Another possible tomb opening?
I received this interesting e-mail from a correspondent in Norway:
Reading about the repair on Bruckner's corpse made me recall the one time I visited the crypt, in 1986. Me and my girlfriend were heading for Sweden by car after spending a summer holiday week on the road behind the iron curtain (East Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Budapest), certainly an adventure in itself. We now went for a fast return home, choosing the Autobahn through Austria and Germany.
By chance spotting the St. Florian sign, I decided to make a stop to visit the church where I knew Bruckner's remains were laid to rest.
Walking into it I remember avoiding to step on his worn headstone out of respect. After seeing the church, where a wedding was taking place in a small side chapel accompanied by little birds that were obviously nesting and singing inside, we went by the souvenir shop were I bought Nowak's Bruckner biography 'Musik und Leben' and asked if it was possible to visit the crypt. I was told it was not for some reason. By coincidence this was overheard by a young gardener who approached us outside and said he could bring us there unofficially, an offer we unhesitatingly accepted.
Going by the garden behind the church through a small door on the ground level we entered the stairs for the crypt. I hadn't realised all former bishops and lots of other priests were also buried there. We were passing lots of other graves before reaching the innermost room where Bruckner's sarcophagus stands in front of all those all those bones and skulls that were dug up from ancient graves when the monastery was once augmented. Passing through the main vault our young guide pointed out that its layout was an exact, but smaller, replica of the church above with its many side chapels, each one down here containing another sarcophagus for the arch bishops.
Standing for some time by Bruckner's remains I remember that here too, from reverence I couldn't bring myself to touching the sarcophagus. My moment of contemplation ended with some discomfort though. The reason for that, which is also my reason for sharing my reminiscences with you, was the following story told by our helpful guide.
In the 1930's, as young man, his father (or possibly grandfather) and a few of his friends, having spent a merry evening out drinking beer, decided to visit Bruckner's crypt and to bring tools for the removal of the coffin lid. Horrified I asked why. He answered that "they wanted to see how far the process had gone", and that their conclusion was that "his features where still quite recognizable".
So if this horror story is to be trusted, there has been at least one more grave opening than your interesting article accounts for.