Photography was still relatively new in the Victorian era, and the difficulty in staying still long enough for a high quality photograph – and the extremely high price of a painted portrait, meant that many Victorians would have a photograph taken of a loved one after they died as a memento. This practice (Memento mori) also meant that photographs could be sent to distant relatives who may never have met a young child who died. It was not uncommon for members of the family to pose with the dead in a kind of macabre family portrait. Pictured to the left and below, are authentic post-mortem photographs taken for this purpose.
|Thomas Edison's Death Mask|
Thomas Edison, the well known inventor who perfected the modern light bulb, was friends with Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, and considered to be a father of modern assembly lines. As Edison lay daying, Ford convinced his son, Charles, to fill a bottle with Edison’s dying breath. Charles complied by bottling some of the air in the room. The whereabouts of the bottle is unknown. Pictured above is Edison’s death mask.
erection, technically a priapism, observed in the corpses of human males who have been executed, particularly by hanging. The phenomenon has been attributed to pressure on the cerebellum created by the noose. Death by hanging, whether an execution or a suicide, has been observed to affect the genitals of both men and women. In women, the labia will become engorged and there may be a discharge of blood from the vagina. In men, “a more or less complete state of erection of the penis, with discharge of urine, of mucus, or of the prostatic fluid, is a frequent occurrence … present in one case in three.” Other causes of death may also result in these effects, including fatal gunshot wounds to the brain, damage to major blood vessels, or violent death by poisoning. Forensically, a postmortem erection is an indicator that death was likely swift and violent.
The Discovery In Tuscany of a Witch's Graveyard
(September 25, 2011)
|Macabre: Archaelogists |
believe this is the skeleton
of a woman who was t
hought to be a witch
The grim discovery was made during a dig on what is thought to be a 'witches graveyard' after another woman's skeleton was found surrounded by 17 dice - a game which women were forbidden from playing 800 years ago.
Experts say they believe the women are aged around 25 - 30 years old and were found buried in a simple shallow grave in the ground with no coffin or shroud.
The macabre remains were found during a dig close to the sea at Piombino near Lucca in Italy's Tuscany region and the woman had seven nails through her jaw as well as another 13 nails surrounding her skeleton.
'She was buried in bare earth, not in a coffin and she had no shroud around her either, intriguingly other nails were hammered around her to pin down her clothes.
'This indicates to me that it was an attempt to make sure the woman even though she was dead did not rise from the dead and unnerve the locals who were no doubt convinced she was a witch with evil powers', claims archaeologist Alfonso Forgione, from L'Aquila University, who is leading the dig.