Strange Deaths

The Childers Claimant: A Drowned Kentucky Girl’s Return

The story reads like fiction: Tiny footprints leading to a river; a drowned child’s skeleton recovered; then, years later, a young woman returns, claiming to be the dead child. Who was she?

Hair Today; Gone Tomorrow: Death by Hair

A shocking catalog of deaths by hair: mustache murder, dis-tress-ing suicides, hair-ball fatalities, cats and rats and poisonous hair dyes.

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.

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