Why do criminals in tsarist Russia were digging other people's graves

History 23/03/20 Why criminals in tsarist Russia dug the wrong grave

In tsarist Russia sometimes happened that the criminals broke into the cemetery with the purpose to dig a grave. However, the tradition to put in the casket with the deceased valuables the time has long gone. What is needed thieves?

“Dead dream” and “invisibility”

Among the criminals of the pre-revolutionary era were widely distributed various superstitions, including associated with the dead.

“the people there was a belief that, after procuring the head or hand of a dead man, can quite safely engage in theft due to the special magical influence<...> the owners are stealing property,” says researcher Victor Androshchuk.

in order For the tool worked, used a special magical rituals. According to the “Dictionary of Russian superstitions” Elena Grushko and Yury Medvedev, the thieves did the following: crept into the house where the people were asleep, the criminals have done over hosts flapping his arms, holding stolen from the graves of the teeth. Was considered that thus it is possible to “waft” the owners “dead sleep”. Another way is to whisper a special conspiracy is still on the street, before entering the room.

“Let the people in this house will be asleep and will not Wake up before this bone,” — said the thief.

of Course, it is not “helped”. If the burglar was inept or too noisy, it was caught. But sometimes the owners actually slept so soundly that he discovered the missing items only in the morning. In case of success, faith in thieves “miracle cure” were strengthened. Stories about aid mertveci attributes were transferred among criminals from mouth to mouth.

Even more surprising belief came to Russia from Germany. German robbers believed that candle, cobbled together from melted human fat, can make a person invisible. According to the researchers, the myth of invisibility came from the key properties of the world mhertwich – no one sees:

“Dead as invisible as Hades. From these views developed magic achieve invisibility real people,” — said the doctor of philological Sciences Romain Nazirov.

According to the principle of “like cures like” the dead were and “protection” from theft. To this should enclose a human skull around the yard. However, where it was easier to get a black dog, cat, or rooster.

the case of the stolen head

the Orthodox Church for centuries through sermons fought against witchcraft. Often, however, to understand the intricacies of the popular superstition, had not the priests and the police. One such case occurred in the 80-ies of the XIX century, it is known from the materials of the Minsk district court. It all started with the fact that a young resident of the city of Abbot during the game climbed into the barn to the 50-year-old citizen by the name of Verigo. There the child saw someone’s head, and fear immediately climbed out, wailing for the whole yard. While the other adults found out what it is, Verigo came out of the barn a round object and hid it in the hay. On request to show this thing a tradesman said, “fuck off, there’s nothing there! You never know what a child will invent”.

But neighbors were not satisfied and called the police warden. During a search the head was found. She belonged to the woman, who died at the age of 60 years. After interviewing local residents, it became known her name. As told by the son of the deceased, his mother died a month before the incident in the barn. The funeral was attended and a female, Verigo. The opening of the graves showed that the body do without a head. Verigo claimed that the head had been planted by the enemies, but prosecutors failed to prove that the citizen stole it from superstitious motives. The man was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months imprisonment.

Even more serious crimes are sometimes committed for the production of “thieves ‘ candles”. For example, the peasant Yefim Earthling, inhabitant of the Belgorod district of the Kursk Province for this purpose in 1887 strangled in the woods the girl. 7 months it successfulabout stealing, yet in the end, you haven’t. If burned the candle until the end is unknown, but become invisible to the perpetrator, of course, failed. The court sentenced the murderer to exile to Sakhalin.

it is Worth noting that the thieves of the superstition, apparently, has passed away at the beginning of the XX century. Modern criminal world such ideas are almost unknown.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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