Strange Deaths

Corpses on Ice: The Dangers of the Undertaker’s Ice-Box

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you may have read about the grim German waiting mortuaries, the dark side of those popular Fisk cast-iron burial caskets, people who asked to be stabbed to the heart after death to make sure they were really most sincerely dead, and about the Victorian fear—obsession, really—with being buried alive. It was difficult enough for 19th-century physicians to tell when someone was a lifeless corpse, given diseases like cholera that mimicked death and an apparent epidemic of catalepsy. Yet beyond doubtful diagnoses of death, there was another, lesser-known mortuary danger: the undertaker’s ice-box.

The Cone of Death: More Novel Execution Methods

Looking at more novel methods of execution involving large blocks of granite, buckets of icy water, and the Swedish Cone of Death.

Composting the Dead in Naples

The Urban Death Project is a hip, modern, scientific, and green take on corpse disposal, but the notion of group graves where decomposition is left to nature is not new. In the 1830s an American author visits some Italian common graves and describes the gruesome scene.

“Step Into My Parlor,” Said the Spider to the Snake.

A story from Australia (with photos) tells of a deadly spider capturing one of the world’s most venomous spiders in its web. It sounds implausible. We look at some historic precedents.

Poisonous Kisses: A Valentine’s Day PSA

Doctors want you to know about the perils of poisonous kisses: “In many instances of the customary kissing, there is a great vicious bloodhound lying hidden, ready to strike his poisonous fangs into the very flesh and bone of the unsuspecting individual…”

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