WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Haunted Latimer House Museum in Wilmington is opening it’s doors to the spooky and unusual world of Victorian funeral customs Friday.
The Victorian All Hallows’ Eve Wake showcases Victorian era death and burial rituals and their strict societal rules at a party to benefit the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society.
Victorians buried their dead very quickly and sometimes on the same day their loved one died. The process was simple and efficient. After the death a person would sit with the corpse and stay awake to make sure the person was dead. This would be done in the family’s parlor and, hence, the phrase funeral parlor was born. It was before the time of embalming so often bodies were held on ice and the home filled with flowers to delay composition and cover the odor. Women and men both wore black, with women often staying in mourning clothes for up to 18 months.
The Latimer house if decorated as if a Wake for one of the family was happening. Mirrors are covered and invitations, funeral jewelry and mourning clothes are all on display. Look for the family’s wreath downstairs which is made from the hair of deceased ancestors. It was used to tell the family history.
The event Friday includes a Civil War era hospital with mock amputations, ghost stories, Tarot card readings and more of the sometimes macabre rituals of the Victorian era.
It is at the Latimer house at 126 South Third Street in downtown Wilmington from 6 – 9 pm. Click here for tickets.