Tombstones commonly contain the name of the deceased and their birth and death dates. If you’ve ever looked through different stones in a cemetery, you’ve probably noticed all kinds of symbols that are added for decoration. Some are obvious: tombstones for children are engraved with angels or lambs, and crosses, stars, and crescents denote the deceased’s religious faith. But there are manny symbols that aren’t so easily interpreted, like the broken chain seen above.
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Medieval wisdom once held that a golden chain kept the soul in the body. In death, the chain is broken and the soul is freed. If the chain is unbroken and if it features the letters FLT (for Friendship, Love, and Truth), it probably means the deceased belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization that seeks to promote charitable causes and offer aid.
The symbols in this list mostly say “it could mean” and “it could also mean” because, while there is traditional symbolism passed down over the years, many tombstones have symbols because those who paid for the stone just liked them. Read the entire list at Mental Floss.
(Image credit: Flickr user Carl Wykoff)