I'm a PhD student researching the role of mortuary archaeology in contemporary British society. Think of this as a scrapbook of all the interesting links, snippets of information and random bits and bobs I come across pertaining to death, dying and the dead. Enjoy?!

Whilst the rest of the world gorges itself on K-Pop, cool Korean movies and smart phones produced by Korean tech giants Samsung, Koreans themselves have never been more bummed out. With an average of 43 people per day taking their own lives, today, South Korea is the suicide capital of the developed world, despite it’s rampant economy and booming prosperity.

The deaths have caused much soul searching in the national psyche and with 16,000 people per year topping them-selves, the suicide trend show’s no sign of abating. In response, a new craze has arisen - the ‘Well Dying’ or ‘Near Death’ movement aims to help people appreciate their lives and thus reduce the number of suicides.

The most bizarre manifestation of this movement is the rise of ‘Fake Funeral’ services where people are lectured by a philosophical guru, told to write out their own eulogy’s and ultimately climb into a coffin to mediate for 30 minutes so as to experience the afterlife. Vice Japan correspondent Yuka Uchida headed to Seoul to try and find out why so many Koreans are taking their own lives and to experience her own ‘death’ at a fake funeral ceremony.

(Source: VICE)


The Suicide Catcher
In the rapidly modernizing, constantly churning city of Nanjing, China, there is a legendary bridge, four miles long, where day after day, week after week, the desperate and melancholy and tormented come to end their lives. Most end up in the Yangtze River, 130 feet below. But some do not meet their maker. They meet someone else. They are pulled back from the brink—sometimes violently—by an odd and unlikely angel
The bridge rose up and away from the city’s northwest quadrant, spanning the great Yangtze river. And yet, from the on-ramp where the taxi let me off that Saturday morning, it seemed more like a figment of the imagination, a ghostly ironwork extrusion vanishing in the monsoon murk, stretching to some otherworld. It was disorienting to look at, that latticed half-bridge leaving off in midair, like some sort of Surrealist painting. It gave off a foreboding aura, too, untethered and floating, and yet it couldn’t have been more earthbound—and massive. Later I’d find out it was made from 500,000 tons of cement and 1 million tons of steel. Four miles long, with four lanes of car traffic on the upper deck and twin railroad tracks on the lower, it transferred thousands of people and goods to and from the city every day. But now the clouds clamped down, and a sharp scent of sulfur and putrid fish wafted on a dank puff of air. Rain slithered from the sky. There, before my eyes, the bridge shimmered and disappeared, as if it had never been visible in the first place.
Its formal name was the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, and it served one other purpose for the masses: At least once a week, someone jumped to his or her death here, but a total was hard to come by, in part because the Chinese authorities refused to count those who missed the river, the ones who’d leapt and had the misfortune of landing in the trees along the riverbank, or on the concrete apron beneath the bridge, or who were found impressed in the earth like mud angels, two feet from rushing water. Perhaps such strict bookkeeping came in response to the fact that China already posts the highest sheer numbers, about 200,000 “reported” suicide cases a year, constituting a fifth of all the world’s suicides. For a long time, the Communist government simply ignored the problem, hoping it would go away, or maybe thinking in the most Darwinian terms of suicide as its own method of population control. One recent case highlighted just how the Chinese bureaucracy tended to deal with prevention. In the southern city of Guangzhou, workers had been ordered to smear butter over a steel bridge popular with jumpers, in order to make it too slippery to climb. “We tried employing guards at both ends,” said a government official, “and we put up special fences and notices asking people not to commit suicide here. None of it worked—and so now we have put butter over the bridge, and it has worked very well.”

(Source: GQ)

The Suicide Catcher
In the rapidly modernizing, constantly churning city of Nanjing, China, there is a legendary bridge, four miles long, where day after day, week after week, the desperate and melancholy and tormented come to end their lives. Most end up in the Yangtze River, 130 feet below. But some do not meet their maker. They meet someone else. They are pulled back from the brink—sometimes violently—by an odd and unlikely angel
The bridge rose up and away from the city’s northwest quadrant, spanning the great Yangtze river. And yet, from the on-ramp where the taxi let me off that Saturday morning, it seemed more like a figment of the imagination, a ghostly ironwork extrusion vanishing in the monsoon murk, stretching to some otherworld. It was disorienting to look at, that latticed half-bridge leaving off in midair, like some sort of Surrealist painting. It gave off a foreboding aura, too, untethered and floating, and yet it couldn’t have been more earthbound—and massive. Later I’d find out it was made from 500,000 tons of cement and 1 million tons of steel. Four miles long, with four lanes of car traffic on the upper deck and twin railroad tracks on the lower, it transferred thousands of people and goods to and from the city every day. But now the clouds clamped down, and a sharp scent of sulfur and putrid fish wafted on a dank puff of air. Rain slithered from the sky. There, before my eyes, the bridge shimmered and disappeared, as if it had never been visible in the first place.
Its formal name was the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, and it served one other purpose for the masses: At least once a week, someone jumped to his or her death here, but a total was hard to come by, in part because the Chinese authorities refused to count those who missed the river, the ones who’d leapt and had the misfortune of landing in the trees along the riverbank, or on the concrete apron beneath the bridge, or who were found impressed in the earth like mud angels, two feet from rushing water. Perhaps such strict bookkeeping came in response to the fact that China already posts the highest sheer numbers, about 200,000 “reported” suicide cases a year, constituting a fifth of all the world’s suicides. For a long time, the Communist government simply ignored the problem, hoping it would go away, or maybe thinking in the most Darwinian terms of suicide as its own method of population control. One recent case highlighted just how the Chinese bureaucracy tended to deal with prevention. In the southern city of Guangzhou, workers had been ordered to smear butter over a steel bridge popular with jumpers, in order to make it too slippery to climb. “We tried employing guards at both ends,” said a government official, “and we put up special fences and notices asking people not to commit suicide here. None of it worked—and so now we have put butter over the bridge, and it has worked very well.”

(Source: GQ)

The Suicide Catcher

In the rapidly modernizing, constantly churning city of Nanjing, China, there is a legendary bridge, four miles long, where day after day, week after week, the desperate and melancholy and tormented come to end their lives. Most end up in the Yangtze River, 130 feet below. But some do not meet their maker. They meet someone else. They are pulled back from the brink—sometimes violently—by an odd and unlikely angel

The bridge rose up and away from the city’s northwest quadrant, spanning the great Yangtze river. And yet, from the on-ramp where the taxi let me off that Saturday morning, it seemed more like a figment of the imagination, a ghostly ironwork extrusion vanishing in the monsoon murk, stretching to some otherworld. It was disorienting to look at, that latticed half-bridge leaving off in midair, like some sort of Surrealist painting. It gave off a foreboding aura, too, untethered and floating, and yet it couldn’t have been more earthbound—and massive. Later I’d find out it was made from 500,000 tons of cement and 1 million tons of steel. Four miles long, with four lanes of car traffic on the upper deck and twin railroad tracks on the lower, it transferred thousands of people and goods to and from the city every day. But now the clouds clamped down, and a sharp scent of sulfur and putrid fish wafted on a dank puff of air. Rain slithered from the sky. There, before my eyes, the bridge shimmered and disappeared, as if it had never been visible in the first place.

Its formal name was the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, and it served one other purpose for the masses: At least once a week, someone jumped to his or her death here, but a total was hard to come by, in part because the Chinese authorities refused to count those who missed the river, the ones who’d leapt and had the misfortune of landing in the trees along the riverbank, or on the concrete apron beneath the bridge, or who were found impressed in the earth like mud angels, two feet from rushing water. Perhaps such strict bookkeeping came in response to the fact that China already posts the highest sheer numbers, about 200,000 “reported” suicide cases a year, constituting a fifth of all the world’s suicides. For a long time, the Communist government simply ignored the problem, hoping it would go away, or maybe thinking in the most Darwinian terms of suicide as its own method of population control. One recent case highlighted just how the Chinese bureaucracy tended to deal with prevention. In the southern city of Guangzhou, workers had been ordered to smear butter over a steel bridge popular with jumpers, in order to make it too slippery to climb. “We tried employing guards at both ends,” said a government official, “and we put up special fences and notices asking people not to commit suicide here. None of it worked—and so now we have put butter over the bridge, and it has worked very well.”

(Source: GQ)



A Point of View: The biggest decision
A personal essay on a particularly controversial issue by the writer Will Self, arguing that we should accept the right of people nearing the end of their lives to take matters into their own hands if they wish.
This may seem rather shocking to you but I am expecting to kill myself.
Really I am, and if you’ll hear me out I hope to at least nudge society in the direction of considering suicide acceptable when - and this is the important point - the alternative is a slow painful death from a terminal illness.
Why? Well, the facts are pretty persuasive when it comes to the business of British dying. We’re living longer and longer, while our deaths are becoming commensurately more protracted.
Such is the brilliance of contemporary medical science, at least in our privileged realm, that we can be kept breathing long past the point where our existence is anything save miserable - miserable for us, miserable for our loved ones, and miserable for those who have been appointed by either by the state or a private health plan to minister unto us.


Read more here.


A Point of View: The biggest decision
A personal essay on a particularly controversial issue by the writer Will Self, arguing that we should accept the right of people nearing the end of their lives to take matters into their own hands if they wish.
This may seem rather shocking to you but I am expecting to kill myself.
Really I am, and if you’ll hear me out I hope to at least nudge society in the direction of considering suicide acceptable when - and this is the important point - the alternative is a slow painful death from a terminal illness.
Why? Well, the facts are pretty persuasive when it comes to the business of British dying. We’re living longer and longer, while our deaths are becoming commensurately more protracted.
Such is the brilliance of contemporary medical science, at least in our privileged realm, that we can be kept breathing long past the point where our existence is anything save miserable - miserable for us, miserable for our loved ones, and miserable for those who have been appointed by either by the state or a private health plan to minister unto us.


Read more here.

A Point of View: The biggest decision

A personal essay on a particularly controversial issue by the writer Will Self, arguing that we should accept the right of people nearing the end of their lives to take matters into their own hands if they wish.

This may seem rather shocking to you but I am expecting to kill myself.

Really I am, and if you’ll hear me out I hope to at least nudge society in the direction of considering suicide acceptable when - and this is the important point - the alternative is a slow painful death from a terminal illness.

Why? Well, the facts are pretty persuasive when it comes to the business of British dying. We’re living longer and longer, while our deaths are becoming commensurately more protracted.

Such is the brilliance of contemporary medical science, at least in our privileged realm, that we can be kept breathing long past the point where our existence is anything save miserable - miserable for us, miserable for our loved ones, and miserable for those who have been appointed by either by the state or a private health plan to minister unto us.

Read more here.

moshita:

kill yourself at home!

happyfamousartists

I hate waiting for the underground cause someone tried to jump off the platform… happens much too often in Vienna!!!! 

Is this for real? Seriously?!?  


Lindsey Fitzharris of the The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice with the hands of a 19th-century suicide victim, housed at St Bart’s Pathology Museum, London. Electrical wire can be seen wrapped around the wrists. Learn more about the people who died and the surgeons who dissected their bodies in the upcoming trailer for “Medicine’s Dark Secrets” - to be posted soon on The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice!

Lindsey Fitzharris of the The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice with the hands of a 19th-century suicide victim, housed at St Bart’s Pathology Museum, London. Electrical wire can be seen wrapped around the wrists. Learn more about the people who died and the surgeons who dissected their bodies in the upcoming trailer for “Medicine’s Dark Secrets” - to be posted soon on The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice!

Lindsey Fitzharris of the The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice with the hands of a 19th-century suicide victim, housed at St Bart’s Pathology Museum, London. Electrical wire can be seen wrapped around the wrists. 

Learn more about the people who died and the surgeons who dissected their bodies in the upcoming trailer for “Medicine’s Dark Secrets” - to be posted soon on The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice!