Welcome to Death Week!

Death is the great unknown, the ultimate one-way door. No matter how much we learn about physics or biology, the mystery of death remains intact. That's why this week, io9 is going beyond the veil, to learn everything there is to know about death. What is it, why do we fear it, and what does it actually mean to be… » 6/10/12 6:45pm 6/10/12 6:45pm

Powdered Mummy, Gladiator Blood, and other Historical Medicines Made…

An Adam's apple a day keeps the doctor away? History is full of bizarre medical remedies, but few are as gruesome as the field of corpse medicine. Many doctors, from ancient times to modern, prescribed concoctions made of human organs, salves of human fat, and the ground-up remains of embalmed corpses to treat a host… » 6/09/12 9:30am 6/09/12 9:30am

The Meaning of Death: How do we know someone is no longer alive?

At what point does a person actually die? That depends on who you ask. To one person, it's the moment the heart stops beating. To another, it's when the brain enters a "vegetative" state. But a heart can be forced to keep beating; and how dead is a person, really, if she can continue to grow, develop, and even give birth » 6/08/12 5:08pm 6/08/12 5:08pm

Great Children's Books That Look Death in the Eye

Children's stories have been dealing with death since the days of fairy tales where the Princess doesn't wake up. And some of the most soulful depictions of death aimed at kids come from the science fiction and fantasy genres. Except, in the ever-optimistic tone of children's books, death is a mirror for how wonderful… » 6/08/12 4:40pm 6/08/12 4:40pm

The Goofiest Old Timey Spirit Portraits Ever Photographed

We recently looked at the hilarious lengths 19th century photographers went through to keep infants from jumping out of portraits. Incidentally, the long exposure times that would've ruined those baby pictures allowed camera fiends of the 1800s to stage supernatural snapshots. » 6/08/12 2:40pm 6/08/12 2:40pm

A dog spirit by (1920s) Eugène…

Everything you need to know about butts, farts, and Japanese water imps

Of all the ways to die, the most ignominious demise is having a kappa — or a Japanese demon — pull a magical orb out of one's asshole. You can repel the beasts with a burst of powerful flatulence, but you must be certain that your fragrant blast is muscular enough to bowl them over like ninepins. » 6/07/12 2:25pm 6/07/12 2:25pm

How to Have a Near Death Experience

Nobody knows what happens to us after death — but plenty of people believe they've had a sneak peek. As doctors get better and better at resuscitating people who have reached death's door, the number of people who report having a Near Death Experience (NDE) has gone way up. One in 20 people in the United States has had … » 6/07/12 12:03pm 6/07/12 12:03pm

So you want to hang your skeleton in public? Here's how.

We had a human skeleton in our biology class in high school. I remember thinking it was shorter than I expected, but I didn't know how, exactly, it ended up in our classroom. I suppose I assumed grave robbers, which lent a adventurous air to our teacher. But in fact, there are much more legitimate ways for a classroom… » 6/06/12 3:04pm 6/06/12 3:04pm

The 10 Most Epic Last Stands in Science Fiction and Fantasy

If you're a fictional character, death can arrive rather swiftly and creatively. It's your job to go out like an absolute champ so that non-fictional readers and audiences remember your passing and holler your praises on the internet. Here are ten times science fiction and fantasy heroes lost their lives with panache. » 6/06/12 12:15pm 6/06/12 12:15pm

People Who Survived Brushes With Death (And How They Did It)

TV and movies are full of people who suffer "mortal" wounds and then get up and keep fighting for another half hour. (Like Buffy in the Buffy series finale.) This always seems amazingly unrealistic. But actually in real life, lots of people survive apparently fatal injuries, and walk away. » 6/05/12 4:00pm 6/05/12 4:00pm