- According to a story reported on National Public Radio, a display of preserved human cadavers is drawing record crowds in Berlin, Germany.
But these are no ordinary preserved human cadavers. These have been prepared using a special new process developed by Gunther Von Hagens, a German doctor, which makes the bodies appear so lifelike and alive, they almost look like they could get up and walk away.
The secret, according to Von Hagens, involves removing the water in the human body. Water, which accounts for nearly 70% of body weight, supports the bacteria that allow the lifeless human body to decay. Without water, the body will not rot. However, if the water is simply removed, a body will look dried out and as wrinkled as an old prune.
Von Hagens developed a way to remove the water in a human body and replace it with a clear plastic solution. According to Von Hagens, his human specimens will last longer than the mummies. And with the plastic preserving them, his subjects continue to look as if they are almost alive.
In addition, the soft plastic allows Von Hagens to bend and stretch and pose his specimens into a wide variety of positions. Among his nearly 200 bodies on display are:
- A man with no skin, his muscle tissue still connected to his skeleton--holding his removed skin in his hand;
- A corpse playing chess, with his skull sliced open to show his brain;
- A corpse riding a dead horse
- A body with the intestines and other inner organs dangling out.
- Von Hagens insists the purpose of his displays are as much education as they are entertainment. And most people are wowed by this imaginative display of the wonders of the human body.
- And Von Hagens isn't likely to run out of subjects soon. So many people have volunteered to donate their bodies to him after they die, Van Hagens says he couldn't possibly use all of them before he dies!
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