The Fortean Bride

The Fortean Bride Death, the Bride, Thomas Cooper Gotch http://artuk.org/discover/artworks/death-the-bride-46020/view_as/grid/search/keyword:bride/page/2

The Fortean Bride Death, the Bride, Thomas Cooper Gotch http://artuk.org/discover/artworks/death-the-bride-46020/view_as/grid/search/keyword:bride/page/2

It’s that season of loves and doves, custom bridal Snapchat filters, wedding llamas, and “buddymoons,” so once again I feel compelled to do a post on wedding weirdness. A few years ago it was “The Bride’s Revenge: Genteel Vengeance for the Jilted.”  This year, ladies and gentlemen, pray charge your glasses and be upstanding for

THE FORTEAN BRIDE

What makes a bride fortean? Well, the nuptial literature is full of cursed brides, hoodoo weddings, ghastly marriage omens, buried-alive-and-resurrected brides, bewitched bridal gowns, the incorrupt “Italian Bride,” spirit match-makers, and ghosts who stopped a wedding.

And, of course, ghostly brides, headless or faceless or transmuted into White Ladies as a symbol of dynastic doom, take “till death do us part” as a mere suggestion, rather than a solemn vow. The Fortean Bride often does not get to the church on time—if at all. This, of course, predisposes her to try throughout Eternity to make it to the chapel. In Haunted Ohio IV: Restless Spirits, I wrote about the ghostly bride of Trebein Road [Greene County, Ohio] and in Haunted Ohio II, I told the story of Esther Hale, jilted on her wedding day, who haunts a nearby bridge, seeking to claim a living body for her own.

Flesh-and-blood brides found similar roadblocks, fueled by the superstition that seeing a hearse or a mourning coach on one’s wedding day was a deadly omen for the marriage. There was also a belief that a bride who saw a hearse on her wedding day would lose all of her children.

On a foggy morning last week…a bridal party consisting of two young women with enormous bouquets, and two very nervous looking young men, drew up in a four-wheeler at the entrance to a registry-office, situated in one of the meanest of the mean streets off Islington. Just as they were all alighting, a hearse, meandering along in the fog, collided with the cab, and for the moment the wheels became interlocked. Bridegroom, bridesmaid, and the best man were in no way disconcerted. But, alas! For the poor little bride the harmony of the day was broken. Bursting into tears she declared that nothing would induce her to get married “with a hearse for an omen.” And neither laughter, chidings, nor entreaties served to shake her resolve. Back into the cab she got, bouquet and all, and in a few minutes the very woe-begone quartet drove off. Inangahua Times, 7 April 1897: p. 4

The Islington bride sensibly postponed the festivities, while the following bride did not. A word to the wise…

BRIDE’S FATAL SUPERSTITION

Portsmouth, Eng. While a Portsmouth woman was going to church on her wedding day her taxicab overtook a funeral procession. She regarded it as an ill omen and was disposed to postpone the ceremony, but was dissuaded by friends. The bride, however, was depressed. A fortnight after she became ill and died. Wilkes-Barre [PA] Times 16 September 1920: p. 16

The bride wishing to get to the church on time would be best served by grey or white horses. Black horses bore the stigma of the hearse.

BLACK HORSES HALT BRIDE’S CHURCH TRIP

Bad Luck to Ride Behind Them, Insists Pretty Chester Girl.

Chester, Pa., June 27. “I’d rather walk a mile than ride to church in that!” exclaimed pretty Miss Margaret Stevenson, when she stepped out of the front door of her home at 3230 West Third street last night and saw a pair of coal black horses hitched to a cab that was waiting to take her and her fiancé, Lewis Plenelck, also of this city, to the South Chester Baptist church, where they were to be married by the pastor, the Rev. William D. Thatcher.

“Why—wh—what’s the matter?” asked the astonished bridegroom.

“It’s bad luck for a bride to ride to the church behind black horses, Lewis,” declared Miss Stevenson, in a manner so positively expressed that Lewis did not attempt to dispel her notions. He ordered the cab back to the livery stable. Hailing a hack that has been doing regular duty since the street car strike was inaugurated, over ten weeks ago, Plenelck assisted his bride to a seat in the vehicle and they were driven to the church and married in the presence of several hundred invited guests…The bride’s determination to avoid bad luck on her wedding night became known to a number of the guests, and when the pair left the church they were given an ovation that attracted great attention. Fort Worth [TX] Star-Telegram 28 June 1908: p. 11

Of course, even once the church had been safely reached, there might be a whole new set of hazards.

HE FORGOT THE WEDDING-RING

A story has come to light regarding a former Earl of Crawford, Colin by name, who married a relative of the Prince of Orange. The lady, Mauritiade Nassau, was a very beautiful woman, and having fallen in love with the then Earl of Crawford a marriage was arranged. But when the wedding day arrived and the bridal party were assembled at the church no bridegroom was forthcoming. A messenger was despatched in hot haste to fetch the missing earl, who was found at his house enjoying a late breakfast, attired in dressing gown and slippers, completely oblivious to the fact that it was hit wedding day. Hurriedly dressing, the earl rushed off to the church, and the service began. In the middle of the ceremony he discovered he had forgotten the ring. This want being hastily supplied by one of the guests the marriage proceeded.

At the end of the ceremony the bride, glancing at her hand, saw to her unutterable horror that the ring with which she had been wedded was a mourning ring with skull and cross-bones on it.

“I shall be dead within a year!” she shrieked, and fainted dead away. Her words came true, and the earl himself had a most unlucky life.  North Otago Times, 31 July 1909, Page 2

Some brides are absurdly exacting about the church décor, but the candles in this case were a matter of life and death:

Wedding Tragedy.

The effects of superstition are seldom, happily, so tragic as recently at a wedding in the church of Chrastian, at Pisek, in Bohemia. The bride was a maiden of nineteen, Anna Roslin by name, and as she went into church to be united in the bond of wedlock with the youth of her choice, a happy future seemed opening upon her.

Bride and bridegroom stood before the altar on which the lighted tapers burned, when suddenly, before the priest could speak the words which made them man and wife, one of the altar lights was extinguished. A loud cry burst from the bride as she gasped the words, “My light has gone out!” and sank fainting into the arms of the bridegroom. Every effort was made to restore ‘ the poor girl, but in vain, and there, arrayed in her bridal chaplet and veil, she expired before the altar, a victim of superstition.

It is a belief amongst the villagers of the plain that if a lighted taper on the altar should extinguish the person standing opposite to it will suffer some dire calamity, and this it was which so alarmed the youthful bride that it brought on an attack of syncope, from which she never rallied. Home Notes, London 9 May 1896: p. 143

The date and day of the wedding were also highly significant to the superstitious:

COUPLE AT LA CROSSE FEAR WEDDING HOODOO

La Crosse, Wis., March 1. Because the fiancée objected to being married on a Friday and the fiancée tabooed the 23rd, “skiddo” day, the wedding of Julia Pratt and John Hardy, from Northern Iowa, has been broken off abruptly, according to a story which came to light in county court today with the filing of their application for a special license.

Julia and John eloped from their country homes and came to La Crosse. Securing a special permit from County Judge Brindley, they sought the office of Police Magistrate C.W. Hunt to be married. When the justice was about to perform the ceremony the girl discovered that it was Friday and demanded the postponement of the wedding until Sunday.

“I wouldn’t undertake anything on a Friday,” she told the judge. “You know it’s Thursday for crosses and Friday for losses. [Referring to a rhyme about wedding days of the week.] We simply must put it off until tomorrow.”

“Not on your life,” declared the bridegroom-to-be. “Get married on the 23rd of the month? Never. We might better be married on the 13th.”

The pair walked from the office and did not return. Duluth [MN] News-Tribune 2 March 1907: p. 2

Of course I knew the term “23 skidoo,” but never realized that the 23rd was an unlucky number.

Actress Mary Jane Casler called herself the “23 hoodoo bride.” She was married on the 23d, her husband is 23 years old and their married life lasted just 23 hours, she alleges… “It took me just 23 hours to find that it was all a mistake.” Flint [MI] Journal 19 August 1916: p. 2

Some brides and grooms liked to taunt the Fates:

PLAN HOODOO WEDDING

A fireman will be married in condemned cell 13 of the Convict Ship now at the Battery, on June 23, “skidoo day,” which happens to fall on a Friday.

William J. Wagner of Hook and Ladder 107, located at 77 New Jersey ave., is the fireman, and the bride-to-be-is Lillian Schaefer, 23 of 78 New Jersey ave. The Brooklyn [NY] Daily Eagle 15 June 1922: p. 20

The ship mentioned was the barkentine Success, which had transported convicts to Australia under dreadful conditions. It toured various port cities as a tourist attraction from the late 1880s to 1946.  For this bride, it was probably not the wisest choice of wedding venue; nor were the wedding-day hijinks prudent.

BRIDEGROOM IN “HOODOO” WEDDING HELD AS KILLER

Detroit, Sept. 6. Friday again proved an ill day for Thos. L. Boyce who became a bridegroom Friday, June 13, last. He was hailed before Judge Frank Murphy, and charged with the murder of Clyde Keller, 45 years old, last Sunday night. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail for examination.

Boyce’s 29-year-old wife, Louise, who stood with him in the dark shadows of cell No. 3, aboard the old convict ship “Success” and became a bride in the presence of thirteen witnesses, while thirteen mirrors were being shattered and the thirteenth hour was striking, was in the courtroom.

The couple separated shortly after the “hoodoo” marriage. The Chillicothe [MO] Constitution-Tribune 8 September 1924: p. 7

Thrill-seeking couples sometimes chose to be wed with the dead, in graveyard or morgue. I don’t know whether to applaud this bride and groom’s spirit of marital “memento mori” or be appalled at their disrespect.

Couple Married in Morgue,

Then View the Dead.

Denver, Colo. Marriage in a morgue—with numerous dead on marble slabs in the next room!

That is the latest stunt that has hit Denver. For William Sumpter Reaves, a recently returned soldier, and Miss Eva Pearl Adams were married in Olinger’s mortuary by the Olinger chaplain, the Rev. G.A. Barth. The bride’s brother, J. Fred Adams, who is night clerk at the Brown hotel, was best man.

The bridal party, immediately following the wedding ceremony, began their honeymoon by a stroll through the morgue in the adjoining room, and took a look at the bodies awaiting burial. The bride and bridegroom then departed for home.

The idea of being married in a mortuary, with only a thin door separating the living from the dead, is not one that appeals to most persons, but according got the Rev. Mr. Barth the wedding at Olinger’s is not the first marriage that has taken place there, although one has not been performed on the premises for a considerable time. The Coconino Sun [Flagstaff AZ] 9 January 1920: p. 8

The papers gleefully reported on those who were punished for their matrimonial hubris:

Married In Morgue

Bridegroom Dies.

David Lloyd, 21 years old, whose marriage seven months ago with Miss Grace Fowler of Homestead, in the undertaking establishment of John I. Giltinan, 812 Fifth avenue, a few minutes after a funeral had been held, attracted wide attention, died of pneumonia last night in the Passavant Hospital.

Lloyd, who had been employed several years by Charles J. Slores, a funeral director, of 716 Fifth avenue, explained to his bride-to-be that he wished to be married in the undertaking rooms. Lloyd lived at 516 Sixth avenue. Pittsburgh [PA] Daily Post 26 January 1917: p. 11

BAD LUCK FOLLOWS HOODOO WEDDING

Bride Who marries on Friday the Thirteenth Meets Many Woes

Chicago, June 16. Time was when Miss Mazie Katherine Stuart scoffed at signs, omens, dreams and predictions; but ever since she became the bride of Louis Allen Conrad on Friday, March 13, she has renounced her anti-hoodoo beliefs.

Here is the chronology of events which followed the hoodoo wedding in a down-town restaurant: Friday, March 13, at 8:13 o’clock, at the dinner of the Thirteen Club, Maizie Katherine Stuart became the wife of Louis Allen Conrad.

Saturday, March 14. The bride was disinherited by her foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Murray.

May 15, 1908. The bride of a few weeks left her husband, owing, as she alleges, to his cruel treatment and neglect to supply her with the necessaries of life.

May 18. The bride was found by an old-time friend, hungry and weak. She had not, she told her friend, had anything to eat for three days.

June 6, 1908. The bride was forgiven by her foster parents, who offered her a home. Bellingham [WA] Herald 16 June 1908: p. 2

As if living relatives were not interfering enough, dead parents frequently expressed their disapproval of matches, although there are no records of ghostly relatives popping up to object when the minister intoned: “let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”

Still, we have to hope that this unhappy fiancé and his putative mother-in-law crossed paths in the afterlife.

MOTHER’S SPIRIT

Warned Her, and She Jilted Neely, Who Then Suicided.

Chattanooga, Tenn., December 13. James Neely, a prominent young man of Asheville, Ala., committed suicide at his home to-day from despondency because his sweetheart had rejected him from the warning of her dead mother in a dream. The couple were betrothed, and the young lady was having the wedding trousseau made. One night recently she claims that she saw the spirit of her mother in her dreams, and she told her daughter under no circumstances to marry Neely. Acting on the advice of the spiritual visitor she rejected her lover and Neely killed himself. The Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 14 December 1897: p. 2

Her Mother’s Ghost.

A marriage which was to have taken place at Campden the other night, was interrupted in an unexpected way. The contracting parties, Henry Brown and Miss Mary Morgan, stood before Rev. Mr. Clayton, preparatory to becoming man and wife. A portion of the service had been already read, about fifty witnesses being present, when the bride uttered a loud scream. All eyes were immediately fixed upon her. She was seen to raise her hand and point toward a corner of the church. The next moment she fell on the floor in a swoon and had to be carried out. Physicians work with her for nearly an hour before she was restored to consciousness. When fully recovered she gave a curious explanation of her conduct. Her mother, who died four months ago, was opposed to her marriage with Brown. The marriage was for a time delayed, but after Mrs. Morgan’s death arrangements for it were pushed. Miss Morgan says that just when she was about to pronounce the binding words she raised her eyes and saw her mother’s ghost; then she fainted. The wedding was postponed for several days. The Princeton [MN] Union 12 March 1891: p. 2

Defunct spouses also might raise objections to a widow’s marriage; death-bed promises blighted many a bride’s future happiness.

A Ghost Breaks Up a Wedding

 The ghost of a dead husband recently broke up a wedding in a small town in the interior of this State.

A year ago, it appears, Mr. B. died, leaving a young and handsome widow. The married life of Mr. and Mrs. B. had been unhappy, the jealousy of the former adding no little to their troubles. The principal object of Mr. B.’s jealousy, was a young man who had been very attentive to Mrs. B. before her marriage. On his death-bed the jealous husband called his wife to his side and asked her to promise him that she would not marry a second time. She begged him with tears not to exact this promise, and, when he would not yield, she positively refused to make it. At this the dying husband became very angry , and raising himself on an elbow, he shook a thin hand in the face of his weeping wife and said: “Go on and marry that man if you want to, but the ghost of your dead and unloved husband will stand by your side at the marriage altar to remind you of your unkindness to him.”

A moment later the man sank back on his pillow and died without another word. His widow for a time seemed greatly shocked by his dying threat, but at the end of her year of mourning cards were issued announcing that she would soon marry the sweetheart of her youth. A number of friend were assembled at the home of the bride to witness the ceremony, and the threat of the dead husband was forgotten by all save the widow, who had refused to promise that she would not marry again. Just as the couple joined hands before the minister ,the bride-to-be suddenly gave a loud shriek of terror and sank to the floor in a faint.

It was some time before she regained consciousness, and then she begged that the ceremony be deferred until the next day, which was done. Again the couple stood at the altar, and again the bride fell in a dead faint as the minister began to read the ceremony which was to make them man and wife. This time the wedding was postponed for a week, and then, for the third time, the bride fainted. The marriage has been declared off, and to her intimate friends the lady has confided her secret. Every time she stood at the altar she saw at her side the ghostly form of her dead husband. Mrs. B. now declares she will not marry again. Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 14 December 1890: p. 23

We do have to wonder how many of these premarital apparitions were just polite fictions concocted to avoid an uncongenial match. This tale has the fingerprints of the living all over it.

GHOST STOPS A WEDDING

Declaring that her dead husband had come to her in spirit and warned her against marrying again, Mrs. Mary Lincoln, of Wilmerding, widow of Charles Lincoln, to-night refused to proceed with her intended marriage to Joseph Parker, also of Wilmerding, and the guests were dismissed.

A little over a year ago her husband died. After a brief period of mourning she agreed to marry Mr. Parker. He furnished a house and invitations were issued.

This afternoon Mr. Parker found her in tears. Her mother said that some time during the night her daughter had come sobbing into her room and declared that she had been just visited by the spirit of her dead husband. He had warned her against marrying again, she said, and when she protested the spirit had taken hold of her arms and held her until she promised that she would give up the marriage. She asserted that her arms ached from the encounter. Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 28 September 1907: p. 11

Although the dead might try to stop a wedding, there were spooks who liked to play matchmaker, as in this post, Marriages Made on the Other Side. Of course, I have covered spirit weddings, and a girl who married a ghost, and even a pair of ghosts who married to legitimize their baby. But there is a difference between marrying a spirit and marrying a corpse. Posthumous weddings have been legal in France since the First World War. Similar traditions are found in China and a few other countries. In some cultures there were fears that the souls of betrothed girls who died before their wedding would become vampires. If this anecdote is true, we may wonder how much of that belief entered into it.

MARRIED TO A DEAD BRIDE.

Several years ago a Russian cemetery was the scene of a weird wedding. A young woman who had been betrothed died suddenly on the eve of her marriage. Great preparations had been made for the wedding, and the bridegroom and his friends determined that the intervening hand of death should not interfere with the ceremony. The funeral cortege then became a bridal party. The bridegroom walked beside the coffin containing the body of his fiancée as it was borne to the cemetery. At the grave the marriage ceremony was performed, after which the body of the bride, clad in her wedding garments, was lowered into the grave. King Country Chronicle, 9 September 1916: p. 6

There is a famous urban legend about brides dying from the embalming fluid absorbed from a second-hand wedding gown stripped from a corpse. Even the wedding ring and the bridal gown could be unlucky or bewitched. Here we find an overconfident bride defying the curse of a jinxed wedding ring.

AGAIN SHE DEFIES CURSE

Margery Durant Has No Fear of “Jinx” Wedding Ring.

Despite Three Unsuccessful Ventures in Matrimony, the Adventurous Flier Is Once More A Bride.

New York, Nov. 21. The curse of a dead bride’s wedding ring, blamed by the superstitious for the collapse of three of Margery Durant’s heart affairs, was defied by the adventurous flier and heiress again today as she honeymooned in Florida with Commander Fitzhugh Green, biographer and explorer.

The thrice-wed daughter of William C. Durant, wealthy motor car manufacturer, took her fourth husband secretly last Friday at Bronxville, N.Y.

“The only curse I know of is people who interrupt honeymoon,” Mrs. Green told interviewers in a Palm Beach hotel. “Fitz and I both love adventure. How could any curse keep us apart? Right now we’re planning a trip to Africa to see the country over which I flew for five months last year.”

THE STORY OF THE CURSE.

But down along the James River in Virginia the story of the curse persisted. It originated when the flier and her second husband, Robert W. Daniel, New York bank president, were remodeling a house built in 1616. Imbedded in the plaster near a crystal chandelier was an ancient wedding ring. According to tradition, it belonged to a bride who died on her wedding night and its next wearer would never have a happy love affair.

While native workmen gasped, Mrs. Daniel slipped it on her finger. Two years later, in 1926, she obtained a Reno divorce. Then came her engagement to Mitchell Kennerly, wealthy New York art connoisseur. They were divorced in 1930. Kansas City [MO] Star 21 November 1933: p. 4

Wikipedia says that Durant’s husbands were Edwin Campbell 1906-1913; Robert Williams Daniel; John Hampton Cooper; and Fitzhugh Green. Durant seemed drawn to tragedy: Her second husband was a survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic; Fitzhugh Green, who co-wrote Charles A. Lindbergh’s book We, was introduced to Durant by Amelia Earhart. Of course we’re all familiar with the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Col. Lindbergh’s son. Durant and Green were charged with opiate possession in 1947; Green died a few months later.

This “bewitched” bridal gown sounds as if it had what the Spiritualists would have called a “spirit attachment.”

A Bewitched Wedding Dress.

A very singular case has come out recently in regard to a young girl who was engaged to be married. She was poor and her intended husband bought her a wedding dress at an expense of $50. Before the wedding day the intended bridegroom was taken sick and died. The bride-elect mourned his loss, and finally imagined that he was present about her, and that she would still be married to him. She told her parents how she felt, and they told her that she must get rid of the wedding dress. She sold it for $10 to an acquaintance and soon recovered her spirits. The girl who bought the dress after she got it imagined that she would lead a bad life, and she was so affected that she was out of her head. And her parents sent the dress back, when she recovered. No. 1 was soon affected as before, and so much so that she sent the dress back to No. 2 again, and then she recovered. No. 2 was again affected, and an attempt was made to return the dress again to No. 1, but her family declined to receive it. A police officer was sent to take the dress back, after consultation with counsel, but neither party would receive it, and now the friends of the officer are looking to see him go off his base on account of the dress. It would seem as though the old Salem witches possessed the dress, and it is barely possible that the garment might be burned. Grand Forks [ND] Daily Herald 29 October 1884: p. 6

The bride, as well as the bride’s dress, could also be bewitched. In 1894 there was a high profile case featuring one Giles P. Corey (who led a life packed with incident) “hypnotized” or “bewitched” into marrying “the wrong girl.” This young woman leveled the same serious allegations against her aged husband:

BEWITCHED BRIDE DYING.

Accuses Her Husband, Who is 65 Years Old, of Being a Wizard.

Brazil, Ind., March 11. Eliza Stapleton, the 16-year-old bride who created a sensation in police court by testifying that her husband, aged 65, is a wizard and had placed her completely under his control and could at will throw her into spasms, is lying at her mother’s home at the point of death.

She has been almost constantly in hysterics for the past two days and her attending physician says she will either become a maniac or die soon unless some means can be produced to convince her that her husband has released her from his control. She refuses to see him and insists upon her friends sending for a witch doctor to remove the fury sent upon her by her husband. The Scranton [PA] Tribune 12 March 1895: p.1

Young Eliza “went into spasms in court and it required several minutes to resuscitate her. She claimed the spell was caused by her husband. Her mother also stated she believed Stapleton was a witch.” Argus-Leader [Sioux Falls SD] 8 March 1895: p. 1

Regrettably, I’ve found no resolution to the case, which obviously contains deeply unpleasant suggestions of child-bride sexual abuse.

No amount of borrowed, blue, old or new finery could avert the bad luck that followed some brides:

An Illinois bride expectant put some cosmetic on her face to make her appear lovely at the ceremony, but the lotion poisoned her, and in the afternoon of the same day—her wedding day—she died. Her bridal dress became her burial robe. Kentucky Advocate [Danville KY] 16 February 1877: p. 1

Then there was this bride whose bad timing spoiled the whole party. The wedding baked meats did coldly serve forth the funeral tables…

Dropped Dead at the Altar

Newport, KY, February 2. Yesterday was appointed for the wedding of James Murray and Miss Maggie Hutchinson. The house of the bride-elect on Saratoga street was thronged with a happy company of friends, when the expectant groom, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Lightfoot, entered, and arrangements were soon ready for the nuptials. The bride was dressed in her wedding outfit, and when things were about complete the bride was asked if she was ready. She answered “Yes,” and at the same time arose from her seat. She had no sooner gained her feet than she gave a heavy sigh and fell over, a corpse. The guests could not realize the situation for a few moments, and for a while it was thought that she had only fainted. When the fact of her death was announced, the guests who had assembled to participate in the wedding festivities were soon mourning over the body of the bride-expectant. The supposition is that she died from heart disease. Macon [GA] Weekly Telegraph 9 March 1886: p. 8

There are a rather shocking number of reports of brides who died of “heart disease” on their wedding day or night, as well as huge numbers of bride and groom suicides shortly after the wedding. (Did they not read What a Young Husband Ought to Know?)

Mystifyingly we are not made privy to the furniture-involved injury that killed this next bride. The account, however, includes some neat Fortean symmetry:

BURIED IN BRIDAL DRESS

The burial of a young bride in her wedding dress aroused much interest in Hoxton, London, during the middle of August. The girl, who was the only daughter of Mr James Jackson, an undertaker, of East road, City road, was married at Whitsun to Mr Wm Ridel, a chef at a Knightsbridge hotel. While arranging the furniture in her new home after the honeymoon she received an injury which proved fatal.

Mr Jackson improvised a private mortuary chapel in his office, and here the bride, dressed in her wedding clothes, lay in her coffin, which was placed on brass pedestals for her numerous friends to see. A large cross of lilies covered the whole length of the coffin and beside the body were laid the orange blossoms and the bouquet the girl had on her wedding day. [These were probably made of wax and/or fabric.]

On the day of the funeral thousands thronged the route to Abney Park Cemetery, where the interment took place. The coffin was made of the same mahogany of which the bride’s furniture was constructed, and the men who made the furniture also constructed the coffin. The principal figures at the wedding were among the mourners, and the fourteen wedding broughams were used, with the same footmen and coachmen who attended the wedding guests at church. Bay of Plenty Times, 14 October 1912: p. 5

And, finally, we have the anonymous Fortean bride of this much-syndicated French tale. Whether a true story or urban legend, “disappointment” seems somehow inadequate.

THE BRIDE OF DEATH

A Paris telegram says that on Sunday night, April 27, the custodian of the cemetery at Charenton discovered a young woman of unusual beauty wandering among the tombs and singing to herself. When questioned she could give no answer except that she was the bride of death. It appears that three times she has been engaged to be married, but the first of her fiancés committed suicide, the second deserted her, after robbing her of her jewellery, and the third shot himself in a fit of delirium. Her mind gave way under this last disappointment, and she has had to be placed in an asylum. Hawera & Normanby Star, 21 June 1902: p. 2

  l’infidélité éternelle…

Other Fortean Brides? One measures a wedding ring, starting anywhere. chriswoodyard8 AT gmail.com

For more on bridal superstitions, see this link at Mrs Daffodil.

Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching hauntedohiobooks.com. Join her on FB at Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard or The Victorian Book of the Dead.