September #74 : No Bones About It - by Angelo Ragaza

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Table of Contents

The Art Of Dying

Words to Die By

Death in Hand

The Way We Die Now

D.I.Y. Death

Hear No Evil


Human Wrongs

Canada Dried

Just Generic

The Plot Sickens

Altitude Adjustment

Sentimental Education

The Luck of The Draw

Walker, Within This Circle Pause

Gays & AIDS

Movin' On, I

Movin' On, II

Prez Says

Kiss From Sis

No Bones About It

Deaditors, We Salute You!

A Tomb With a View

Monster Mash

Living Will Is The Best Revenge

New Drug Watch: A Couple of Swells

Organ Downer

Role Reversal

Snapshots: Larry Montero


Editor's Letter

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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September 2001

No Bones About It

by Angelo Ragaza

In the town of Sedlec, an hour outside of Prague, in the Czech Republic, art imitates death as much as it does life. This 19th-century chandelier, which looms portentously over a chapel in the Church of All Saints graveyard, was wrought from the skeletons of some 40,000 people interred there over the course of half a millennium. Legend holds that in 1278, an abbott brought a jarful of soil from Christ's grave in Palestine and scattered it over All Saints' grounds. Properly anointed, the graveyard became a must-do for Christians on the pilgrimage tour of Europe. The many clamoring to be buried in the "holy soil" were joined by countless victims of the other plague -- the Black Death -- and by the 15th century, the site held far more human remains than it could accommodate. The first attempt to clear space for newcomers came in 1511, when a monk arranged the bones in decorative pyramids. Cut to 1870, when a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint created this chandelier, which still hangs in the chapel. It's a breathtaking testimony to plague as not only a great equalizer but also an ironic creator of community -- as inexorable in its own time as AIDS is in ours.

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