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Weird Traditions At 8 Famous Graves From Around The World

OCTOBER 14, 2015  —  By Mike Cahill  
Mike Cahill

Mike Cahill

Mike is ViralNova's resident Editor of the Weird. If it makes you say "OMG! That's terrible!!!" then Mike probably wrote it. Despite the subject of his articles Mike is surprisingly well adjusted. When he's not writing, he's making music, performing, and producing podcasts.

When we die, we'll be lucky if our loved ones make more than the occasional trip to see our graves. That's sadly just the way it usually plays out when you're dead. If you're buried near one of these eight people, however, you can expect more than a little foot traffic near your final resting place.

But the best way to enjoy what happens at these memorial sites is to visit them when you're still among the living.

1. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir

While you may not be familiar with these two, they were important intellectual power players in 20th-century France. To pay their respects, many visitors plant red kisses all over their headstone. It's important to note that Sartre was involved with many Leftist movements in his day — one of which was in response to a hike in Parisian metro prices. For that reason, patrons in the know leave metro tickets at his grave.

2. Fredrick the Great

This German conquerer has had a tough go of it since his death. All he wanted was something modest, but his successor had him entombed in a grand cathedral. During World War II, Hitler had Fredrick's body moved into a mine. Today, his corpse rests outside of Berlin. Visitors bring potatoes to nod to the conquerer's interest in agricultural policies.

3. Elvis Presley

Every year, thousands of people gather at Graceland for a weeklong mourning period to commemorate Elvis Presley. On the evening of August 15, they hold a candlelight procession on the hill at Graceland that leads to Elvis' grave. According to his estate, no single event brings more Americans together in mourning year after year than this memorial.

4. Oscar Wilde

While there have been many traditions surrounding Oscar Wilde's grave, the most recent one involved leaving red lipstick kisses on the sculpture at his final resting place. Despite the threat of a hefty fine, ladies regularly covered the stone in kisses until a barrier was built in 2011.

5. Wyatt Earp

The current resting place of famous outlaw Wyatt Earp in Colma, California, is regularly littered with unused bullets. It's a morbid tradition, indeed.

6. Marie Laveau

Laveau was said to be the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans when she was alive. Prior to 2014, those looking for Laveau's help would write "XXX" on her grave, or knock three times on the door of her mausoleum. However, a recent renovation removed these scratchings and imposed a heavy fine for writing on the headstone.

7. Harry Houdini

At Houdini's grave in Queens, New York, you'll more often than not find an assortment of offerings that have been left for the great escapist. People typically leave playing cards. In years past, fellow magicians have performed rituals every year at this site on the anniversary of Houdini's death. However, as the crowds coming to see the rituals have grown, they've begun holding these shows elsewhere.

8. Edgar Allan Poe

Between 1940 and 2009, a mysterious tradition went on every year at Poe's grave. Basically, an unknown visitor poured cognac out on the writer's headstone and left behind three roses. In 2007, a 92-year-old local claimed to be the toaster, and the last recorded toasting happened in 2009. Now, Poe historians are eagerly awaiting someone else to take up the tradition.

(via: Mental Floss)

That is really hardcore. I know a lot of people still listen to Elvis, but I didn't know he still commanded a candlelight vigil every year on the anniversary of his death. We can only hope to receive flowers every year after we pass on, and sometimes, even that's asking too much.