44 Disturbing Photos Of Human Remains (Real And Simulated) From An Actual Pathologist

1.

View this post on Instagram

This incredible image (from e-medicine) is from an autopsy and to me is a very familiar sight. The calvarium, or top of the skull, and brain have been removed. What you can see here at the base of the skull are perfect horizontal skull fractures caused by side impact of a drivers head when his car crashed into a tree. At post-mortem it's always standard to remove the brain then manipulate the bottom half of the skull to see if fractures like this appear. An interesting injury to the brain caused by side impact can also occur and this is known as a contrecoup injury which occurs at the opposite side to the place of impact. So, for example, a person may be moving (say, in a car) and then hit the left side of their head as they crash into a stationary tree. However the brain injury will occur on the RIGHT side as the brain is forced against that side of the skull: an abrupt deceleration of the head causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull. The opposite to this is if a moving object (say a baseball bat) hits a stationary head. This will cause a coup injury which is on the same side of the point of impact. Isn't pathology fascinating?! #humanremains #pathology #remainstobeseen #anatomy #forensics #skullfracture #coupinjury #contracoupinjury #medicine #medicalstudent #autopsy #postmortem

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


2.


3.

View this post on Instagram

An ecorche from the "Musee d'Anatomie Delmas-Orfila-Rouviere" in Paris, France. (Pic – Atlas Obscura.) This little known museum was founded by Honore Fragonard in 1794 and you may remember him from my previous posts on his incredible ecorches which Gunther Von Hagens has certainly paid homage to in his more recent plastinated works. Soon afterwards the "father of toxicology" Mathieu Orfila added to the collection after he saw The Hunterian Museum in London and felt Paris needed a similar museum, but just like ours in the UK much of the collection was lost to war and simple neglect. It was eventually combined with the another collection (the Rouviere Collection) by Andre Delmas and so the convoluted name was given to this museum with a convoluted history! Unfortunately it's not open to the public and rarely to researchers #humanremains #remains2beseen #anatomy #pathology #specimen #conservation #medicalmuseum #pathologymuseum #anatomymuseum #histmed #conservator #ecorche

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


4.

View this post on Instagram

I’m talking a lot about mummies this week because we had our ‘mummy unwrapping’ on Wednesday. This post: “Ghastly mummified human hand last of its kind”. This image is of a deliberately ‘mummified’ hand which was found in the walls of a thatched cottage in Castleton, North Yorkshire. It was found by local historian Joseph Ford in 1935 who recognised exactly what it was immediately: it’s called a ‘Hand of Glory’ which is the hand of a convict, treated and preserved in such a way that it takes on magical powers. Or at least that was the belief… The preparation of such a powerful tool was complicated. First, the hand of an executed criminal had to be severed while the body was still hanging from the gallows. The worse the crime, the more effective the magic. Once the blood was drained, the hand was wrapped in a cloth (preferably the winding sheet of a freshly buried corpse) and, according to an old recipe: ‘pickled in salt, and the urine of man, woman, dog, horse and mare; smoked with herbs and hay for a month; hung on an oak tree for three nights running, then laid at a crossroads, then hung on a church door for one night’. Finally the fingers were dipped in the fat of a gibbeted felon. Once it was ready, the hand was used by 18th century burglars to make their work easy and safe by ensuring their victims fell into a deep supernatural sleep. Each finger on the hand/candle was lit and, as the thieves entered the property – now illuminated by the glow from the burning hand of glory – they chanted the following: "Let those who rest more deeply sleep, Let those awake their vigils keep, O Hand of Glory, shed thy light, Direct us to our spoil tonight." The magical qualities of the hand would enable the thieves to creep through the sleeping household, take all the swag they could carry, and make their getaway undisturbed. However, if even one of the fingers wouldn’t light they would take it as a sign that someone in the house was awake and leave that property alone. They’d extinguish the remaining lit fingers with their blood – as you do. This one is now in the Whitby Museum, Yorkshire, UK. #humanremains #mummy #mummification #handofglory #themummyshand #whitby

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


5.

View this post on Instagram

Real human skeletal remains used at Fox Valley, Wisconsin, haunted house: A news story recently revealed that the haunted house, Terror on the Fox – which has been striking fear into hearts for 20 years – now features something really unsettling: real human remains. The two human skeletons were found in two old coffins donated years ago. They were in storage until this year. 'Terror' staff members opened them for the first time after some remodelling this year. "When we pulled the caskets out of the storage we discovered there were skeletons in there. They are definitely medical skeletons I mean one skeleton is totally intact," said social media coordinator at Terror On The Fox, Miranda Schutt. 💀⚰ Very realistic but I’m not sure its ethical. Displaying human remains is such a murky area when it comes to education vs entertainment – and even murkier when it comes to ‘edu-tainment’.That’s why I have this account and post stories like this for my dissertation research – I want to know YOUR thoughts! #humanremains #skeleton #halloween #remains2beseen #skeletons #hauntedhouse #humanremainsdisplay #foxvalley #wisconsin #research #bones

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


6.

View this post on Instagram

Last night my event at the Pathology Museum was a simulation of a Victorian Mummy Unwrapping party. In the late 1800s 'Egyptomania' swept the UK and those in the upper circles of society thought nothing of heading to these parties where the desecration of an ancient and sacred corpse would occur over nibbles and drinks. Last night Odette Toilette (scentertainer) and John J. Johnston (ostentatious Egyptologist) plied us with Madeira, Sherry & Gin while they talked us through a Mummy Unwrapping (it was a painted live man). It was therefore interesting to wake up to news that a recent crowdfunder for a 'museum' in London to purchase a Peruvian mummy head was being slammed by archaeologists. I've known about the crowdfunder for a while: Viktor Wynd, proprietor of a shop called The Last Tuesday Society is trying to raise £6,666 to buy the mummified head for his collection. Personally I think he was banking on it getting into the news as a publicity stunt. I mean £6,666 is an oddly specific amount… Read a LOT more in this Forbes article http://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2016/10/10/mummy-crowdfunder-leaves-archaeologists-fuming/#21cdd7051d2d and I'll be talking more about mummies on this account as I'm doing a lecture in Berlin on them in January! #humanremains #mummy #remains2beseen #victorian #mummyunwrapping #lasttuesdaysociety #viktorwynd #mummyunrolling #gin #sherry #madiera #egyptomania #egyptology

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


7.


8.

View this post on Instagram

From my personal @chickandthedead account: I’m really excited that a film I consulted on has released a trailer! ‘The Autopsy Of Jane Doe’ was directed by André Øvredal who directed ‘Trollhunter’ and this is his first English-language film. See the trailer on YouTube and here’s a direct link: https://youtu.be/EcqfNmtsn80. It’s officially out December 21st but I know there are some earlier screenings in the UK. When you consult on a film, TV show or play you can only ‘consult’ – it doesn’t mean they’ll take into account *everything* you say! Still I’m really excited to see it and see how much autopsy technique is realistic in this film. #theautopsyofjanedoe #autopsyofjanedoe #autopsy #janedoe #trollhunter #AndréØvredal #postmortem #forensics #horror #horrorfilm #horrormovie

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


9.


10.

View this post on Instagram

Real human skeleton: Ercole Lelli (1702-1756) was "figure director" at the museum of the Palazzo Poggi in Bologna, responsible for creating the anatomical waxworks there. In 1742, at the progressive Pope Benedict XIV's request, he presented his programme for the institute’s anatomical room detailing the wax model tablets he was to create. These included: wax tablets illustrating "separate bones", eight life-size statues including a male and a female nude and six flayed men showing different muscle layers down to the bone. The Camera della Notomia (The anatomy room) was finally instituted in the institute in 1747. What's interesting about these wax models is that unlike many others they were actually built upon real human bone. The site says "The wax – generally the Levante” type – was diluted with turpentine and then blended with mastic and tallow. For the models, the base was generally made of bones taken from human skeletons, and in the case of full figures, they were supported by a steel wire framework that made possible setting them in the desired poses" It's probably the most interesting thing I've learned since I was in the Josephinum and the curator there told us the Anatomical Venuses actually had real pubic hair from cadavers. These incredible simulacra are a hybrid of the real and the artificial – very interesting. #humanremains #remains2beseen #anatomy #anatomicalmodels #waxmodels #anatomicalvenus #humanbones #pubiochair #Palazzopoggi #bologna #anatomicalwax

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


11.


12.

View this post on Instagram

I love this piece “Are we nothing but machines?” by @art_of_miajane_harris. It’s part of her “Beautiful Corpse” series of stunning close up photographs of cadavers, and depicts a heart with a mechanical valve implant. Mia says, “I wanted to show people items from medical museums/collections that I didn’t think were appreciated the way that they should be. These museums hold collections of thousands of human cadaver sections and specimens that are used for scientific research and study. They are looked at every day to learn but people are so focused on what they are that they don’t notice how amazingly beautiful they are. So I wanted to take away the scientific surroundings, the educational environment, the dust and the grime and the information text books to leave behind just these absolutely striking objects. … People appreciated the beauty behind them. Those outside of the medical profession weren’t pushed away due to their normal mind set of ‘its part of a dead person so its disgusting’ and those in the medical profession finally saw the beauty that they had ignored that had been staring them in the face the whole time.” I’ll actually be exhibiting the whole series in the museum I work in from November 16th and we have a launch night on Wednesday November 16th. If you’re London based come along! Book tickets at www.beautifulcorpse.eventbrite.co.uk and you can see the collection on Mia’s website www.mia-janeharris.co.uk #humanremains #heart #heartvalve #remains2beseen #cardiac #cardiology #anatomy #pathology #pathologymuseum #cadaver #photography

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


13.

View this post on Instagram

I absolutely LOVE this "Halloween on the Brain" by Suedetess on DeviantArt! Some of you eagle-eyed followers may recognise this brain from a post I did a month or so ago about smoking formaldehyde. It seems to be a stock image that Suedetess has manipulated, and the font is quite similar to that on specimens at The Hunterian Museum. This one, however, says Homo Halloweenicus 🎃 I've posted it in honour of the fact that I'll be doing a "Friday Fright" every Friday through October in which I'll discuss possible medical origins of "monsters" but I've also posted it because the brain is a complex organ and so much can affect its function. There are many mental illnesses that people are aware of and then there's less well known conditions like PMDD (a crippling form of PMS which affects 2-8% of women) and also the neurological complications that come with the Parry Romberg Syndrome I've previously mentioned I suffer from. So all hail the brain! A very hardworking organ indeed #humanremains #pumpkin #brain #halloween #pumpkinbrain #thebrain #remains2beseen

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


14.


15.

View this post on Instagram

An example of "gouty hands" from the collection of medical specimens at the @muttermuseum (created by Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter.) He was forced to end his surgical career early because of constant, painful and crippling flare-ups of gout, a medical condition he inherited from his grandmother The info for this image is "Wet specimen of two hands with gout caused by lead poisoning. Mütter Museum Collection (#2201) The image of this object is used by kind permission of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Photograph by Evi Numen. Copyright 2014 by The College" so as well as the condition being inherited I've also learned that it can be caused by lead poisoning? We have a lot of gout specimens at the Pathology Museum I work in and another cause for it is a very rich diet, particularly in meats or fish which contain a lot of purines (substances which metabolise into uric acid). This includes anchovies, brains, liver, sardines and kidneys! Despite this sounding like an odd diet (the offal at least) gout rates doubled in the Western world between 1990 and 2010 and men are 6 times more likely to get it than women. #humanremains #gout #remains2beseen #specimen #muttermuseum #pathologymuseum #mortician

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


16.

View this post on Instagram

AMAZING STORY! "The Hand that Never Stopped Painting"(1998–). In 1997 Norwegian artist Morten Viskum acquired a human hand removed from a corpse. It lay for six months in his studio before he started using it as a paintbrush. The only information Viskum gave about the hand’s origin is that it was from a man who lived to be more than 60 years old. When Viskum painted a picture with the hand he considered it the remains of a performance. At an exhibition in Denmark a gallery visitor tagged on the large painting. This vandalization occurred during normal opening hours. Later, during that same exhibition, the hand was stolen. See his official site http://www.viskum.com/ #remains2beseen #morten #humanremains #anatomy #mortenviskum #norway #viscum #cadaverhand #art #artist #painting #corpse #corpsehand

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


17.

View this post on Instagram

This rather unusual specimen is of a baby’s arm and hand holding female genitals and is called ‘Hand Met Vulva’. It was prepared by Dutch Anatomist Frederik Ruysch (March 28, 1638 – February 22, 1731) who I consider to ber ‘Da Boss’ when it comes to anatomical specimen preparation. Although this looks very odd to modern, Western eyes, Ruysch was part of the enlightenment culture that prevailed at the time, when there wasn’t quite so much of a distinction between ‘science’ and ‘art’. He blurred the boundary between the demonstrative element of scientific preservation and the allegorical, symbolic nature of ‘Vanitas’ art. I can only assume that this specimen perhaps in some way represents ‘life’ with the baby holding that part of the female which gives birth and therefore gives life. Many of his specimens, now around 300 years old, still survive at the Kunstkamera museum in St Petersburg and you can see the catalogue online (http://goo.gl/8M2FTj ). And as an added aside, many of his baby specimens were dressed – like this arm – and it was his daughter who created the garments. #remains2beseen #humanremains #anatomy #pathology #specimen #wetspecimen #conservation #medicalmuseum #pathologymuseum #anatomymuseum #histmed #conservator #ruysch #kunstkamera

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


18.

View this post on Instagram

X-Ray Phantom: Gorgeous medical specimen of a fully articulated human foot set in lucite so probably from around 1940s/50s. Lucite is a plastic called poly methyl methacrylate and when it was first created it became very popular in jewellery, accessories and furniture. It does go by the names acrylic, Plexiglass or Perspex and sheets of it make up our plastic 'pots' I'm the museum. This piece, however, utilises lucite as a resin and is often used for animal rather than humans. You can still buy similar pieces from Etsy and companies like Loved to Death. In my opinion, if I could take every teaching specimen from my collection at the museum (by which I mean those which are more recent, and kept on the upper floors) and entomb them in lucite resin it would be wonderful! No crappy acrylic/Perspex 'visijars' which leak fluid (Kaiserling III) from the joints. No evaporations of fluid through micropores in the plastic, no cloudiness or globules of flat which need to be removed/cleaned and no spontaneous explosions. I LOVE LUCITE!!! Also @wehttamsrom and @ginabond have added that these are X-Ray phantoms used for training. This is great info and makes total sense because BEFORE – once X Rays were in use around 1896 – the techs used their own hands etc. This led to serious physical complications and if I've not posted the sad story of our Ernest Harnack yet I will soon. Thanks guys! #humanremains #lucite #remains2beseen #acrylic #plexiglass #perspex #visijars #specimen #specimens #wetspecimen #severedfoot #specimenconservation #technicalcurator #pathology #medicalmuseum #anatomy

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


19.

View this post on Instagram

My favourite anatomical wax: The Sword Swallower, Dresden, from the studio of Rudolph Pohl c.1900. I'm obsessed with wax models and moulages as I have a few in my museum and I've always used them in my training. Historically they were a great substitute for difficult to acquire cadavers (which had a short 'life span' ironically) so were used for teaching from the 1700s. I love the uniqueness of this though! This isn't the first I've posted and won't be the last, either here or on @chickandthedead which is my personal Instagram. I also post them constantly on my Twitter @ChickAndTheDead #humanremains #moulage #wax #anatomicalmodel #anatomy #remains2beseen #anatomicalwax #swordswallower

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


20.

View this post on Instagram

I know some people HATE the eyeball stuff but I'm suffering today so now *you* have to too haha! I have soluble stitches at the back of my eyeball and I think they're sort of half dissolving now and moving about. No amount of eye drops will help so I think I need a really good cry: any recommendations for tearjerkers please?? 😢😢😢😢 The above image is not the type of stitching I have but it's from a Buzzfeed article called "Getting Stitches in your Eyeball is Surprisingly Beautiful" (See it here: goo.gl/x9Nqjr) Granted the pics are lovely but whoever wrote this has probably never had damn stitches in THEIR eye. The stitches above are due to a corneal transplant which is why cadaver tissue donation often includes the whole eye. As an APT (Mortuary Technician) I actually gained a certificate in eyeball removal – technical term eye retrieval or enucleation – and can do it pretty quickly. I really am a girl you don't want to mess with 😉 In the case of corneal grafts they're secured by sutures made from Nylon only 22 microns thick: that's one-third the width of human hair. (Still doesn't stop them scratching like a b***h though.) Also, people with eye stitches are advised not to lift anything heavy or perform any sort of strenuous activity in order to avoid the eye stitches exploding out of their head. So that's why I'm feeling a teensy weensy bit tense now, having done no gym for weeks. Still, I learned something new today about eye stitches and I hope you did too! Silver lining 😊 #humanremains #remains2beseen #eyeball #eyestitches #eyeballstitches nylon #organtransplant #enucleation #cornea #cornealtransplant #sorry @spookyjulie

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


21.

View this post on Instagram

Amazing picture of the ossuary tomb of Enrique Torres Belon in Lampa, Peru. This is from the blog "Quigley's Cabinet" and Christine Quigley (author) who runs it said "A few months ago, I was contacted by a researcher. Despite the fact that I was unable to provide any information about the catacombs he hoped to visit, he kindly followed up with the above photograph of a rather unusual tomb he toured while he was in Lampa. He writes, "Honestly, this is the strangest tomb I have ever encountered, and the only instance I know of in which an entire ossuary was constructed to celebrate the tomb of a single individual." Atlas Obscura says "Engineer and politician Enrique Torres Belón, one of Lampa's most famous sons, designed and built the tomb in the mid-20th century so that he could rest in peace, along with his wife, surrounded by the earthly remains of the city's forebears. The otherworldly tribute is lined with hanging human skeletons and hundreds of skulls exhumed from the town's cemetery and the crypts beneath the church." The tomb is a replica sculpture of Michaelangelo's "Pieta" PS – I meant to add that Christine's book "The Corpse: A History" is a must read!!💀 #humanremains #bones #remains2beseen #skeleton #skeletons #ossuary #lampa #peru #bonehouse

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


22.


23.


24.

View this post on Instagram

Since last week's #wtfwednesday was a rather un-PC specimen entitled "Gross Dilation of the Rectum of a Chronic Sodomite" I thought I'd share these rectal dilators today. Dr Young's rectal dilators were sold from around 1893 to the 1940s and were described as "a set of four 'torpedolike' plastic instruments varying in diameter from 1/2 to 1 inch and in length from 3 to 4 inches." Their purpose was to cure various ailments such as insanity (?) Dr Young claimed that at least "three-fourths of all the howling maniacs of the world" were curable "in a few weeks' time by the application of these instruments. I may be speaking for myself here but their 'application' to my rectum would turn me INTO a howling maniac…not the opposite 😂. Another condition they were supposed to cure was nervousness yet Young did admit that some patients panicked at the sight of the devices… So that didn't work then. There's so much more great info on: thequackdoctor.com 🍆🍆🍆 http://thequackdoctor.com/index.php/dr-youngs-rectal-dilators/ #histmed #rectum #rectaldilation #chronicsodomite #quackmedicine #rectaldilators

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


25.

View this post on Instagram

A #throwbackthursday: This is one of two 'anatomical machines' in the Capella Sansevero in Naples, Italy (and I've seen these in the flesh, so to speak, when I was in Naples. Such a great place; AMAZING pizza!) The two skeletons, one male and one female, are known as machines although they don't actually move. It's just that their bones and vessels have been preserved so well and they have additions (like the eyeballs) so they're a bit more like 'machine' than man. The female is pregnant and there was also a foetus on display but it was stolen. This Adam and Eve are both in glass cases which state they were made by Giuseppe Salerno in around 1764 and even after all these years historians don't know exactly how the vessels were preserved. It's thought that mercury was included in the injected substance which then hardened (as that was common in corrosion casts at the time) and the metallic element may be why they are called 'machines'. However another theory is that they’re real skeletons wrapped in beeswax, iron wire, and silk. Either way they are astounding to look at. #humanremains  #remains2beseen #anatomy #pathology  #specimen #conservation #medicalmuseum #pathologymuseum  #anatomymuseum #histmed #conservator #naples #anatomicalmachines #tbt

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


26.

View this post on Instagram

As part of my ongoing posts about my Parry-Romberg Syndrome I mentioned I had a CT scan in preparation for surgery next week. The above isn’t my head (thank god!) but I’ve always just really liked this image which is supposed to be of brains but looks like screaming faces. It’s actually an MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) as opposed to a CT or CAT scan (Computerised Axial Tomography). A CT is better for viewing bone – which is what my surgeon wanted to check – whereas an MRI is better for soft tissues such as tendon/ligament injuries and tumours. Other differences are that a CT scan emits radiation whereas an MRI doesn’t, however if you have metal in you, and even sometimes tattoos, they can interfere with MRIs. There’s also a cost difference and a time difference: CTs are usually quicker. Enjoy the terrifying image of these heads and hopefully I’ll be able to get hold of my own scan to post it! (PS I’ve used Tineye and Google Image Search for this and can’t find its origins) #humanremains #remains2beseen #parryrombergsyndrome #ctscan #mriscan #medicine #pathology #pathologytechnician

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


27.

View this post on Instagram

I love this image of the central nervous system (CNS) which has been dissected at post-mortem. You can see the brain is still attached to the spinal cord and all the nerves are present. This is what controls us and it’s so delicate – it’s scary to think of how complex and fragile we are! In humans the spinal cord is broadly separated into three sections, just like the vertebrae/vertebral column/spine which protects it: Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar. Post-mortem, we sometimes need to remove the CNS just like this but I have to say I’m thankful it only happened once in my career because it is FIDDLY! It can be done from the front (anteriorly) if the deceased has had an autopsy, and autopsy or not it can be done from behind (posteriorly). The procedure is usually carried out to check for trauma and in both cases you’d use the oscillating electric saw with a special ‘vertebra blade’ (if you have one); it’s more wedge-shaped rather than a complete circle which is what we use on heads. (Not sure where image originated – did a search and there were so many!) #humanremains #remains2beseen #anatomy #pathology #postmortem #autopsy #autopsytechnician #mortuarytechnician #mortician

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


28.

View this post on Instagram

Here is a hydrocephalic child by Jack Burman. Instagram just will NOT let me post my original info about this and I realised why! Jack Burman's site is a BLOCKED LINK. Have a Google and find it. The specimen is from the Charité Museum in Berlin. It shows hydrocephalus, a condition which used to be referred to as 'water on the brain' but it's not an excess of water which causes it, it's cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We all have this clear watery fluid to act as a cushion for our cortex but in hydrocephaly there is too much. Since the bones of babies' heads are not ossified (think of the soft fontanelle in the middle) the excess CSF can cause deformities like this and I have several skeletons displaying the condition in my pathology collection. However, in the West it's very easily treated with a simple 'shunt' – a thin piece of tubing surgically implanted into the brain which runs down to somewhere like the abdomen to drain off the fluid. #humanremains #remains2beseen

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


29.


30.

View this post on Instagram

A radio clip from my personal @chickandthedead account: Recently I was on BBC Radio 3 with @morbidanatomy's founder Joanna Ebenstein discussing the anatomical Venus in general and her new, beautiful book on the topic. They've distilled our chat down into a handy clip so have a listen to this for a few minutes if you're interested: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03z7xv1  These incredible models, some of which contain the head hair, eyelashes and even pubic hair of cadavers, have featured on my site before – I’ve seen some in La Specola, Florence (where the above is from) and in the Josephinum, Vienna but I still have a lot more touring to do to take them all in! #anatomy #mortician #hair #pubichair #wax #eyelashes #anatomicalvenus #waxmodel #bbc #bbcradio #bbcradio3 #morbidanatomy #histmed #dissection

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


31.

View this post on Instagram

*Two of Two* The Sator or Rotas Square is a four-times palindrome, and some people have attributed magical properties to it, considering it one of the broadest magical formulas in the Western world. An article about this square from The Saint Louis Medical and Surgical Journal vol. 76, reports that palindromes were viewed as being immune to tampering by the devil, who would become confused by the repetition of the letters, and hence their popularity in magical use. This item therefore may have been used in necromancy: magic which requires deceased body parts. Necromancy obviously has quite negative connotations but perhaps this was used for good. It has reportedly been used in folk magic for various purposes, including putting out fires, removing jinxes and fevers, to protect cattle from witchcraft, and against fatigue when traveling. It is sometimes claimed it must be written upon a certain material, or else with a certain type of ink to achieve its magical effect, and perhaps this particular spell insisted it was carved onto a skull for more potency. I will hopefully be doing a lecture on Necromancy in London this autumn! #humanremains #remains2beseen #skull #skulls #humanskull #satorskull #satorsquare #rotassquare #palindrome #occult #anatomy #osteology #necromancy #folkmagic

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


32.

View this post on Instagram

*One of Two* This 16th/17th century skull is engraved with what is known as a Sator Square or Quader (cuboid). The square contains a Latin palindrome featuring the words SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS written in such a formation that they can be read top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, and right-to-left. One theory is that the words roughly translate as “the farmer uses his plough as his form of work.” Although not a very impressive sentence it is grammatical: it can be read up, down, backwards and forwards. When written the opposite way (i.e. with ROTAS at the top) it’s known as a Rotas Square. It’s not just engraved into human remains! The earliest dateable Sator Square was found in the ruins of Pompeii, which was buried in the ash of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Examples may be found carved on stone tablets or pressed into clay worldwide: UK, Italy, France, Portugal and more. It does have some occult significance which I’ll explain in the next post. (If you like it you can buy a pendant from @killstarco and amazing Venetian jewellers Codognato have recreated it as a ring too. You can see it in one of my tweets: https://goo.gl/lKOv7i #humanremains #remains2beseen #skull #skulls #humanskull #satorskull #satorsquare #rotassquare #palindrome #occult #anatomy #osteology #killstar #codognato

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


33.

View this post on Instagram

(2/2) Contrary to the last image, this one is not real but made of wax. It is, in fact, part of the wonderful Anatomical Venus I saw in The Josephinum in Vienna (The picture is by Joanna Ebenstein of @morbidanatomy). You can see the similarity in these two images; the fantastic effort that went into creating these teaching models. As soon as I saw this breast reflected back I felt like I was back in the autopsy room even though she was made of wax. In some circumstances, cadaver analogues (papier mache, syndavers, wax models and virtual reality) can be useful but only if used in conjunction with the real thing. (if this gets removed because of nipples I'll be furious) #remains2beseen #anatomicalmodel #waxmodel #anatomicalvenus #josephinum #vienna #austria #morbidanatomy

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


34.

View this post on Instagram

'The Stone Baby': Lithopaedion The rare medical phenomenon of The Stone Baby results from a process that protects a woman after a failed pregnancy. When a fertilized egg attaches anywhere outside the uterus (e.g. an abdominal or ectopic pregnancy), the foetus may begin to grow but cannot survive. Under very rare conditions the miscarried foetus is neither expelled nor reabsorbed. Instead, it calcifies—effectively turning to “stone” as the tissues die and dehydrate—which protects the mother from infection. Lithopaedions have been mistaken for benign tumors or ignored by mothers who may not even have known they’d been pregnant. In one case, surgeons found a stone baby in a 76-year-old woman who had apparently been carrying it for 50 years. We have a lithopaedion in our collection but it's a calf not a human. As this is a human remains account I found a human lithopaedion image from Reuters but I may take a picture of ours when I'm back in work, as a comparison for you #humanremains #remains2beseen #pregnancy #miscarriage #lithopaedion #stonebaby

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


35.


36.

View this post on Instagram

Petechial haemorrhages from hanging. Hanging is described as “…a form of ligature strangulation in which the pressure of the ligature on the neck is produced by the weight of the body itself.” This means that it need not necessarily be from a high point of suspension and in fact there are several different ways in which hanging can occur. When considering a typical hanging death, most people will picture bulging eyes and protruding tongue. These are peri-mortem consequences of hanging, but only usually from a low point. The mechanism which causes these characteristics is asphyxia or suffocation and that is why they are known as florid ("red" or "flushed") asphyxial changes. They usually include congestion of the face (which is the redness of the skin caused by blood in the capillaries being unable to drain back to the heart), oedema of the face (which is the swelling caused by excess fluid being forced out of the veins), cyanosis (a blueness caused by de-oxygenated blood in the congested venous system – the congestion and cyanosis together are what can make the face appear purple) and petechial haemorrhages (which are tiny pinpoint bleeds caused by blood being forced out of the small vessels, particularly in the delicate skin in and around the eyes, pictured). With this in mind it should now be clear why the eyes and tongue may protrude with the pressure of all this excess fluid. Death will take around 10-20 minutes which is ample time for post-mortem changes to occur. As mentioned earlier, this mechanism tends to be from a LOW-point hanging and can include such sad instances as unsupervised children becoming entangled in safety harnesses or toys hanging from cribs; and suicides carried out via attachment to a door knob, kneeling and simply leaning forward. There is another type of hanging which I'll discuss in a future post. (Image from Diary of a Medical Scientist) #humanremains #remains2beseen #forensics #forensicscience #hanging #ligature

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


37.

View this post on Instagram

Modern post-mortem photography – Wonderful image by photographer Sue Fox. http://www.art.mmu.ac.uk/profile/sfox (Used with her permission). I've chosen this image of a decomposed decedent out of many images from her book (which is now a collectors item and can be found for around £1000 in some places) to illustrate the reality of what some people consider a 'glam' job because of what's known as the CSI effect. This is one of many images shot by Sue in a Manchester hospital from 1993-1997. She had permission as they were specifically research bodies and these pictures are publicly accessible and have been exhibited. Channel 4 filmed her there for the TV series 'Vile Bodies' too. I remember the series – it was amazing and I even bought the accompanying book as it featured other artists such as Joel-Peter Witkin. As I write my own book 'Past Mortems', released Spring 2017, my aim is to allow the public a more realistic view of mortuary work, show that the media often portray us in a negative light (or misinterpret us) and explain why sometimes I use the word 'mortician' and sometimes 'APT' etc. I've written for the Guardian in the past about why we all need to consider Death & Decay so expect a lot of academic and fun projects along those lines soon… #humanremains #autopsy #postmortem #photography #suefox #remains2beseen #death #csi #csieffect #mortician #APT #pathassistant

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


38.

View this post on Instagram

Okay, I know some of you may not like this image (some people are very funny about eyes) and if that’s the case then ignore the picture but read the interesting facts below! This wikicommons pic is a live patient receiving a Vitrectomy which is surgery to remove some or all of the vitreous humor from the eye. This isn’t a surgery page, it’s all about human remains and post-mortems so why am I showing you this? It’s because we use a very similar process, at autopsy, to remove the jelly-like clear vitreous humour from the eyes of the deceased if it needs to be tested further – and the process looks just like this. The result of us sliding the needle of the syringe in is that you can actually see it going into the eyeball, horizontally, behind the pupil. We then use the syringe to suck the vitreous out and send it for testing. Vitreous humour is very stable (unlike the more fluid aqueous humour of the eye which is often replenished) so it means that anything ‘foreign’ which has ended up in it – whether it be drugs, floaters or blood from a vitreous haemorrhage – will stay in it. It resists putrefaction longer than other body fluids and can even be examined after the deceased has been embalmed. It can be harvested up to 4 days after death. Even more interesting, levels of chemicals in the jelly, particularly potassium, denature at a specific rate so vitreous composition has been used in many tests to pin-point cause of death. Much more research does need to be done but it’s worth knowing that as an APT or pathology technician in the UK, this is a very common procedure and something which generates a lot of information for the pathologist and toxicologist #humanremains #remains2beseen #autopsy #postmortem #vitreous #vitreoushumor #vitrectomy #eyesurgery #toxicology #timeofdeath #pathassistant #pathology #pathologytechnician

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


39.

View this post on Instagram

According to a new article in Forbes magazine, Aztecs used real skulls to make masks. This image, used with the permission of Corey Ragsdale, shows a skull mask from Tenochtitlán, Mexico. An Aztec-style chert knife has been placed in the nose, and the arresting eyes are made from shell and pyrite. Eight masks made from human skulls were found at a temple in Tenochtitlán, Mexico, over three decades ago. Their purpose and origins have always been somewhat mysterious, but a new archaeological analysis suggests that these morbid masks may have been made from slain warriors and other elite members of ancient Aztec society. The temple was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war and the sun, and archaeologists have found abundant evidence of human ritual sacrifice there, suggesting this practice was key to Aztec religion. Human sacrifice included beheading, extraction of the heart, throwing people into fires, and fights to the death. But the handful of skull masks are unusual, even in the context of ritual sacrifice. Corey Ragsdale of the University of Montana says, "The masks in question are “decorative headpieces made from human skulls that would have been worn over the face or as part of a headdress,” Ragsdale and colleagues write. The skulls have been heavily modified to create interesting looking objects: the back portion of the cranium was removed, they were decorated with dye, and some had inlays in the eyes and chert blades placed in the nose." The full article is here if you'd like to see it – I've shortened the link for ease: http://goo.gl/X9W92R #remains2beseen #humanremains #archaeology #sacrifice #aztecs #aztecmasks #ritualsacrifice

A post shared by Carla Valentine (@past_mortems) on


40.


41.


42.


43.


44.

TC mark

Related

More From Thought Catalog

blog comments powered by Disqus