpses to medical students. In order to protect the dead bodies from being stolen, mortsafes were invented.
All of the people wanted to protect their relatives’ or friends’ dead bodies. While the rich could afford heavy table tombstones, the poor began to put flowers and pebbles on graves so that they could see if disturbances happened to the tombs. The problem became so big that the people also saw it necessary to take turns or hire men to watch over the graves. Still, robbers found a way to violate the graves. Well, until mortsafes came along…
Mortsafes were cages or grills placed over the graves of newly deceased people during the 19th century. They were typically made of iron or stone and were quite successful in keeping robbers away from the deceased bodies.
There is a common myth going around that mortsafes were actually used to prevent the dead from rising, but that’s far from the truth.
HT: Vintage Everyday
Check more content from us here: