Nobody can cheat death, but for thousands of years, humans have tried to elude decomposition. Whether we’re saving our bodies for the afterlife or time traveling to a better future, peoples throughout history have gone to astounding lengths to preserve their mortal remains.
Here are five fascinating ways human corpses have defied the natural process of decay.
Girolamo Segato (Do not Google this guy’s other work if you aren’t fond of dead babies. Yuck.) was an Italian anatomist in around 1800, he discovered a method of artificial petrifaction. According to a contemporary of his American surgeon Valentine Mott, Segato “had discovered a chemical process by which he could actually petrify, in very short time, every animal substance, preserving permanently, and with minute accuracy, its form and internal texture, and in such a state of stony hardness that it could be sawed into slabs and elegantly polished!”
Segato, fearing that his methods would be stolen, destroyed all his notes about how he achieved this feat before dying unexpectedly at 44. He took his secrets with him. Despite many tests on the petrified remains, may of which are housed in the Museum of the Department of Anatomy in Florence, modern science has no idea how he did it.