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Faire-chlaidh: Church Porch Watch: Ireland, Scotland. On New Year’s Eve, St. Mark’s Eve (April 24th), Midsummer’s Eve, and Hallowe’en people would sit all night on the church porch. The apparitions of those who would die in the coming year would come and knock at the door. There was a danger of dying and becoming a faire-cloidh: keep watch or churchyard walker, a guardian of the graveyard until the next person disturbed the service of the dead.

Faire-chlaidh means watching a grave against corpse lifting. Corpse thieves are known as Body Snatchers and before the Pre-Anatomy Act of 1832 they were called Resurrectionists. On Halloween 1828 Dr. Robert Burke & William Hare were detected as murderers in Scotland working for Dr. Robert Knox of Edinburgh’s Royal Academy of Surgeons. Hare turned state’s evidence and Burke was hanged at Liberton’s Wynd. Stories of grave-robbing are called Burker Tales. The Twilight Zone television épisode The New Exhibit depicts Burke & Hare as wax effigies. Traditionally the Deadsafe is placed in the grave and Watchtowers are look-outs built in churchyards. On Hallowe’en people nowadays keep a vigil for the dead by lighting a candle in their homes. (1, 21)

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