Every time I visit a graveyard I'm curious to know what the bodies of the dead look like in their coffins. I would love to see an exhumed corpse of someone who had been dead for a long time, like 50 or 100 years. Would the remains be skeletal? Also, would the clothing they were buried in be intact? There are some obscure old graveyards in my area and I could dig one of the graves (of someone who is too old to have any surviving relatives) and post pics. Anyone ever done this?
A lot of variables here.
If the embalming job was done well with a
fresh cadaver with nothing like a car accident or dismemberment then the body should be in excellant shape.Clothes should also be in surprising shape.
Now this is if the casket has been put in a vault.
Lower a casket into the dirt and it's adifferent ballgame.
You also have other factors like is the vault sealed?
Sealed meaning an inner liner put in the vault made of various types of material and a rubber compound to seal the top of the vault to the main body of the vault.
Now if yer talking an old school burial in a wooden box with no embalming that is say 80 years old then you'll have nothing but bones.
Take my word you do NOT ever want to smell a cadaver that's been uncorked after 60 years.
|He Hate Me|
^What this guy said. Anything embalmed well and in a vault will hold up well over time. Anything just in coffin, not so much. I did landscaping at a cemetery when I was in high school and I remember having to help pick up some really old bones that had been dug out of a grave by groundhogs. Turns out there really was a reason we were supposed to kill those bastard rodents.
I saw something about this in an exhibit at the local science museum one summer when I worked as a day camp counselor. The only thing I remember is that the maggots start eating just about everything but the bones after about 2 to 4 weeks.
thats what i used to think because of cost, etc, but i feel that my body belongs back to the earth and decomposition is just part of a cycle. still undecided.
yeah, i'm undecided too. what about the rapture. can we get into heaven without our bodies?
then, i've read that a sealed vault actually keeps all the bacterium inside so you actually have a bigger gooey liquified mess.
the exception is if you clean out the insides of the body, embalm then seal, but as pointed out, the seal will eventually break.
the best preservation i've heard of are of the japanese monks who are holed up in a cave for years eating arsenic and tea and nothing else, or some story like that, and they sealed in the hole to die. they are still well preserved after years. Here's more info from Wikipedia:
Sokushinbutsu (即身仏) were Buddhist monks or priests who caused their own deaths in a way that resulted in their mummification. This practice reportedly took place almost exclusively in northern Japan around the Yamagata Prefecture. It is believed that many hundreds of monks tried, but only between 16 and 24 such mummifications have been discovered to date. The practice is not advocated or practiced today by any Buddhist sect.
"For 1,000 days (a little less than three years) the priests would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat. They then ate only bark and roots for another thousand days and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, normally used to lacquer bowls.
This caused vomiting and a rapid loss of bodily fluids, and most importantly, it made the body too poisonous to be eaten by maggots. Finally, a self-mummifying monk would lock himself in a stone tomb barely larger than his body, where he would not move from the lotus position. His only connection to the outside world was an air tube and a bell. Each day he rang a bell to let those outside know that he was still alive.
When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed. After the tomb was sealed, the other monks in the temple would wait another 1,000 days, and open the tomb to see if the mummification was successful.
If the monk had been successfully mummified, they were immediately seen as a Buddha and put in the temple for viewing. Usually, though, there was just a decomposed body. Although they were not viewed as a true Buddha if they were not mummified, they were still admired and revered for their dedication and spirit.
As to the origin of this practice, there is a common suggestion that Shingon school founder Kukai brought this practice from Tang China as part of secret tantric practices he learned, and that were later lost in China.
The practice was satirized in the story "The Destiny That Spanned Two Lifetimes" by Ueda Akinari, in which such a monk was found centuries later and resuscitated. The story appears in the collection Harusame Monogatari."