The past week’s hoo-ha over James Cameron's claim that he may have located the burial tomb of Jesus and his family put me in mind of a magazine feature I've tried repeatedly to sell over the past 10 or 12 years, always without success. Though this is an age of interminable record keeping and certifying, documenting, and notarizing, it happens that the whereabouts of the remains of several once-prominent people is completely unknown, or seriously disputed.
Unfortunately, the tomb story is no hook for finally selling that piece, because no editor wants to get 10,000 letters explaining that Jesus' bones aren't ever going to be found because he lifted-off like a bottle-rocket and disappeared behind a cloud, destination Heaven, complete with a citation from the Inerrant Bible.
Thomas Paine, the Forgotten Founding Father and the Rush Limbaugh of his day, was refused burial in the local Quaker cemetery because he turned away from orthodox Christianity and became a Deist. He was buried in a plot for indigents with no more than a handful of acquaintances in attendance. In time, a promoter had the idea that maybe he should dig-up Paine's bones and take him to England where he would build a memorial to the great, freethinking revolutionary.
So he did.
Once back in England, the promoter went bankrupt. Paine's bones went into a warehouse - and that's the last anybody ever heard of Thomas Paine's bones.
Frank Lloyd Wright died in 1959 and was buried near his childhood home in Wisconsin. When his wife died in 1985, it was her wish that she and Wright be cremated, their ashes mixed together, and then jointly interred at the compound they shared in Arizona. Accordingly, some of her followers secretly disinterred him, moved the remains to Arizona, and had them cremated and buried together.