When idol worship leads to desecration

An interesting article, despite several inaccuracies (see footnotes). English translation below.

English translation

When idol worship leads to desecration

Claude François’* family is going to press charges for vandalism. Located at his famous home at the Dannemois water mill in Essonne (1), the singer’s grave was vandalized Saturday night. When idol worship leads to desecration.

For 25 years, questions remain about who stole Jim Morrison’s bust from his grave in Père Lachaise cemetery. The theft is said to have taken place during the night on May 9, 1988. The story goes that two fans of the Doors’ singer stayed in the cemetery after closing, and then left on a scooter with the 128 kilo sculpture under their arms.

Some time later, Globe magazine even published an interview with the anonymous fans identified as the thieves of Morrison’s bust, named X and Y. Other versions claim the bust was taken down by the cemetery conservatory and is safe and sound in their storage.

Morrison fans, just amateurs

Morrison fans are just amateurs in comparison to Mister R., aka “Rochat”. A Polish refugee, Rochat was 23 years old in 1978. A couple of weeks before, Charlie Chaplin died and was buried in the small cemetery in Corsier-sur-Vevey. On March 2, 1978, during the night, and in the rain, Rochat and an accomplice desecrated Chaplin’s grave and took Charlot’s casket.

The next day, the horrified family received a phone call from Rochat asking for a million francs to return the body. It would take two months for the police to hunt down the guilty party and Chaplin’s casket which was buried hastily by the kidnappers near a lake. Rochat got four and half years of prison time.

The Italian police, for their part, have been working on a similar case for the last two years. On September 8, 2010 (2), one of Italy’s biggest stars, 85 year old Italian television host Mike Bongiorno, passed away. His was buried in Arona cemetery up until January 25, 2011… To the bewilderment of Bongiorno’s widow, his casket disappeared. To date, there has been no ransom request, no clues, no leads. Mike Bongiorno has still not been found (3).

This case, however, has inspired Art Funeral Italy to offer a casket anti-theft, called the “Mike”. This luxury, high-tech last resting place is equipped with sensors connected directly to the police to ensure eternal tranquility.

* Claude François 1939–1978
(1) Claude François’ grave is in Dannemois cemetery, not at his home.
(2) Bongiorno died in 2009, not 2010.
(3) Bongiorno’s body was recovered. Body of ‘Italy’s Bruce Forsyth’ finally found a year after being stolen by grave robbers Source: The Telegraph

2 thoughts on “When idol worship leads to desecration

    1. Thank you for the update Francesca. Very kind of you to stop by.
      Do you know what motivated the grave robbers to steal Bongiorno’s grave? Where they ever caught?



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