Spiritual death

A classical point of departure in defining death, seems to be life itself. Death is perceived either as a cessation of life – or as a passage on the way to a continuation of life by other means. A logically more rigorous approach, would be to ask “who dies” when death occurs. In other words, … Read more

Famous Last Words

Peter Abelard, Twelfth Century Philosopher:“I don’t know” Archimedes, Greek mathematician, to a Roman soldier while working on an equation in the sand:“Don’t disturb my circles” (Μὴ μοὺ τους κύκλους τάραττε). John Adams, US president:“Thomas Jefferson still lives.” (Adams was unaware that Jefferson had actually died only hours before.) John Quincy Adams, US president:“This is the … Read more

The three dead

The legend of the three living and the three dead most probably comes from France. The oldest manuscripts go back to the 13th century with poems of Baudoin de Condé (Dit des trois morts et des trois vifs (1280)) , and Nicolas de Margival. There also exists a fifteenth-century alliterative English poem version, The Three … Read more

Ars moriendi

Ars moriendi (“The Art of Dying”) is the name of two related Latin texts dating from 1415 and 1450 which offers advice on the protocols and procedures of a good death and on how to “die well”, according to Christian precepts of the late Middle Ages. It was written within the historical context of the … Read more

Exhumation

The digging up of a buried body is called exhumation, and is considered sacrilege by most cultures that bury their dead. However, there is often a number of circumstances in which exhumation is tolerated: If an individual died under suspicious circumstances, a legitimate investigating agency (such as a police agency) may exhume the body to … Read more

The vampire in the machine: exploring the undead interface Ivan Phillips The exploration begins, appropriately, at night. It is 1980, a static caravan in Widemouth Bay, Cornwall. A ten year old boy, on holiday with his family, is watching television. His younger brother is asleep nearby and his parents have gone to the caravan park’s … Read more