There's a town in California where the dead outnumber the living by 1000-1

Anish Vij

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There's a town in California where the dead outnumber the living by 1000-1

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A small town in San Mateo County, California is home to a humongous number of dead people who happen to outnumber the living by almost 1000-1.

Dubbed the 'City of the Silent' - Colma is home to just over 1,509 people, according to the government website.

Yet the nickname doesn't actually come from the low population, but the fact that there is around 1.5 million dead bodies in the cemeteries.

Credit: Aerial Archives / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Aerial Archives / Alamy Stock Photo

The reason why there are so many dead bodies in the area is because in January 14, 1914, eviction notices were sent out to all cemeteries in San Francisco to remove their bodies and monuments. This was due to a new rule in the City and County of San Francisco where no more burials were to be allowed.

Colma was then forced to inherit hundreds of thousands of corpses as a result.

"Many went into mass graves as there were no relatives to pay the $10.00 for removal," the government website states.

Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

As you'd imagine, transferring the bodies from one location to another was a pretty hefty task.

"If the casket was in good shape, they moved it with the body. If the casket had deteriorated, the bones were placed in boxes. Remains were required to be brought by hearse on the same day as exhumation. The Catholic Church also required a priest to witness the exhumation of any bodies from Calvary Cemetery," writes Jon Brooks of KQED.

"Condition of remains disinterred varied from 'dust' to almost perfectly embalmed bodies, the latter resulting from filling of cast-iron caskets with groundwater acting as a preservative,” wrote William Proctor, in a 1950 San Francisco Department of City Planning report.

"The smell of death was often present, even though the remains had been laid to rest from thirty to seventy years previously."

Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

"Priceless crypts, tombs and private mausoleums were unceremoniously dumped in San Francisco Bay to create breakwaters at Aquatic Park and Saint Francis yacht club," wrote Svanevik and Burgett in 'City of Souls'.

"The question I get so frequently is: 'Is Colma safe?'," says Svanevik.

"I want to say Colma is safe, but I've noticed since 1970 the largest auto row south of San Francisco is in Colma.

"They have a Home Depot. At one point a portion of Greenlawn cemetery was cut away to make a movie theatre.

"I can stand in Colma cemeteries today and hear a PA system say, ‘Your car is ready to be serviced'. "

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Topics: News, US News, Weird

Anish Vij
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