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Old 01-19-2015, 02:01 PM
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Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

Imagine creeping around an abandoned underground crypt and finding bodies still left inside since the early 2000's!

Ransacked caskets and neglect have turned dream to disgrace at Memorial Mound mausoleum
Clyde Booth dreamed of bringing the mounds and catacombs of ancient burial sites in Rome to Bessemer, and in 1992 opened what he thought would be a final resting place that would serve as a dignified resting place for the ages.

Instead, the few men and women laid to rest there recently suffered the indignity of discovery as the mausoleum was seemingly abandoned, broken into and the caskets ransacked.

Memorial Mound, opened by the now-deceased Booth, is an abandoned tomb littered with embalming chemicals, open caskets and decaying human remains. There are still stacks of brochures touting the mausoleum as "The Most Beautiful Burial Facility in the U.S.A."

Bessemer authorities, alerted to the situation by AL.com, this afternoon sealed off the property. They also blocked off the entrances to the property, and were stationing police officers there overnight.

It's not clear how the long the crypt - less than two football fields away from a children's playground - stood unlocked. In recent days, it had become a destination for millennials with cameras seeking a a macabre day trip.

A Youtube video posted this week shows two men on a tour of Memorial Mound. There is also a conversation about the mausoleum on Urban Thread, and the blog, What's Left of Birmingham, also features a photo shoot titled "A Failed Concept."

Photographs taken in December show a skull in the casket with the human remains. That skull was not there on Wednesday.

Booth, who it appears died in 2009 at the age of 83, opened Memorial Mound in 1992 on Dartmouth Avenue. Instead of being buried in the ground as in conventional cemeteries, caskets were placed on metal racks in a vast, gymnasium-size room.

Survivors couldn't enter the room where the caskets were stored, but were allowed to lay flowers on the large earthen mound, place a bronze memorial on a marble wall inside the structure or even call up a biography of the deceased on a computer.

Booth dug graves in Kentucky as a teenager, he told the Associated Press in the early 1990s. He later studied ancient burial sites such as mounds and catacombs and wanted to create a burial site that would incorporate both.

He built Memorial Mound on 16 acres. The concrete foundation rests eight feet below the ground. The plans called for caskets to be stacked up to eight levels, or 10 feet high, according to the Associated Press article. Prices ranged from $1,500 to $1,800 depending on the casket and the floor level.

Booth planned to install two video machines for family members and other visitors. "Say, 100 years from, a mother brings her child in and the child says, 'Mommy, what did great-grandma look like?'' Booth told the AP. "She presses the button on the video and up comes a picture of Grandma Smith...pertinent information about, where she was born, whom she married, the name of her parents."

That may have happened, but Booth's dreams for everlasting tribute died sometime during the past decade. The inside reveals years of abandonment and neglect and filth.

In one room, there is a handful of unused caskets that appeared to have once served as a show room for Booth's casket business, Caskets and memorial Wholesale Co., which sold caskets to the public at the wholesale prices. The business's fliers, found on a table and on the ground at the facility Wednesday, advertised funeral and burial costs at Memorial Mound at $2,285.

The mausoleum's floors are littered with trash and artificial floral arrangements. There were nine caskets that appeared to have been used at one point, with human remains visible in one opened casket. Another casket, stored on an upper level, was rotted with fluid stains on the ground below.

There were still nameplates on the marble wall, one of which had long ago dropped to the floor. There is still a note written in love from a son to his father.

It appears no one has been buried there since about 2002. Efforts to reach relatives of Booth were unsuccessful, as were efforts to immediately find family members of those buried there.

Bessemer police and city authorities said they were made aware of the problems at Memorial Mound this week. They visited the facility Wednesday afternoon and, after seeing it, immediately called someone to board up the business.

According to the Jefferson County Tax Assessor's Office, no taxes have been paid on the property since 2009. That is the year Booth is believed to have died.

Police are still trying to determine who now is responsible for the building, and said they have contacted the Alabama Department of Insurance which they say oversees the regulation of such facilities.

"This is one of a kind for us,'' said Deputy Police Chief Mike Roper. "It's total neglect. Some kind of care should have been taken here."



And a video online shows that the skull is now missing from the rest of the body

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Old 01-19-2015, 02:37 PM
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re: Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

Good lord, that would be immense.

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Old 01-19-2015, 06:20 PM
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re: Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

Scary shit....

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Old 01-19-2015, 06:25 PM
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re: Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

That made my right eye twitch. Disturbing and terribly creepy.

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Old 01-19-2015, 08:31 PM
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re: Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

I can't wait to see the full story behind this mess.

Seems the owner/creator died a few years ago, and nobody has been taking care of the place since. Also seems that the owner split town a few years prior, and had stopped taking more bodies... How does a person get a licence to do this? Seems like a big scam from what I read....... supposedly for around 2k you could get a spot in the mound, all expenses included...... Where's the money for upkeep going to come from?

Prime example of why regulations are needed right here. This is fucked up.

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Old 01-19-2015, 08:49 PM
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re: Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

erm, ok. Not really scary I thought. Pretty shitty the owners left people's remains behind like that though. They should get fined for that in the least.

~ no longer afraid ~
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:04 PM
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re: Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

Cool yet very creepy.

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Old 01-20-2015, 02:21 PM
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re: Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

What a strange concept; I don't really understand the owner's "vision" for this place. Sad for the families of loved ones stashed there....what a mess. Now they'll have to bury/cremate the dead AGAIN!!!

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Old 01-20-2015, 11:50 PM
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Old 01-21-2015, 12:14 PM
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re: Surprising Discovery By Urban Explorers

This is why cremation is the best method, you take far less space, or your remains can be scattered and no fuckwit messes with you or desecrates your remains.

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