“Discover the world through its most overlooked record…its cemeteries,” the writer Jessica Ferri encourages us, tantalizingly. Her series, Dearly Departed, began as an Instagram account documenting her global exploration of cemeteries and morphed into a television pilot two years ago with a first episode shot at Green-Wood Cemetery. Since then, she started a family and and sold the rights to her book, Dearly Departed: New York, to Globe Pequot Press with a projected release date of 2020.

Ferri, whose writing has been in The New Yorker, NPR, The Economist, and more, launched a Kickstarter campaign to finally complete that pilot episode. Donors to the campaign will get enticing rewards, like private and group tours of Green-Wood Cemetery led by Ferri, tickets to the screening of the television series, and more. Ferri has also written for us a guide to her picks for the weirdest tombs and mausoleums at Green-Wood cemetery, sharing the fascinating stories of some of the oddest to be buried in the Brooklyn landmark.

Check out what Ferri has to say about these five tombs and mausoleum at Green-Wood Cemetery:

1. The Niblo Mausoleum

Nestled into the hills surrounding Crescent Water lake at Green-Wood Cemetery you’ll find the mausoleum of William Niblo, guarded by two rather perturbed looking lions. The Niblo Mausoleum is undoubtedly one of the prettiest sights at Green-Wood. But the Niblo Mausoleum was once host to one of the most scandalous parties in Brooklyn.

William Niblo was a theater impresario, the owner of Niblo’s Garden, a “pleasure theater” that opened in 1828 at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street in Manhattan. The Garden would feature dancers, fireworks, music, and more. As a prominent New Yorker, Niblo purchased and built his mausoleum at Green-Wood well before his earthly demise in 1878. Recognizing its potential as an event space, he would throw wild parties on the lawn of the mausoleum, much to the chagrin of the cemetery management at the time. Today, Green-Wood has embraced Niblo’s legacy and thrown their own parties inspired by Niblo’s Garden.

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2. The Van Ness Parsons Mausoleum

It’s hard to miss the Van Ness Parsons mausoleum at Green-Wood Cemetery because the mausoleum is a legitimate pyramid. Though the Egyptian influence was a big part of Art Deco design in the early 1900s, the Van Ness Parsons mausoleum is a fascinating hybrid of Egyptian Revival and Christian symbolism. Greeting you at the front of the pyramid, you’ll see Jesus Christ, holding a lamb, and the Virgin Mary, holding the infant version of Jesus just next to him. There’s another female figure to the left, probably Pharaoh’s wife discovering baby Moses. But just adjacent to Mary is a friendly sphinx, and there are Egyptian vulture wings that adorn the mausoleum’s doorframe. It’s a beautifully bizarre convergence of cultures.

The mausoleum belongs to Alfred Ross Parsons, a celebrated pianist and music teacher who died in 1933. Parsons was also an Egyptologist and author of New Light from the Great Pyramid, on the geographical discoveries of the Egyptians. So it’s unsurprising that Parsons rests in a literal pyramid, alongside his wife, Alice Schuyler Van Ness, who predeceased him in 1931.

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3. The Bear(d)

This arresting grave, complete with bronze bear, belongs to William Holbrook Beard. Beard was a cartoonist and illustrator. His most famous work is the illustration of the bears and bulls fighting on Wall Street, hence the bear that sits atop his tombstone. Beard died in 1900 but was buried at Green-Wood in an unmarked grave in his large family plot.

When Green-Wood historian Jeffrey Richman discovered that this important New York artist was left without a stone to mark his resting place, he and gallery owner Alexander Acevedo, who had done a retrospective of Beard’s work, took out a two-page advertisement in an Antiques magazine, asking for submissions for “A Tomb for the Unknown Well-Known Artist” at Green-Wood. Sculptor Dan Ostermiller gladly obliged with the Bear, and even donated the work to Green-Wood. The sculpture was added in 2002.

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4. Charlotte Canda

Debutante Charlotte Canda was coming home from her “coming out” party on the evening of her seventeenth birthday in 1845 when the horse pulling her carriage down Fifth Avenue was spooked by a thunderclap. Charlotte was thrown from the carriage and died in her father’s arms. She had been hard at work on designs for the tomb of her aunt, who had recently died. Those designs went into her own grave as Charlotte’s grieving father immediately began plans for an elaborate memorial to his daughter at Green-Wood.

The resulting tomb became one of Green-Wood’s most popular tourist attractions once it was completed in 1848. By the 1860s, people knew “Miss Canda” from poems and songs about her grave at Green-Wood. The gorgeous, Gothic style memorial is filled with symbolism: it is seventeen feet wide and seventeen feet long, for each year of Charlotte’s brief life. A statue of Charlotte stands underneath a canopy of stars, decorated with roses, which symbolize the loss of a young woman. Charlotte’s fiance, a young man named Charles Albert Jarrett de la Marie, consumed with grief, committed suicide a year after her death. At the time, suicides weren’t allowed to be buried in consecrated ground, so he rests just adjacent to Charlotte’s epic memorial at Green-Wood.

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5. The Last Goodbye

Photo courtesy of The Green-Wood Historic Fund 

One of the most romantic tombstones at Green-Wood depicts a husband’s last goodbye to his wife. Charles Griffith bid his wife Jane adieu on the morning of August 3rd, 1857, and set off for work. It was the last time he would ever see Jane, as she died, from a heart attack at just 40. Charles was the one to discover her body upon his return to the house.

The tombstone, designed by Patrizio Piatti, depicts Charles’s farewell to Jane that fateful day, with their pet dog standing on the steps. One of Green-Wood’s most beloved monuments, legend has it that Charles would make frequent visits to his dear, departed Jane until he was buried alongside her twenty-five years after her death.

Support the Kickstarter for the Dearly Departed here

Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of Green-Wood Cemetery.