Thursday, July 10, 2008

A useful tool...

From time immemorial it has been the custom in the East, and even in some parts of the Continent to place women around a dead man’s bed to cry and howl for the purpose of awaking him should be only apparently dead…Pricking the skin with sharp instruments has also been adopted, and one savant, Josat by name, obtained first prize at the Academy of France for the invention of a pair of clawed forceps for pinching the nipples of the supposed dead, and this method held premier place as a means of distinguishing real from apparent death until it was demonstrated that subjects under profound hysteria were as indifferent to this painfully acute process as the dead.

From: Premature burial and how it may be prevented: with special reference to trance, catalepsy, and other forms of suspended animation, by William Tebb and Edward Perry Vollum. Second edition by Walter R. Hadwen. London, Swan Sonnenschein, 1905. p. 305)

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