Prohibition of death

Prohibition of death is a political social phenomenon and taboo in which a law is passed stating that it is illegal to die, usually specifically in a certain political division or in a specific building.

The earliest case of prohibition of death occurred in the 5th century BC, on the Greek island of Delos; dying on Delos was prohibited on religious grounds.

Today, in most cases, the prohibition of death is a satirical response to the government's failure to approve the expansion of municipal cemeteries. In Spain, one town has prohibited death;[1] in France, there have been several settlements which have had death prohibited;[2][3][4][5] whilst in Biritiba Mirim, in Brazil, an attempt to prohibit death took place in 2005.[6][7]

There is a falsely rumored prohibition on recording deaths in royal palaces in the United Kingdom, for rather different reasons.[8][9]

Prohibition of death around the world
Map showing places where it is illegal to die, where it used to be illegal to die, and where there are attempts to make it illegal to die.

Ancient

Greece

The island of Delos was considered a sacred and holy place by the ancient Greeks, and various measures were taken to "purify" the island and render it fit for the proper worship of the gods. In the 6th century BC, the tyrant Peisistratus, of the city-state of Athens, ordered that all graves within sight of the island's temple be dug up and the bodies removed to locations on or beyond the perimeter. In the 5th century BC, under instruction from the Delphic Oracle, the entire island was purged of all dead bodies, and it was forbidden for anybody else to die or give birth on the island.

Modern

Brazil

The mayor of Biritiba-Mirim filed a public bill in 2005, to make it illegal for the people living in the town to die. Although no specific punishments have been presented, the mayor intends to target relatives of people who die with fines and even jail if necessary to get more space for tombstones.

The main reason for the attempt to pass such a law with such severe punishments if broken is that the town's 28,000 inhabitants apparently do not look after their health properly, making them more vulnerable to death, which would mean having to bury more corpses in the already full cemetery. Since the cemetery was inaugurated in 1910, over 50,000 people have been buried in 3,500 crypts and tombs. In November 2005, the cemetery was declared to be full and 20 recently deceased residents were forced to share a crypt, and several others were buried under the walkways.

The mayor, to support his uncommon proposal for a law, stated that 89% of the town is occupied by rivers, of which most are underground and serve as vital water sources for nearly two million people living in São Paulo, and that the remaining area is protected because it consists of tropical jungle. So, public land five times the size of the cemetery was set aside to provide space for a new one, which environmental experts claim will not affect water tables or surrounding tropical forest. The environment council decided to analyze such a solution carefully, while the state government had agreed to help build a new vertical cemetery; but, as of 2005, nothing has been done, and the law has not yet been passed, leaving the situation in suspense.[6][7]

France

Three settlements in southern France have prohibited death. The mayor of Le Lavandou outlawed death in 2000, after planning permission for a new cemetery was turned down due to environmental concerns. He described the new bylaw as "an absurd law to counter an absurd situation".[3] In 2007, Cugnaux also prohibited death, for similar reasons,[2] and was subsequently granted permission to enlarge the local cemetery;[5] inspired by the town's success, Sarpourenx was next to follow suit, in 2008.[4]

Japan

The island of Itsukushima is considered a sacred location in Shinto belief, and is the site of the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Purity is of utmost concern in Shinto worship, and because of this, the shrine's priests have attempted to keep the island free of the pollution of death. Immediately after the Battle of Miyajima in 1555, the only battle to have taken place on the island, the victorious commander had the bodies of the fallen troops removed to the mainland, and ordered that the entire battlefield be cleansed of the blood that was spilled, to the point that buildings were scrubbed and blood-soaked soil was removed from the island.[10] Retaining the purity of the Itsukushima Shrine is so important that since 1878, no deaths or births have been permitted near the shrine.[11] To this day, pregnant women are supposed to retreat to the mainland as the day of delivery approaches, as are terminally ill or the very elderly whose passing has become imminent. Burials on the island are still forbidden.

Spain

Death has been prohibited in the Andalusian town of Lanjarón.[1] The village, with 4,000 inhabitants, is to remain under this law until the government buys land for a new cemetery. The mayor who issued the edict explains that the awkward new law is his response to politicians urging him to find a quick fix for a long-lasting problem.[1] The edict has become wildly popular amongst residents, even amongst political opponents of the mayor who issued the law, and was received with a sense of humor from most.[1]

Myths

United Kingdom

A story sometimes reported in the United Kingdom states it is forbidden for commoners to die in a royal palace, such as the Palace of Westminster, on the grounds that anyone who dies in a royal palace is technically entitled to a state funeral.[8] However, this has been proven to be a myth.[12][13]

Norway

It is a common misconception that it is illegal to die in the town of Longyearbyen, Norway, however this is a myth. There are simply no options for burial there, and terminally ill residents are flown to Oslo to live their last days. This is because the bodies of town members who died during the 1918 flu pandemic have not decomposed due to the permafrost, and there are concerns that the bodies still contain active strains of the virus. [14]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Spanish Mayor Outlaws Death". Stiffs. 2 October 1999. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Forbidden to die because of lack of room". Weird Globe News. 25 November 2007. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b Henley, Jon (2000-09-23). "Citizens live under law's dead hand". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  4. ^ a b "Cemetery full, mayor tells locals not to die". Reuters. 5 March 2008. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b "French village bans death" Archived 2008-07-06 at the Wayback Machine. AFP. 6 March 2008.
  6. ^ a b "Brazil city proposes ban on death". BBC News. 14 December 2005.
  7. ^ a b "No room at cemetery, so mayor in Biritiba Mirim proposes a ban on death". MSNBC. 13 December 2005.
  8. ^ a b Cleland, Gary (2007-11-06). "Don't die in parliament, it's the law". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  9. ^ "You Can't Do That!". BBC News. 2005-08-30. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
  10. ^ Turnbull, Stephen R. (1977). The Samurai: A Military History. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co. p. 133.
  11. ^ "Itsukushima". Japanese Lifestyle. 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  12. ^ Cleland, Gary (2012-04-06). "Illegal mince pies and other UK legal legends". BBC. London. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Legal Curiosities: Fact or Fable?" (PDF). Law Commission. March 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Inside Longyearbyen, the Arctic town where dying is ILLEGAL because corpses don't decompose". The Sun. 2018-02-12. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
Algor mortis

Algor mortis (Latin: algor—coldness; mortis—of death), the second stage of death, is the change in body temperature post mortem, until the ambient temperature is matched. This is generally a steady decline, although if the ambient temperature is above the body temperature (such as in a hot desert), the change in temperature will be positive, as the (relatively) cooler body acclimates to the warmer environment. External factors can have a significant influence.

The term was first used by Dowler in 1849. The first published measurements of the intervals of temperature after death were done by Dr John Davey in 1839.

Dead on arrival

Dead on arrival (DOA), also dead in the field and brought in dead (BID), indicates that a patient was found to be already clinically dead upon the arrival of professional medical assistance, often in the form of first responders such as emergency medical technicians, paramedics, or police.

In some jurisdictions, first responders must consult verbally with a physician before officially pronouncing a patient deceased, but once cardiopulmonary resuscitation is initiated, it must be continued until a physician can pronounce the patient dead.

Death hoax

A death hoax is a deliberate or confused report of someone's death that turns out to be incorrect and murder rumors. In some cases it might be because the person has intentionally faked death.

Death messenger

Death messengers, in former times, were those who were dispatched to spread the news that an inhabitant of their city or village had died. They were to wear unadorned black and go door to door with the message, "You are asked to attend the funeral of the departed __________ at (time, date, and place)." This was all they were allowed to say, and were to move on to the next house immediately after uttering the announcement. This tradition persisted in some areas to as late as the mid-19th century.

Death rattle

Terminal respiratory secretions (or simply terminal secretions), known colloquially as a death rattle, are sounds often produced by someone who is near death as a result of fluids such as saliva and bronchial secretions accumulating in the throat and upper chest. Those who are dying may lose their ability to swallow and may have increased production of bronchial secretions, resulting in such an accumulation. Usually, two or three days earlier, the symptoms of approaching death can be observed as saliva accumulates in the throat, making it very difficult to take even a spoonful of water. Related symptoms can include shortness of breath and rapid chest movement. While death rattle is a strong indication that someone is near death, it can also be produced by other problems that cause interference with the swallowing reflex, such as brain injuries.It is sometimes misinterpreted as the sound of the person choking to death, or alternatively, that they are gargling.

Dignified death

Dignified death is a somewhat elusive concept often related to suicide. One factor that has been cited as a core component of dignified death is maintaining a sense of control. Another view is that a truly dignified death is an extension of a dignified life. There is some concern that assisted suicide does not guarantee a dignified death, since some patients may experience complications such as nausea and vomiting. There is some concern that age discrimination denies the elderly a dignified death.

Dysthanasia

In medicine, dysthanasia means "bad death" and is considered a common fault of modern medicine.Dysthanasia occurs when a person who is dying has their biological life extended through technological means without regard to the person's quality of life. Technologies such as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, artificial ventilation, ventricular assist devices, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation can extend the dying process.

Dysthanasia is a term generally used when a person is seen to be kept alive artificially in a condition where, otherwise, they cannot survive; sometimes for some sort of ulterior motive. The term was used frequently in the investigation into the death of Formula One driver Ayrton Senna in 1994.

Fan death

Fan death is a well-known superstition in Korean culture, where it is thought that running an electric fan in a closed room with unopened or no windows will prove fatal. Despite no concrete evidence to support the concept, belief in fan death persists to this day in Korea, and also to a lesser extent in Japan.

Funeral director

A funeral director, also known as an undertaker (British English) or mortician (American English), is a professional involved in the business of funeral rites. These tasks often entail the embalming and burial or cremation of the dead, as well as the arrangements for the funeral ceremony (although not the directing and conducting of the funeral itself unless clergy are not present). Funeral directors may at times be asked to perform tasks such as dressing (in garments usually suitable for daily wear), casketing (placing the human body in the coffin), and cossetting (applying any sort of cosmetic or substance to the best viewable areas of the corpse for the purpose of enhancing its appearance). A funeral director may work at a funeral home or be an independent employee.

Lazarus sign

The Lazarus sign or Lazarus reflex is a reflex movement in brain-dead or brainstem failure patients, which causes them to briefly raise their arms and drop them crossed on their chests (in a position similar to some Egyptian mummies). The phenomenon is named after the Biblical figure Lazarus of Bethany, whom Jesus raised from the dead in the Gospel of John.

Megadeath

Megadeath (or megacorpse) is one million human deaths, usually caused by a nuclear explosion. The term was used by scientists and thinkers who strategized likely outcomes of all-out nuclear warfare.

Morgue

A morgue or mortuary (in a hospital or elsewhere) is used for the storage of human corpses awaiting identification or removal for autopsy or respectful burial, cremation or other method. In modern times corpses have customarily been refrigerated to delay decomposition.

Necronym

A necronym (from the Greek words νεκρός, nekros, "dead" and ὄνομα ónoma, "name") is a reference to, or name of, a person who has died. Many cultures have taboos and traditions associated with referring to such a person. These vary from the extreme of never again speaking the person's real name, often using some circumlocution instead, to the opposite extreme of commemorating it incessantly by naming other things or people after the deceased.

For instance, in some cultures it is common for a newborn child to receive the name (a necronym) of a relative who has recently died, while in others to reuse such a name would be considered extremely inappropriate or even forbidden. While this varies from culture to culture, the use of necronyms is quite common.

Necrophobia

Necrophobia is a specific phobia which is the irrational fear of dead things (e.g., corpses) as well as things associated with death (e.g., coffins, tombstones, funerals, cemeteries). With all types of emotions, obsession with death becomes evident in both fascination and objectification. In a cultural sense, necrophobia may also be used to mean a fear of the dead by a cultural group, e.g., a belief that the spirits of the dead will return to haunt the living.Symptoms include: shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, dry mouth and shaking, feeling sick and uneasy, psychological instability, and an altogether feeling of dread and trepidation. The sufferer may feel this phobia all the time. The sufferer may also experience this sensation when something triggers the fear, like a close encounter with a dead animal or the funeral of a loved one or friend. The fear may have developed when a person witnessed a death, or was forced to attend a funeral as a child. Some people experience this after viewing frightening media.The fear can manifest itself as a serious condition. Treatment options include medication and therapy.The word necrophobia is derived from the Greek nekros (νεκρός) for "corpse" and the Greek phobos (φόβος) for "fear".

Obituary

An obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a person, typically along with an account of the person's life and information about the upcoming funeral. In large cities and larger newspapers, obituaries are written only for people considered significant. In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.

Two types of paid advertisements are related to obituaries. One, known as a death notice, omits most biographical details and may be a legally required public notice under some circumstances. The other type, a paid memorial advertisement, is usually written by family members or friends, perhaps with assistance from a funeral home. Both types of paid advertisements are usually run as classified advertisements.

Pallor mortis

Pallor mortis (Latin: pallor "paleness", mortis "of death"), the first stage of death, is an after-death paleness that occurs in those with light/white skin.

Post-mortem interval

Post-mortem interval (PMI) is the time that has elapsed since a person has died. If the time in question is not known, a number of medical/scientific techniques are used to determine it. This also can refer to the stage of decomposition of the body.

Rigor mortis

Rigor mortis (Latin: rigor "stiffness", mortis "of death"), or postmortem rigidity, is the third stage of death. It is one of the recognizable signs of death, characterized by stiffening of the limbs of the corpse caused by chemical changes in the muscles postmortem. In humans, rigor mortis can occur as soon as four hours after death.

Skeletonization

Skeletonization refers to the final stage of decomposition, during which the last vestiges of the soft tissues of a corpse or carcass have decayed or dried to the point that the skeleton is exposed. By the end of the skeletonization process, all soft tissue will have been eliminated, leaving only disarticulated bones. In a temperate climate, it usually requires three weeks to several years for a body to completely decompose into a skeleton, depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, presence of insects, and submergence in a substrate such as water. In tropical climates, skeletonization can occur in weeks, while in tundra areas, skeletonization may take years or may never occur, if subzero temperatures persist. Natural embalming processes in peat bogs or salt deserts can delay the process indefinitely, sometimes resulting in natural mummification.The rate of skeletonization and the present condition of a corpse or carcass can be used to determine the time of death.After skeletonization, if scavenging animals do not destroy or remove the bones, acids in many fertile soils take about 20 years to completely dissolve the skeleton of mid- to large-size mammals, such as humans, leaving no trace of the organism. In neutral-pH soil or sand, the skeleton can persist for hundreds of years before it finally disintegrates. Alternately, especially in very fine, dry, salty, anoxic, or mildly alkaline soils, bones may undergo fossilization, converting into minerals that may persist indefinitely.

In medicine
Lists
Mortality
After death
Paranormal
Legal
Fields
Other

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.