Morbid Fact Du Jour for January 7, 2015

Today’s Imprecise Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

There is no precise core temperature at which the human body perishes from cold. At Dachau’s cold-water immersion baths, Nazi doctors calculated death to arrive at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest recorded core temperature in a surviving adult is 60.8 degrees. For a child it’s lower. In 1994, a two-year-old girl in Saskatchewan wandered out of her house into a -40 night. She was found near her doorstep the next morning, limbs frozen solid, her core temperature 57 degrees. She lived.

Others are less fortunate, even in much milder conditions. One of Europe’s worst weather disasters occurred during a 1964 competitive walk on a windy, rainy English moor; three of the racers died from hypothermia, though temperatures never fell below freezing and ranged as high as 45.

Culled from: Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance

A little research shows that the little girl who froze, only had part of one leg amputated.  To me, the fact that they were able to save the rest of her limbs is the truly amazing part!


Morbid Trinket Du Jour!

I picked up a new book at my favorite Chicago antique store (Woolly Mammoth) the other day.  It’s a 1910 book entitled Dermochromes – III by Professor Jacobi.  It contains some lovely color images of wax models of skin diseases.  I thought I’d share occasionally.

Here’s the first image:  Xanthoma.

“Xanthoma is a benign new growth of the skin generally dependent upon some congenital condition and characterized by its peculiar sulphur, or reddish-yellow, colour.  It occurs either isolated (Xanthoma circumscriptum), especially on the eyelids or as a more extensive eruption (Xanthoma disseminatum planum vel tuberosum).  In the former there are present on the eyelids flat-topped, more or less raised, painless spots or deposits “let into” the skin, of a marked yellow colour; these cause no symptoms and are strictly localized in the situation mentioned or in its immediate vicinity.

“The Diagnosis is easily made from the yellow colour and the localization of the lesions.

“The Prognosis is favourable.

“Treatment can only be surgical, but electrolysis may be tried.”


“My Brush With Morbidity” by Jackie

“When I was a baby, around 1, my favorite thing to do was watch the cars drive by from my front window. We lived on a busy street, so there was constant traffic to support my habit. However, because of this, I am told that I saw two things that, may greatly explain why I am the creepy person I am today

“The first event happened right across the street. Workmen were unearthing a giant gasoline container from below the gas station on the corner. Someone, thought that the best way to cut the top off would be with a blow torch, thinking that if the tank was empty, it wouldn’t be a problem. When the remaining fumes ignited, the explosion blew the end that was being cut off into a near perfect jagged metal flying saucer. The projectile flew through the air, making contact with a nearby pedestrian (even a friend of my family), decapitating him in front of his wife.

“The second event had a little less fanfare, but not something a 1 year old should see regardless. For years, there had been a bus stop directly across the busy street, in front of two churches. One afternoon, as I sat with my mother,watching the big yellow bus drop off the elementary school kids, one of the little girls on the bus came bounding across the street on her own, undoubtedly eager to get home. The moment she stepped out from in front of the bus she was hit and killed by a driver failing to yield to the bus.

“Growing up at this house, I have seen/heard a number of horrendous car accidents, (ie a Honda Accord pancaked by an ice cream truck), domestic disputes, gunfire, and car explosions (just don’t buy a Honda Accord, trust me). but the absolute worst I just had to be too young to remember on my own. I just moved back for a couple of months, and I will keep my eyes peeled, and my head down.”

More brushes with morbidity can be read on the Asylum Eclectica’s My Brush With Morbidity page.  Do you have a dreadful tale you’d like to share?  Send it to The Comtesse.

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