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Stage 4: Livor Mortis

October 1, 2015 rehadlock 11

The fourth stage of decomposition, Livor Mortis translates to “blueish color” [livor] “of death” [mortis] although it has many names including “hypostasis”, “suggillation”, “cadaveric lividity”, “darkening of death” and “postmortem staining”. Livor Mortis begins when circulation stops, blood vessels become more permeable due to decomposition, and blood settles throughout the corpse. Red blood cells, which are very dense, travel and pool in the lowest areas possible, staining the tissue. This means in a hanging death, discoloration would be seen in the feet, fingertips and ear lobes. Males who die from hanging may also acquire what’s known as a “Death Erection” (or “Angel Lust”) due […]

Pray the Decay Away: Incorruptible Corpses and Other Forms of Natural Postmortem Preservation

October 1, 2015 rehadlock 21

Ancient Egypt is widely recognized for their advanced process of “mummification” which successfully prevented natural decomposition. These purposefully preserved “anthropogenic mummies” have been found in various ancient civilizations throughout the world and were created by exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, extremely low humidity and/or lack of air. Spontaneous Mummification/natural embalming can occur under the same conditions. The oldest known natural mummification was observed in a 6,000 year old severed head discovered in South America in 1934 which was found to be of the Incan Civilization. Most people are familiar with the image of a “normal”, dried up mummy, a body which did not go through the process of Putrefaction due to dehydration of the corpse; However, there are […]

The Most Beautiful Suicide

October 1, 2015 rehadlock 14

Sixty-nine years ago today, May 1st 1947, Evelyn McHale committed suicide by jumping from the 86th floor observation deck at the Empire State Building around 10:40 AM. The 23-year-old woman landed on a United Nations Assembly Cadillac Limousine that was parked on 34th Street approximately 200 feet (61 meters) west of 5th Avenue. Despite having fallen 1,050 feet (320 meters), her body appeared to be intact, even serene, as though she were sleeping. Her ankles are folded in a lady-like pose appropriate for the time, a gloved hand clutching her pearls, the only sign of damage is a tear in her hose. […]

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A Witness to Spontaneous Human Combustion & Other Stories of SHC

October 1, 2015 rehadlock 7

Jeannie Saffin  The only known case of Spontaneous Human Combustion which was witnessed was that of Jeannie Saffin of London, England on September 15, 1982. Jeannie Saffin was 61 years of age but had the mental capabilities of a six year old and lived with her 82-year-old father, Jack Saffin. While in the kitchen, Jack noticed a bright flash out of the corner of his eye. Turning to Jeannie to ask if she had seen it as well as, Jack Saffin noticed his daughter was on fire, sitting perfectly still with her hands in her lap. Don Carroll, Jack’s son-in-law entered the house just in time to see Jeannie in […]

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Cause of Death: Spontaneous Human Combustion & Other Stories of SHC

October 1, 2015 rehadlock 6

Robert Francis Bailey At 5:19am on September 13, 1967 emergency services were called when a concerned citizen walking to work noticed a bright light coming from inside an abandoned home at 49 Auckland Street in Lambeth, South London. When the fire department arrived at 5:24am they discovered the burning body of Robert Francis Bailey, a local homeless alcoholic. One of the responding firefighters reported, “When we entered the building he [Robert Francis Baily] was lying on the bottom of the stairs half-turned on his left side and his knees were drawn up as though he was trying to bend the […]