Death is a universal phenomenon which leaves people both scared as well as intrigued. Since many centuries, humans have been pondering about what exactly happens to a human after his or her death. Philosophers and religious individuals claim that only the body perishes and the soul departs to either heaven or hell depending on the deeds of the individual. However, these are just common beliefs and there are no tangible evidences to back these claims. However, forensic scientists and researchers have been continually observing the impact on the mortal remains of humans after death. The human body undergoes many physiological changes after death and some of them are quite strange. Although you might have observed a few changes in the human body after a person’s demise, there are some which most people wouldn’t know. This list comprises of 20 strange and scary facts about death which probably you had no idea about.
1. Bones and Death
According to researchers, humans are usually born with 276 bones, but at the time of death, only 206 remain in the body.
2. A Fact Behind The Decapitated Head
The human head doesn’t become lifeless instantly, after being decapitated. The head remains in a state of unconsciousness for a period of 20 seconds before being officially dead.
It has been observed that the nails of the corpses had actually grown in size after the person’s demise. According to researchers and experts of forensic science, this happens due to the decay of the skin surrounding the fingers. Thus, the decomposed flesh gives the impression that the nails have grown larger in size.
4. Self-Destructive Digestive System
The pancreas, intestines and other parts, which constitute the digestive system of a human body consist of enzymes, which destroy themselves after a person’s death. These enzymes are the same ones, which once helped a human digest his/her food.
5. The Age of A Corpse
Forensic scientists can determine how old a corpse is just by having a closer look at the insect feeding on it. Insects even lay eggs on corpses and by examining this larval cycle, forensic scientists can ascertain the cause of death. Inspection of insects can reveal the stage of decomposition of the body and thus plays a pivotal role in murder investigations.
6. Ears and Death
It is believed that when a person is experiencing the final moments of his/her life, each organ starts becoming dysfunctional and the ear is the last human organ to stop working, after death. Many people claim that when a person’s ears start curling backwards, then he or she is fast approaching death and they have apparently even witnessed this change in their own loved ones.
7. Corpses Turning Into Balloons
After a person’s demise, his or her body bloats due to the secretion of gases and liquids within the body. The bacteria and smaller organisms within the body will continue to be alive, even 24 hours after the person’s death. The bacteria breaks down the cells of the body which release pungent smelling gases, which discolor the body and at the same time leave the body bloated. The bloated body is evident through puffed cheeks and eyes. Perhaps this is the reason why human corpses are often found floating on the surfaces of water bodies.
8. Corpse Wax
Mortal remains of a human body usually decompose fast when placed in moist soil, since the surroundings of the body makes it convenient for microscopic living organisms to thrive on the flesh. However, secluding the body from Oxygen supply may actually prevent decomposition and shun the chances of many Oxygen dependent microbes from feeding on it. Thus, anaerobic bacteria form an outer layer on such carcasses, preventing any form of decomposition. If you’ve wondered why a few dead bodies don’t decompose even after many years, this is probably the reason. ‘Adipocere’ is the term generally used to describe the corpse wax.
9. Decomposition Faster on Water
If you thought bodies decompose and rot only on land, then you are clearly mistaken. Corpses decay even faster when they are dumped into a water body.
10. Erection After Hanging
Also commonly known as ‘Priapism’, this is an occurrence observed in the corpses of men, where they get an erection, especially after being executed by hanging. It is said that the tightening of the noose causes stress in the Cerebellum part of the brain, resulting in penile erection.
11. The Living Dead
People suffering from a mental illness called ‘Cotard’s Syndrome’ believe that they are not alive anymore. The most common symptom is the feeling of body organs becoming dysfunctional. An infamous instance of ‘Cotard’s’ is an episode involving a woman of Filipino origin, who was in her 50’s. According to sources, the woman constantly complained to the members of her family that she felt her body is rotting and she deserves to be cremated. She even expressed her desire of spending the rest of her time at a graveyard.
12. Livor Mortis
This is the phenomenon where many parts of the skin, especially the back, undergo discoloration after death. Since the heart becomes dysfunctional, blood becomes stagnant and begins to settle in the posterior portions of the body, making the outer skin seem purple.
13. The Unusual Death Ritual
The ‘Parsis’, a community in India, which practices Zoroastrianism, have an unusual way of parting ways with their dead. While followers of other religions either bury or cremate the bodies of their dead, the Parsis feed the mortal remains of their beloved ones to Vultures. One such monument where such a ritual is carried out is ‘The Tower of Silence’ located in Mumbai.
14. Old Age Deaths
It’s a common belief that many people ‘die of old age’, which in reality is a myth. Even a so-called natural death is caused only due to illnesses which affect a person during old age. So, the wrinkled skin and strands of grey hair alone don’t cause the demise of a person
15. Burying The Dead
If researchers are to be believed, the widely followed practice of burying the dead, started nearly 100,000 years ago. The earliest humans to be buried were apparently the ‘Neanderthals’, a race which became extinct several thousand years ago. The skeletal remains found in caves located in Israel, Iraq and Croatia back the claims.
16. Doctor’s Writing
Doctors have a reputation of being life-saving angels, but ironically, around 7000 deaths every year are caused by doctors alone. Confused? It has been reported that badly written prescriptions are the reasons for wrong medicines being given away to patients, which many times even prove to be fatal.
17. The Left Handed and Right Handed Pattern
This is an interesting observation, which has left thousands around the world intrigued. Many researchers have claimed that left handed individuals die sooner than their right handed counterparts. Studies have revealed that while a right handed man survives till the age of 68, on an average, a left perishes by around 65.7. A few researchers are of the opinion that the life span of a left handed and a right handed individual could vary by even 8 years, on an average.
18. Most Deaths
It is estimated that amongst the 55 million people who expire each year, around 9.5 Million are Chinese nationals alone.
19. The World’s Only Immortal Being
While every living creature dies, a species of Jellyfish, known as ‘Turritopsis Dohrnii’ is the only living being which doesn’t and is perceivably immortal.
20. Weirdest Deaths
While many around the world have lost their lives to tragedies such as heart attacks, accidents, murders and even suicides, many have even died due to reasons you could least imagine. One instance is that of a Chinese poet who fell into the river and drowned, while he tried to grab the moon’s reflection. However, the most bizarre death was that of the Greek philosopher Chrysippus who died due to laughter. The philosopher got his donkey drunk and couldn’t stop laughing at the sight.
The above facts about death might have scared many of you but these enlightening thoughts about death will surely make you see it in a new perspective!