Fortean Times


Stubbornly incorrupti­ble corpses and a dead man walking



Thai Buddhist monk Phra Thanakorn, 63, risks being expelled from his order for begging, drunkennes­s and law-breaking after being pulled over while driving around demanding money from people and “causing mayhem”. Thanakorn explained that his behaviour was a result of drinking two shots of 40% proof rice whiskey mixed with lemon to “avoid catching Covid”. D.Star, 22 Jul 2022.


A funeral in Richmond, California, ended in chaos after up to 20 armed family members brawled at the graveside. One relative attempted to run another over with a car, damaging the grass, knocking over headstones and vases and breaking a water main that flooded the plot. The deceased’s casket was also knocked over in the fracas, but the body did not fall out. “We sometimes get family disputes at the cemetery. This one went above and beyond… in this case it looked like they had some really bad blood,” said a police spokespers­on. sfgate. com, 11 Aug 2022.


Florida resident Bruce Bleyer is apprehensi­ve about using his loo after finding iguanas in the toilet bowl three times in a year, including twice in one week. Harold Rondan of Iguana Lifestyles, who had removed the lizards for Bleyer, said it was a mystery how they were gaining access to his loo. “We know it’s not the vents… We looked for a little open sewer line around the house. We haven’t found one.” Bleyer said: “After the first time, I said I would never sit down without looking – now I’m not sure if I’ll ever sit down again.” [UPI] 14 July 2022.


In Portugal, human bodies are refusing to decay after burial. Since the 1960s, when shortage of cemetery space became a problem, Portuguese graveyards have worked on the basis of temporary graves. A corpse is buried and left for two years to decompose, after which it is dug up and the skeletal remains packed into a smaller container and reburied. Any corpse that still has soft tissue on it has to be buried for a further two years, after which it is exhumed again and checked; the process repeats every two years until the remains are skeletonis­ed. Repeat exhumation­s used to be rare, but a survey of burials in Porto found that between 55 and 64 per cent of bodies dug up between 2006 and 2015 were not fully decomposed and had to be reinterred. Some corpses now end up being repeatedly dug up and reburied, taking decades to reach their eternal repose, which can be very distressin­g for their families. Increasing­ly, bodies are found to be mummifying, which makes the process effectivel­y endless. Bodies naturally mummify when they dry so quickly that decomposit­ion stops, usually due to being buried in conditions of extreme heat or cold, but this is not the case under normal graveyard conditions in temperate climates, so it is not clear why it is happening in Portugal. Angela Silva Bessa has been studying the anomalous decomposit­ion for her PhD thesis, collecting samples from the soil and bodies, but remains mystified. “I honestly thought I would at least find a relation between the soil properties and the state of the compositio­n of the body,” she said, “and I didn’t.” She is now moving on to consider whether smoking or medicines taken while alive might influence the process. Tristan Krap, a forensic scientist from the Netherland­s, says that he is not surprised that bodies haven’t decomposed after two years, and would expect it to take around five, but admits the process of decomposit­ion of bodies in normal graves has not been well studied. scienceale­, 4 Nov 2022.


Malaysian hearse driver Low Choo Choon, 71, tried to make a police report about a deed to a grave site he owned that had gone missing, but was told that this was not possible, as he was already registered as dead. Since then, his deceased status has caused him problems when renewing his road tax certificat­e and made it difficult for him to vote while he tries to get the National Registrati­on Department to revoke his “death”. “I have been working at a funeral home for many years, but I never thought that I would be listed as ‘dead’” he said., 10 Aug 2022.

Some corpses end up being repeatedly dug up and reburied

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 ?? ?? ABOVE: The Cemetery of Monte d’Arcos, Braga, Portugal, where Angela Silva Bessa (pictured at bottom) found a mummificat­ion mystery. BELOW: Senai assemblyma­n Wong Bor Yang (left) with the legally dead Low Choo Choon.
ABOVE: The Cemetery of Monte d’Arcos, Braga, Portugal, where Angela Silva Bessa (pictured at bottom) found a mummificat­ion mystery. BELOW: Senai assemblyma­n Wong Bor Yang (left) with the legally dead Low Choo Choon.
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