Realm of the Deceased: 40 Captivating Facts About Dead Bodies

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1Ramesses II

Ramesses II

Anybody, dead or alive, traveling into France requires a passport. In 1974, the Egyptian government had to issue a passport to Pharaoh, Ramesses II to transport his body to France for restoration. Eerily, his body also received full military honors when it arrived at the Paris airport.

2. The Cali Cartel murdered so many people and dumped their bodies in the Cauca River that the local municipality was eventually bankrupt by the cost of recovering corpses and conducting autopsies.

3. There is a bog in Florida that was an ancient burial pond and it contains human remains that were buried almost 2000 years before the first pyramids. The skeletal remains were preserved so well that researchers have managed to collect soft brain tissue from the skulls.

4. To discourage intercourse with a corpse, ancient Egyptians left deceased beautiful women to decay for “three or four days” before giving them to the embalmers.

5. Human decomposition begins 4 minutes after death. It’s called autolysis or self-digestion. Blood circulation and respiration stop. Excess carbon dioxide causes an acidic environment, causing membranes in cells to rupture. Enzymes begin eating the cells from the inside out. 24-72 hours after death, internal organs decompose.

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6Sogen Kato

Sogen Kato

In 2010, the mummified corpse of Sogen Kato, thought to be Tokyo's oldest man alive, was found in his bedroom by government officials. He had actually died in 1978.

7. There are no legal ways to be buried in Longyearbyen (Norway). In 1950 they discovered bodies of residents from the 1918 flu pandemic which had not begun to decompose in the cold. Scientists fear the corpses, preserved in permafrost, could still contain live strains of the virus.

8. France lost so many workers during its failed attempt to dig the Panama Canal, that for a time their project's main source of income was selling the corpses (pickled in brine water) to medical schools all over the world as cadavers.

9. After the monarchy was restored in Britain, King Charles II had Oliver Cromwell’s corpse exhumed and beheaded. The head which was put on a stick outside Westminster Hall fell down during a storm and was retrieved by a nearby guard who stole the head and hid it up a chimney.

10. During the first outbreak of ‘The Black Death’ in France in 1348, cities ran out of consecrated ground to bury the dead so quickly, that the current Pope, Clement VI, had to bless the entire Rhone river to allow corpses to be legally dumped in it.

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11Model Specimen

Model Specimen

Carl Linnaeus’ corpse is the model specimen for the human race. In 1959, taxonomist William T. Stearn officially made Linne, the founder of his discipline, the ICZN lectotype for Homo Sapiens, and his skeletal remains are now the benchmark for what a modern human is and looks like.

12. For decades universities and automobile manufacturers have used human cadavers to get realistic crash test results.

13. According to one researcher, ancients such as Alexander the Great were sometimes buried in honey. After about a hundred years, candied corpses were supposedly dug up and eaten as medicine.

14. Before the introduction of the catacombs, there was once a cemetery so overflowing with bodies in central Paris that they made soap with the fat of the corpses and had houses with bones protruding from the rooftops of adjacent houses.

15. In 1983, Peter Reyn-Bardt, confessed to the murder and dismemberment of his wife after a corpse was discovered in the town peat bog. The body was then dated to 1740 A.D. and Reyn-Bardt tried to retract his confession but was still convicted.

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Lenin’s dead body is bathed and dressed in new clothes every year. His tomb is in the center of Moscow open to the public, despite his death wish to be buried next to his wife.

17. The Russians have done such a good job of embalming Lenin that the Vietnamese fly Ho Chi Minh’s corpse to Russia once a year to “refresh” him.

18. When researchers from Texas State University left a human corpse on a 26-acre woodland site to study how human bodies decompose in the wild, they ended up capturing the first image of a deer eating human remains.

19. Doctors still have no concrete idea how to define death. Science has observed “beating heart corpses” that can urinate; their bodies rumble, their wounds heal; they can blush and sweat, and can even have babies. Yet, clinically, they are dead. One method to determine death has won a Nobel Prize.

20. As of 2018, most of the early cryonics companies that froze dead bodies for future revival had gone out of business, and their stored corpses have been thawed and disposed of.

21Cemetery Gun

Cemetery Gun

In the 1880s, coffins were equipped with a “cemetery gun” to kill grave robbers. The gun would be set up in front of the grave with 3 tripwires attached to it. If someone triggered a tripwire the gun would turn and fire in the direction or whatever tripwire was pulled, killing the person.

22. Abraham Lincoln’s corpse was sent on a two-week funeral tour across America, shown openly to thousands. In the course of the trip, the body visibly decomposed, bloated, and darkened. In New York City alone, the body was seen by over 150,000 and exposed to the air for 23 hours straight.

23. North Korean “Ghost Ships” often wash up on Japanese shores full of corpses. They are often always fisherman trying to fulfill government-mandated unattainable quotas of fish to catch. They risk staying out long and straying too far from shore on their boats with unreliable engines. When the engine dies at sea far from help, everyone starves and the boat drifts toward Japan because of currents/wind.

24. The production of Apocalypse Now had actual dead bodies on set, from someone who supplied bodies to medical schools for autopsies. It turned out he was a grave robber.

25. In 2010, during a heatwave Siberian bears began to dig up cemeteries and eat human corpses.

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