10 Strange & Extremely Creepy Things You Never Knew Your Body Could Do After You Die
Do you ever watch a paranormal horror movie and find yourself wondering if any of those tropes about dead bodies are true? Can a corpse really sit up and scream post-mortem? Do carcasses actually turn purple? Well, lo and behold, there might actually be a morsel of truth to these bedtime scary ghost stories — there are some incredibly strange and creepy things your body can do after you die .
While Hollywood definitely exaggerates these effects, a dead body actually can do many cinematic things after it's deceased, from moving and shaking uncontrollably, to letting out a startling moan. How is this even possible? "Different cells die at different rates," Claudia Hammond told BBC. "After the heart stops beating, oxygen supply to the brain is cut off. With no glucose store to rely on, nerve cells die within three to seven minutes." That leaves plenty of time for some spooky sightings. Seven minutes in heaven? Try hell!
Although that means that while some parts of your body, such as your digestive system, appear to go on temporarily living, the rest of your body will no longer operate past that point — and yes, that includes your brain. So if you're planing on haunting your sworn enemy from beyond the grave, better think twice. Here are some creepy things that your body can do after you die.
1. You Can Have An Orgasm
Upsetting, but true: author Molly Roach, who asked a brain death expert named Stephanie Mann if post-mortem orgasms were a thing, and found out that if you electrically stimulate the sacral nerve of a corpse, while simultaneously delivering oxygen to the body through a ventilator, a dead body can achieve orgasm, even though the recipient is technically brain dead. No, I'm not internally screaming — you are!
2. You Can Achieve A "Death Boner"
These are particularly unique to violent deaths, such as hanging or beheading, which require that the person is killed while standing upright or at least leaning vertically. These were historically referred to as "death erections" or "angel lust", and occurs because of an exerted force placed on the spinal chord, which had an involuntary response on the penis, as well as women's labias. And yes, it was accompanied by discharge.
3. You Can Turn Your Flesh Into Soap
There was a special corpse that was buried in the 1880s called the "Soapman," because when his body was discovered, all the fat on his bones had transformed into soap — it turns out water and alkaline had seeped into his casket, activating a form of hydrolysis. So if you want to leave a piece of yourself behind when you die, you could totally occupy your children's guest bathrooms!
4. Your Body Can Reflex
Postmortem reflexes, also known as the Lazarus Sign, occur when a human technically goes brain dead, which signals the body to briefly raise their arms, and then drop them in a cross-like position, as a form of reflex from the nerve pathway that passes through the spinal column. So basically, horror movies are correct, IRL mummies are a thing, and you should sleep with the light on tonight.
5. You Can Give "Coffin Birth"
This is so unsettling. Postmortem fetal extrusion occurs when a fetus passes though the vaginal opening of a pregnant woman after she is already dead, because of the continuing pressure of abdominal gas. Unfortunately, since the body has already started to decompose, the fetus obviously cannot survive and is unviable. Not only is that horrifying, it's quite sad too.
6. You Can Pee and Poop
Did the four-year-old in you just let out an audible snort? Basically, once the part of your brain that controls the muscles that hold your anal sphincter closed die, the muscles relax entirely. This means that the release, combined with any gas produced within your body, can trigger whatever, ahem, excrements are in your system to excavate. Death doesn't look, nor, smell pretty.
7. Your Brain Can Know You're Dead
According to The New York Post, people who have suffered cardiac arrest and "came back to life," recall awareness of what's happening in the room, from detailed conversations to movements — even though they were technically dead. Basically, if your brain remains active after your heart stops, it might understand that you're dead. Spooky!
8. You Can Moan And Groan
Luckily this won't happen on it's own. If force is applied to the chest of a corpse, air will naturally move up the windpipe, and pass through the vocal chords, which can create a moaning or wheezing sound. Now, if a corpse straight up starts talking, you might have actual cause for concern.
9. Your Body Can Change Colors
When your heart stops, and your blood ceases to flow through your veins, gravity will cause the blood to pool and thicken at the lowest parts of your body. If your body, and thus the blood, does not move for half a day, your corpse will officially change colors. Fun?
10. A Decapitated Head May Sense It's Surroundings
According to a 2011 study done by Dutch Scientists who were studying decapitated mice, electrical activity exists in severed heads, for about four seconds. This explains stories told by veterans, who have claimed to see the looks of grief or sorrow come over the faces of friends who have bee decapitated. There may be truth to some lore, folks.
So next time you're watching a horror movie, and being feeling paranoid — know that those emotions are 100 percent valid. And if you're feeling tempted to purchase a nightlight for your bedroom after reading this: you're not alone.