Yes, I got quiet. No, I didn't give up (again). Far from it. Over the last year I have taken up a new sport: existential rockclimbing (aka supporting the bereaved).
So, I have always been drawn to the mystery of death. As a child I would read books on murder and ghosts (with tears of fear rolling down my face), and then would ponder the greatest of questions: what the fuck happens after we die? What does it mean to stop existing? What is this thing called death?
Of course these questions influenced my early career path: detective or ghostbuster? I chose the latter merely because I felt it was the more mysterious of the two. Yes, Sherlock Holmes was a boyhood hero. But investigating death (that greatest of mysteries) rather than the precipitating causes of death, seemed like the avenue with the greatest glory, and the greatest for personal …
When my youngest brother Eddie died in 2015, I quadrupled my shoe collection overnight. Despite our inside legs being inches different (I got the brains and he got the height and the beauty), our shoe sizes were fortuitously similar. We shared a taste for converse trainers, and so there seemed to be the tiniest of silver linings in this shittest of events. But, of course, the universe loves to shit where it eats, and whilst Eddie may no longer exist, the remnants of a serious fungal infection remained. So I found myself striken by both grief and athletes foot (ironic as I am the least athletic person there is). Thanks a lot Eddie (or Deadie as I came to refer to him during this period)!
But funny really. Eddie was an atheist and obviously I’m one too. But here, imprinted in the soles of his shoes (geddit) were the …
Consider this sorry yet intriguing tale from the
death of a
window cleaner, who drowned head first in his own bucket:
A window cleaner drowned in his bucket of water after suddenly
collapsing while he worked, an inquest heard.
...The father-of-one, of Fowler Close, Scholes, was working at the
home of Miss Bebe in Whelley, near Wigan. She told the inquest: "I
went outside to hang some washing at the back when I saw a ladder
propped up against the wall. "I then saw Mark lying on the ground
motionless, with his arms tucked in and his head tilted to the right
inside the bucket.
...Miss Bebe told the jury she thought Mr Fairhurst may have fallen
while on the ground, rather than from his ladder. The hearing also
heard that the window cleaner had complained about heart
palpitations earlier in the year but had not told …
“The first time it was one prisoner, a middle aged man. He’d already
given up - there was no struggle. He was tied to the bed and
anaesthetised with ether, so that he was completely unconscious. The
Lieutenant showed me what to do. He cut him open, and pointed out,
’Here’s the liver, here’s the kidneys, here’s the heart.’ The heart
was still beating, then he cut the heart open and showed me the
inside. That was when he died.” “I didn’t want to do it, but it was
an order, you see. At that time, if a commander gave you an order it
was understood that it was the order of the Emperor, and the Emperor
was a god. I had no choice - if I …
So this is a story that I saw a while ago that quite worried
me. Apparently 17 year old, Kasia Ber, died unexpectedly in bed, after
being literally scared to death by her mobile phone ring-tone. From the
An inquest in Hartlepool heard evidence from Miss Ber's boyfriend
Scott Wheatley, who said she began shaking when her mobile phone
alarm went off on the morning of 28 December last year. She stopped
breathing soon afterwards. Coroner Malcolm Donnelly recorded a
narrative verdict that the teenager died as a result of an
undiagnosed genetic condition. The cause of death was congenital
fatal ventricular arrythmia brought on by Long QT syndrome.
So what is Long QT syndrome? From the BBC on the
The duration of the QT interval is a measure of the time required
for depolarization and repolarization to occur. In long QT syndrome,
the duration of repolarization (or …
I'm sure you've all seen that there have been more hangings
This time two of Saddam's henchmen received the death sentence, following him to the gallows.
Apparently as the two men dropped to their deaths, the presiding
officials believed one had escaped, only to discover that he had in fact
Now death cannot have been instantaneous for either man. Back in the time of Dick
Turpin, loved ones used to
hang on the legs of the convicted, to help speed along their departure.
But both deaths were quicker than that. However, breaking your neck or
snapping your spine, does not cause instantaneous death. No, these men
died of something nearly all humans die of: lack of oxygen to the
brain. The only other cause of death is swift physical destruction of the brain
(think Andre Delambre in The
Fly or being
vaporised in a nuclear