Warning: This video contains graphic images.
Seven miles northwest of San Marcos, Texas sits Texas State University’s Freeman Ranch, a body farm where researchers take fresh corpses and scatter them all over the field to decompose.
Learn more about the science and superstitions about death with these articles and stories from All That Is Interesting!
In the United States, group recognition of death is typically a somber — and formulaic — affair: we wear black, head to the funeral, and watch as life slowly returns to earth…
Somewhere in the back of our minds, we all know we’re going to die. Even further back in our minds, we have a vague understanding that death can happen to us at any moment, though the millions of moments that have already passed without incident may give us false optimism. Surely, we think, we’ll have at least a few seconds of warning before the end comes. Maybe even days, weeks, or months? It can’t be the case that I woke up this morning for the last time, and that the end for me is scheduled for this afternoon, can it?
This is a natural way to think about the issue, and it’s a fair bet that the people in these pictures probably thought the same thing, right up until the unimaginable happened. In an increasingly photographed world, it is inevitable that some people’s last normal moments will be captured, giving a ghostly tribute to how normal everything can be . . . right up until the end:
Class and social stature have been so historically important in New York “society” that the elite have even competed for a place to rot. In the words of architecture critic Paul Goldberger, “It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon the Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the Park, and to sleep with his fathers in the Green-Wood.”
Located in a quiet corner of Brooklyn, it is Green-Wood Cemetery’s natural beauty that makes it such a prestigious place to decompose. By the early 1860s, Green-Wood Cemetery had already gained an international reputation for its grand physical appearance, and quickly became a popular tourist destination. Some noteworthy permanent residents include Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquait, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War general, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers, and inventors.
Today, US culture can be accurately described as one that values youth and fears mortality. A few minutes in Green-Wood cemetery, however, and it seems that death is almost aspirational. Equipped with a camera, I explored the stunning cemetery. Here’s what I found:
To this day the 487-acre parcel attracts history buffs, bird watchers and nature lovers alike. This is what it looks like in the Spring–but try not to let it give you any ideas:
All men must die, but some deaths are significantly better than others. Carbon monoxide poisoning sounds pretty pleasant and freezing to death is allegedly kind of peaceful. Even walking the plank could be a noble way to go, but this list isn’t about nice ways to die. From slow, to strange, to unbelievably embarrassing, here are some of the worst ways to die.
In South and Southeast Asia, elephants were trained to crush, dismember and torture prisoners, especially mutinous soldiers, in public arenas. Because elephants are such intelligent animals, they were able to take directions well. An Asian elephant could kill a victim immediately if that was the desired outcome, but he/she could also draw it out if they were feeling particularly vindictive. Often it would take hours for a victim to die.
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