coins on grave site?

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Postby Guest » 09/18/07 04:49 PM

A while back I had visited Colon,Mi. I had went to visit the Blackstones grave site and many others. When I arrived at the Blackstones headstone, I had notcied that there were coins,pennys,dimes etc... all over the head stone. Can anyone tell me what this means or why? Is this a magicians tradition or a running gag? :confused:
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 09/18/07 07:30 PM

Maybe because he was tapped out in the end?
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Postby Guest » 09/18/07 08:42 PM

Originally posted by William Reader:
A while back I had visited Colon,Mi. I had went to visit the Blackstones grave site and many others. When I arrived at the Blackstones headstone, I had notcied that there were coins,pennys,dimes etc... all over the head stone. Can anyone tell me what this means or why? Is this a magicians tradition or a running gag? :confused:
Not a magician's tradition per se, but rather seems to be a tradition in many cultures possibly going back to Roman times and possibly earlier.
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Postby Guest » 09/18/07 09:08 PM

To date, the earliest known reference to giving or placing coins on a corpse or grave comes from ancient Greece. Pausanias wrote that the coins were required as payment to Charon, the mythical "ferryman" who guides the soul across the River Styx to its final destination.

In mediaeval times and later, the practice grew to placing coins on the ground covering a buried body, for the reason sited above (to insure safe-passage for the dead, though likely not for Charon, specifically).

In Burma, during the last half-century, coins were placed in the mouths of the dead to insure the same, safe, passage. Sir James Frazer, the pioneer anthropologist, wrote a piece on the subject in the mid-19th century. You can find more information in Volume 68, Number 7, of "Folk-Lore," (March, 1957, issue).

There is some evidence, though only anecdotal, that the practice also took place in the United States during the "Old West" growth period. Some believe placing coins over the eyelids of a corpse served the same function, though, more practically, this was likely performed to keep the lids closed in rigor.

In Jewish tradition, placing stones on the grave of person shows great respect, love and or admiration. At least as recently as the 19th Century, Jewish families also put coins in the mouth of the departed.

Cordially,

Greg Edmonds
Executive Editor, International Brotherhood of Magicians Internet Portal
Official Historian, and ex-editor, The Psychic Entertainers Association
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Postby Guest » 09/18/07 09:24 PM

I've been away from a computer for a while (the judge said "time-served" was sufficient, so here I am).

Actually, my old laptop became Genii (?), pixie, gremlin or daemon possessed. I took it to the Geek Squad three times (I purchased the unit at Best Buy, and they actually have a fair repair and replacement policy), but the lady and fellows were, ultimately, stumped.

So, I'm back, and thank Richard, once again, for providing this wonderful forum.

I'm now on an iMac, for those who might care, and learning the ropes VERY slowly.

I failed to mention, though most of you are probably already familiar with it, Sir James Frazer's seminal work, "The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion." In subsequent years, many anthropologists and social psychologists have found fault with Fraser's conclusions, but the (VERY large) text does contain fascinating information about magic, as practiced in various cultures.

Please see my note elsewhere for information requesting topic editors for the new IBM Web Portal, mentioned in my post above.

Thanks,

Greg
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