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28 Headstones That Defied Expectations

The traditional headstone is a bit less wide than the grave, inscribed with the deceased’s name and dates of birth and death. Sometimes there is a short phrase or a symbol carved into it. But some headstones are so different and distinctive that they dominate the entire cemetery, and maybe even draw tourists. A list at Atlas Obscura has gravestones that tell us a lot about the deceased, or very little. They are huge or tiny, expensive or use nothing but nearby material, or are just plain bizarre, like the statue gracing the grave of author Jules Verne.

It's fitting that Jules Verne, father of science fiction, would have a dark, otherworldly gravestone. Two years after his death a sculpture entitled “Vers l'Immortalité et l'Eternelle Jeunesse” (“Towards Immortality and Eternal Youth”) was erected atop his marker. Designed by sculptor Albert Roze, and using the actual death mask of the writer, the statue depicts the shrouded figure of Jules Verne breaking his own tombstone and emerging from the grave.

The effigy has become iconic enough that in first issue of seminal science fiction magazine Amazing Stories (first published in 1926) and for many years thereafter a drawing of his tombstone appeared as part of the masthead.  

The only thing the headstones in this list have in common is that they are there to mark the death and final resting place of someone, somewhere. And they all have a story to tell.

(Image credit: Atlas Obscura user rogerbcn)


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