Strange Bodies

Miss Tardo’s Poisonous Profession

A game of snakes & adders. She was billed as the Strangest Woman in the World for her immunity to snake venom and other poisons and her inability to feel pain.

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?

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.

A Lost Heart: Napoleon and the Rats

There have been numerous stories—some true, some not–about Napoleon’s death. Today we look look at a Napoleonic body-part rumor: the story that Bonaparte’s heart was eaten by a rat and the heart of a sheep substituted.

Freakonomics: A Dime Museum Man Speaks Candidly

Freakonomics. “Yes,” said the dime museum man “I’ve had a liberal education in freaks. I’ve been right here in Fourteenth street for fifteen years and, take it all together, I’ve associated with a greater galaxy of weird wonders than any other man alive.” He goes on to describe Freaks He Has Known, what they earned, and fashions in Dime Museum attractions.

“A purple flame which rose from the casket:” Spontaneous Human Combustion in Brooklyn

A case of spontaneous human combustion hushed up in Brooklyn, plus two other historic cases, including one where the victim survived a few days to tell his story.

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