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Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

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How to Distinguish Death

in case there is great doubtThis week’s selection is from Professor T. W. Shannon’s Nature’s Secrets Revealed: Scientific Knowledge of The Laws of Sex Life and Heredity or, Eugenics. You never know ~ this might come in handy someday.

1916: How to Distinguish Death

As many instances occur of parties being buried alive, they being to all appearances dead, the great importance of knowing how to distinguish real from imaginary death need not be explained. The appearances which mostly accompany death, are an entire stoppage of breathing, of the heart’s action; the eyelids are partly closed, the eyes glassy, and the pupils usually dilated; the jaws are clenched, the fingers partially contracted, and the lips and nostrils more or less covered with frothy mucus, with increasing pallor and coldness of surface, and the muscles soon become rigid and the limbs fixed in their position. But as these same conditions may also exist in certain other cases of suspended animation, great care should be observed, whenever there is the least doubt concerning it, to prevent the unnecessary crowding of the room in which the corpse is, or of parties crowding around the body; nor should the body be allowed to remain lying on the back without the tongue being so secured as to prevent the glottis or orifice of the windpipe being closed by it; nor should the face be closely covered; nor rough usage of any kind be allowed. In case there is great doubt, the body should not be allowed to be inclosed in the coffin, and under no circumstances should burial be allowed until there are unmistakable signs of decomposition.

Source: Shannon, T. W. Nature’s Secrets Revealed: Scientific Knowledge of The Laws of Sex Life and Heredity, or Eugenics. Marietta, Ohio: S. A. Mullikin Co., 1916.
~ pp. 503-504 ~

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