Thursday, April 30, 2009

Waiting mortuaries

In the 19th century, before today's sophisticated methods of determining brain and cardiac death, people justifiably feared being buried alive. You may have seen diagrams of caskets outfitted with signal devices, like bells, that could be rung by someone who has been buried too soon. Another way of preventing premature burial became popular, especially in Germany - the waiting mortuary. This was a facility where those who were believed to be dead were watched to make sure it wasn't a reversible condition. The moribund were laid out, often in ornate halls surrounded, by flowers and visited by family members. Attendants watched for signs of life until decomposition began to set in, the sure sign that death had really occurred.

1 comment:

  1. I've linked to your blog -- and this article -- in my post today, Christine! I hope you'll stop by.


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