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Ghosts and Gravestones: The Macabre Side of Boston

Paul Revere was a busy man, and not just in professional terms. In addition to his work as a silversmith, iron caster, bell maker, naval ship sheather, and part-time dentist, he had two wives, sixteen kids, and a swarm of admirers to attend to. The man must have been surrounded by people every second of every day of his life. But there was one who stood out amid the throng: Dr Joseph Warren.

Dr Joseph Warren

Bromance incoming.

Warren was, by all accounts, Paul Revere’s BFF. The last and greatest testament to this fact was set down after Warren’s death at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Dr Warren was buried in a mass grave. It wasn’t a slight against his character: The American rebels who lost their lives in the sortie were simply too numerous to permit beleaguered Boston to bury them properly. Most of the newly bereaved accepted this and moved on. Most of them–but not Paul Revere.

Chaffing at the ignominious treatment of his bestie, Revere grabbed a shovel, marched out to Bunker Hill, and started digging. Hours slipped by as he sank deeper and deeper into a heap of muck and rotting corpses. Finally, he spotted a shirt that resembled one Warren had owned and pulled that body from the tangle, only to find that it was missing the top half of its head, rendering it impossible to identify.

But all was not lost! It transpired that, a few weeks prior to the battle, Revere had outfitted his friend with a porcelain tooth. In what Wikipedia calls “[maybe] theĀ first recorded instance of post-mortem identification by forensic odontology,” Revere was able to make a positive identification based on said tooth. Lovingly, he carted Warren home and laid him to rest in Boston’s Granary Burying Ground.

So, yeah. What have you done for your friends lately?

Ghosts and Gravestones
The tale of Revere and Warren was just one of many macabre offerings from Ghosts and Gravestones, a horror-themed trolley tour of Boston. Some people think ghost tours are dorky. I am an absolute sucker for them. And this one was particularly entertaining.

Here are just a few of the unsettling things Ghosts and Gravestones taught me about my new hometown.

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