Sunday, August 15, 2010

Things I Learned While Reading a Book About Cadavers

  • Egyptians used pearl onions to fill out corpes' eyeballs/eyelids. Modern day morticians use cotton.
  • Maggots love fat.
  • Necrophilia is illegal in only 16 states!
  • Your head can hit a modern day windshield at 30 mph without causing injury to your brain - even a concussion. 
  • If falling 500+ feet, a body will travel 120 mph. 
  • Gelatin is actually made with cow bones and pig skin.
  • Besides jello and marshmallows, things that are made with gelatin: nougat for candy bars, liquorice, Gummi bears, sports drinks, butter, ice cream, and caramels. This sucks for vegetarians (like me), or people who don't eat beef/pork (like some of you readers).
  • Thomas Edison thought little people doing shift work lived in his brain to record memories. He believed to remember something, you had to wait until the person who was on shift during the event was back at work. 
  • In ancient China, human feces was used to treat a number of ailments, including (but not limited to, I'm sure) to get rid of worms, fevers, and genital sores.
  • Dr. Kevorkian got his start in the 1960s by draining cadavers of blood and transfusing the blood into living patients. I guess they didn't know the difference and it worked just the same. 
  • In ancient China, placenta was used to relieve muscle weakness, delirium, loss of willpower, and pink eye. Placenta is consumed TODAY to rid or prevent post partum depression. There are even birthing websites that will give you recipes to make tasty morsels out of your placenta. Please see this UK website if you don't believe me.
  • Chinese medicine allegedly even uses aborted fetuses to make pills for blemishes.
  • Dungeness crabs (one of which I ate last weekend) love human meat and will take care of a body in a couple of days. 

So there you have it, folks. While these are just some tid-bits, the book is full of fun facts and information from people in the industry of dead humans, such as researchers, anatomy students and teachers, physicians, and morticians.

I'd like to pose the question: What do you want to do with your body once you're dead? For those that haven't yet read this book and thought about the many possibilities, it's probably a no-brainer (no pun intended?). Most people want a traditional burial or cremation. I want my organs donated for sure, and then I'm kind of toying around with the idea of being freeze dried and used as fertilizer. Sound crazy? Read the book and you'll see why.


  1. I dont want to read the book but tell me why! I want an above ground the wealthy Athenians of Ancient Greece.

    Come on Thomas Edison COULDNT have truly believed that! Maybe that is just the way he explained it or visualized the process. Like when we were in science class in 8th grade trying to talk about what happens when you get sick. Tell me you still dont think about white blood cells as little helpful monsters consuming the unknown virus.

  2. I remember us trying to understand the immune system and autoimmune diseases and saying that macrophages rode around looking for stuff to eat and the virus just hung out on them or something like that?

    And there is a chapter in the book about new options besides cremation and burial... since your body is going to decompose no matter what, I want to be freeze dried and used to contribute to the earth, such as fertilizer to assist new life in growing. Plant a lemon tree and my free dried and pulverized remains in a cardboard box under it to help it grow!

  3. I actually saw a show about eating the placenta! Pretty gross if you ask me, but to each their own.

    I totally agree about the donating of organs. If they are no longer of use to me, might as well try to do some good and help others who can use them. After that, I'm thinking cremation, with my ashes being spread in my favorite places OR being buried like the Jews. They leave the body in the natural state to decompose rather than having all of those chemicals being pumped into you. They are also buried in a wood pine box so it too can decompose. But I've heard that is illegal in some parts as the decaying body can spoil water supplies. That's why I'm probably leaning more towards cremation... all pending my family doesn't get busted for "littering" when they throw me around. Did you know you can also be cremated and have your ashes turned into diamonds?! Maybe if I'm rich I'll do that!

  4. Ha, my birth class leader talked about and promoted consuming your placenta (I didn't but know women who did). When I told my mom about it, she missed the part when I said "encapsulate it" (so you take it like a pill) and thought you just take it home and eat it with a fork and knife!

  5. I don't know if I could eat a placenta - have you seen what they look like? Not appetizing. I didn't realize that was such a common thing!
    How is it possible that Necrophilia is illegal in only 16 states??
    I'm leaning towards donating my organs and being cremated. Being buried alive is one of my biggest fears.