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?!


'Zombie invasion' to hit north-east forests
Three forests in the north-east of England are to hold “zombie running” events, where people are chased through the trees by costumed “flesh eaters”.
Originating in the USA, the sport involves avoiding zombies along a three mile (5km) run with obstacles.
Alex MacLennan, from the Forestry Commission, said it was one of the “strangest” events it had ever hosted.
Runners must reach safe zones and keep tags on their belt, which represent lives, to complete the challenge.

Read more here!

'Zombie invasion' to hit north-east forests

Three forests in the north-east of England are to hold “zombie running” events, where people are chased through the trees by costumed “flesh eaters”.

Originating in the USA, the sport involves avoiding zombies along a three mile (5km) run with obstacles.

Alex MacLennan, from the Forestry Commission, said it was one of the “strangest” events it had ever hosted.

Runners must reach safe zones and keep tags on their belt, which represent lives, to complete the challenge.

Read more here!

myeulogy:

Most people believe zombies are a recent phenomenon that grew out of comic books, movies and TV. The truth is very different. This two-hour special explores the real story of zombies beginning at the dawn of civilization and continuing right through to today. The first written reference to zombies can be found in the Epic of Gilgamesh, mankind’s oldest work of literature. A look at both the old and new testaments of The Bible reveal numerous stories of the undead. We’ll detail how Europe’s Black Plague became one of the most prolific periods for myths and legends about zombies. Find out why Viking legends believed zombies were nearly indestructible except by decapitation or immolation. Examine other zombie legends from around the world, including secret stories of China’s Terra Cotta Warriors and the voodoo rituals of Haiti. See how modern science added a whole new twist on zombies beginning with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

City holds Zombie Apocalypse Day to prepare officials for invasion of undead (well, it is Stephen King’s hometown)

With a recent spate of bizarre ‘flesh-eating’ criminals being arrested across the U.S., there have been rumours of a pending ‘zombie apocalypse’.

And one New England town is taking no chances - it has just held a Zombie Apocalypse Day to train emergency services how to respond to an attack of the undead.

Perhaps not coincidentally, that town was Bangor, Maine, where legendary horror author Stephen King lives - so it should be well prepared for a supernatural outbreak.

Looks like fun!


OZombie Bin Laden: Vanquished Al-Qaeda leader rises from the dead in gory new film
In the world of films, reality is meaningless and one production company have decided to raise Osama bin Laden from his watery grave to lead an army of fellow decomposing terrorists in a battle against Nato forces. 
According to the film’s executive producer, Kynan Griffin, the script for the feature-length film was written before the al-Qaeda leader was killed last May.
But once that happened Mr Griffin told ABC news that it was just ‘too good to pass up.’

Oh dear…click through for the rest of the article and a snippet of the film!

OZombie Bin Laden: Vanquished Al-Qaeda leader rises from the dead in gory new film

In the world of films, reality is meaningless and one production company have decided to raise Osama bin Laden from his watery grave to lead an army of fellow decomposing terrorists in a battle against Nato forces. 

According to the film’s executive producer, Kynan Griffin, the script for the feature-length film was written before the al-Qaeda leader was killed last May.

But once that happened Mr Griffin told ABC news that it was just ‘too good to pass up.’

Oh dear…click through for the rest of the article and a snippet of the film!


Zombie, vampire or saint?
A grave disturbed, the coffin opened, and the body of a young girl, years dead, freakishly un-decomposed: Undead monster or miracle of faith? It depends on who’s asking. 
Under other circumstances, being discovered in a state of less than natural rot can be bad news for a corpse. In Germany and Italy such undecayed dead were considered highly suspect and likely to be named vampire and have a brick crammed in their undead mouth.
But the rules are different for potential saints. Where some see evidence of the rampaging undead, and others might see a really just slightly-less-than-funky corpse, the right people saw what has been come to be called “incorruptibility” - which is a good thing if you want to be saint. It’s also a good thing if you are a local church that would like to lure visitors by displaying a dead lady in a box for a few hundred years.
First class relics, or bodies and parts of bodies of saints, have long been among the Catholic church’s most revered artifacts, and these “Incorruptibles” are the best one might ask for, in terms of attracting the curious masses into your church. The mysteriously preserved body of a the particularly pious were seen as an indication of potential saintliness, their exhumed bodies expected to give off a sweet odor known as the “Odor of Sanctity”. This alone was not reason for canonization, but it was a step in the right direction. 
There are in reality, many reasons a corpse might not decay at a normal rate. In cases of a cold and humid environment, a process known as adipocere can transform the body’s fat into a waxy substance resistant to decay. Bodies buried in lime can become saponified, transforming that fat into something akin to soap. And finally, a dry environment can of course naturally produce the kind of mummies our favorite Wild West museums have propped up in corners.
Whatever the cause, there are LOTS of dessicated saints on display, some dating back hundreds of years and others recent enough to have been photographed in life.
In some cases, the term “incorruptible” seems perhaps overly generous. When the devout and lovely-in-life Bernadette of Lourdes was exhumed in 1919, a witness described the body thus:
“The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts… The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body.”
Readers of the above might be surprised to find out that not only was this considered good news and proof of incorruptibility, but that her mildewed and skinless corpse has been on display in a fairy tale style glass coffin for nearly a hundred years, and is widely considered to be among the most beautiful of the holy dead. However, seekers of proof of the miraculous might benefit from knowing that the hauntingly beautiful face and hands seen by thousands of pilgrims were in fact made by a designer of fashion mannequins in Paris. 

Via Atlas Obscura

Zombie, vampire or saint?

A grave disturbed, the coffin opened, and the body of a young girl, years dead, freakishly un-decomposed: Undead monster or miracle of faith? It depends on who’s asking. 

Under other circumstances, being discovered in a state of less than natural rot can be bad news for a corpse. In Germany and Italy such undecayed dead were considered highly suspect and likely to be named vampire and have a brick crammed in their undead mouth.

But the rules are different for potential saints. Where some see evidence of the rampaging undead, and others might see a really just slightly-less-than-funky corpse, the right people saw what has been come to be called “incorruptibility” - which is a good thing if you want to be saint. It’s also a good thing if you are a local church that would like to lure visitors by displaying a dead lady in a box for a few hundred years.

First class relics, or bodies and parts of bodies of saints, have long been among the Catholic church’s most revered artifacts, and these “Incorruptibles” are the best one might ask for, in terms of attracting the curious masses into your church. The mysteriously preserved body of a the particularly pious were seen as an indication of potential saintliness, their exhumed bodies expected to give off a sweet odor known as the “Odor of Sanctity”. This alone was not reason for canonization, but it was a step in the right direction. 

There are in reality, many reasons a corpse might not decay at a normal rate. In cases of a cold and humid environment, a process known as adipocere can transform the body’s fat into a waxy substance resistant to decay. Bodies buried in lime can become saponified, transforming that fat into something akin to soap. And finally, a dry environment can of course naturally produce the kind of mummies our favorite Wild West museums have propped up in corners.

Whatever the cause, there are LOTS of dessicated saints on display, some dating back hundreds of years and others recent enough to have been photographed in life.

In some cases, the term “incorruptible” seems perhaps overly generous. When the devout and lovely-in-life Bernadette of Lourdes was exhumed in 1919, a witness described the body thus:

“The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts… The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body.”

Readers of the above might be surprised to find out that not only was this considered good news and proof of incorruptibility, but that her mildewed and skinless corpse has been on display in a fairy tale style glass coffin for nearly a hundred years, and is widely considered to be among the most beautiful of the holy dead. However, seekers of proof of the miraculous might benefit from knowing that the hauntingly beautiful face and hands seen by thousands of pilgrims were in fact made by a designer of fashion mannequins in Paris. 

Via Atlas Obscura