Mourning Customs and History

Do the Dead Move?

Experienced morticians know that the dead do move, sometimes in shockingly natural ways, simply due to changes in muscle tension, rigor wearing off, or internal gases. But do certain bodies move in UNnatural ways?

That Bourne From Which No Man Pushes Up Daisies

A small section of my new book, The Victorian Book of the Dead discusses the various names and euphemisms for death, dying, and the afterlife. I invite you to contribute your favorite expressions. Or to perform the Dead Parrot Sketch.

The Victorian Book of the Dead: A Preview

Preview of coming attraction: The Victorian Book of the Dead, by Chris Woodyard, will be available in September. Here’s a blurb and a table of contents.

Vampires Try to Raise the Dead in St Louis

A case of suspended animation in St. Louis brings out a vampire couple to try to raise the dead man.

The Sitting Dead: Bizarre Burials and Curious Coffins

A cavalcade of curious coffins and bizarre burials: standing, sitting, on horseback, in a whiskey barrel, or a brick…

The Corpse Wanted Help: The Horrors of Being Buried Alive

The Victorians feared the Resurrection Man, but they feared premature burial more. Today we lift the lid on stories of burial alive and find the subject seething with maggots of horror. What is it like to hear those clods falling on your coffin lid while you are helpless, trapped….

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