Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the fear of being buried alive reached a feverish height. Grave Watchers were hired to keep watch over the recently buried, alert and vigilant should the prematurely buried awake. Often there was a bell apparatus set up with a string from bell to coffin. If the bell rang, the buried was not dead but alive.
My Uncle Ruprecht spent an eventful month as a Grave Watcher somewhere in Tennessee. He published his most well-respected poem during this time, titled “Safety Coffin Sleep Depravity”, and received a commendation for logging the most consecutive hours in a cemetery as a Grave Watcher during inclement weather.
He also continued the work that would become his legacy: Behavior Taxidermy. Ruprecht has an uncanny ability to recreate precise moments of human behavior, sculpting and drawing emotions so that these creations pulsate with energy. Even centuries later.
We discovered a trunk of Uncle Ruprecht’s Behavior Taxidermy Studies in an ancient trunk, and while the man seems to have disappeared nearly half a century ago, we inexplicably continue to receive letters and shipments from him. For all we know, he is back in Tennessee, vigilant at some soul’s grave, waiting for a bell to ring in the night.
Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.