With the new European trend of austerity and poverty, living with the dead may not be a choice for some people, but a necessity to survive. While in some incidences it could be the result of mental illness, it certainly seems that for the most part people are keeping their dead relatives at home in order to collect their pensions.
These days people are worth more “alive” than dead. With nothing in the way of an inheritance to pass on to their families, the only way they can contribute is with their monthly pension.
The following are some of the recent incidences of this growing phenomenon. Not only do they show signs of people trying to survive, but also a very lonely trend too, as in some cases, the people are obviously not receiving any visitors to their homes.
Back in October this year, the first example of living with the dead happened in the town of Manresa, in the Barcelona province of Catalonia, Spain.
Police were called to an apartment when neighbors complained of a terrible smell emanating from the home.
Officers broke into the apartment, fully expecting to find just one dead body. However, they discovered not only the corpse of a recently deceased 37 year old woman, but also a far older and decomposed corpse.
This second corpse turned out to be that of her father, who passed away at least a year before.
Reportedly the police had been called to the apartment in the past due to unpleasant odors and they assumed that the father was dead in the apartment, but the daughter had insisted that her father had moved back home to his native Aragon.
Meanwhile even back then, her father was lying in his room in an advanced state of decomposition and she had been living with her dead father all along. Both deaths were determined to be from natural causes and police ruled out any criminal intent.
Traveling now to Italy, where at the end of October this year the almost mummified remains of a 68-year-old tarot reader were found in the bedroom closet of a house in Borgo San Dalmazzo, near Cuneo in northern Italy. The corpse had been wrapped in bed sheets and was sitting in a chair, one hand raised in a blessing, the other on her knee.
According to the Italian media, the deceased woman, Grazielle Giraudo, was known as the “Holy Woman” because of her abilities with tarot cards and spiritual healing.
It was Giraudo’s son-in-law who made the gruesome discovery. It seems that Giraudo was sharing the three-floor house with her son-in-law’s mother, Rosa (no surname given), who used to help with her tarot reading sessions.
Giraudo was separated from her husband and two children, and when no one saw her for some time, they assumed she had been away on a trip.
However, Rosa passed away from cancer recently. In the days leading to her death, many people visited the home to pay their respects to Rosa, completely unaware that there was yet another dead body hiding in the house.
After the funeral was over, and relatives started clearing the house, they made the gruesome discovery of the dead Giraudo, sitting in state in the bedroom closet.
According to the family, Rosa was a person who liked to “live privately”, and theories are that Rosa possibly concealed Giraudo’s death in order to continue receiving her pension.
The latest example of this new European trend of living with the dead also happened in Italy.
Domenico Di Tullio was a former typesetter working for the Vatican, who, it was found out later, passed away on August 4, 2011 at the age of 85 in an isolated house in Subiaco.
His son, 44 year old, unemployed Giampiero Di Tullio decided to seal his father’s corpse behind a false wall in the elderly man’s bedroom, so that he could continue to receive his father’s pension of around 1300 euros per month, which he needed to survive.
It seems Giampiero was also a drug addict and small time drug dealer and his father apparently owned weapons. Because of this, in November this year police were making a routine check of the house and asked to speak to Domenico. The son told them his father was ill and was with his brother in Rome.
However, according to the Italian media, the police then became suspicious and knocked on the father’s bedroom door. They noticed the door had been sealed all the way around with silicon and the officers then broke into the room. While initially they found nothing, police continued investigating and discovered a false wall made of bricks and cement. On breaking this down they found the body of Domenico, wrapped from head to toe in plastic tape and resembling a mummy.
Police also found blood stains and considered the possibility that the man had been murdered, but investigations concluded that 85-year-old Domenico had died of natural causes.
The son, Giampiero, was charged with concealing a corpse together with aggravated fraud for collecting his father’s pension.
Giampiero later told his sad tale to the police. He said that back in August 2011 he awoke to find his father had passed away during the night. He said it was like “plunging into a tunnel” – his father was his only friend and now he was gone. However, Giampiero also realized that the money would be gone too.
It took him a day of mourning and worrying to decide what to do. He sealed his father’s body up into the room and every month continued to visit the post office to collect his father’s pension.
A worrying trend indeed as the economic crisis continues in Europe with no sign of any light at the end of the tunnel, and living with the dead does seem, indeed, to be the new European trend.
By Anne Sewell