Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: Pioneering Death as a Part of Medical Practice

Kübler-Ross was one of the central figures in the hospice care movement. Introduction Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (July 8, 1926 – August 24, 2004) was a Swiss-American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies, and author of the internationally best-selling book, On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief,[…]

Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse in Early Modern England

A new theology that came to dominate British religion after the Reformation altering the relationship between the living and the dead. Introduction During the age of spectacular punishment, the bodies of those who threatened the State or social order were subject to highly visible symbolic justice. The executions and dead bodies of traitors in particular[…]

‘Danse Macabre’: The Medieval Dance of Death

The Danse Macabre consists of the dead or a personification of death with dancing along to the graves. Introduction The Danse Macabre, also called the Dance of Death, is an artistic genre of allegory of the Late Middle Ages on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the Danse Macabre unites all.[…]

Modeling Grief: The Death of Children in Historical Perspective

Ancient writers who crafted these accounts sought to create a fellowship of grief between their communities. I remember the afternoon my brother died in vivid detail: the chill of the afternoon, the bustle of doctors throughout the house, the sound of the ambulance – and the silence that followed. That silence stretched interminably, it seemed[…]

An Indonesian Island Where the Dead Live with Their Loved Ones

“It is our Torajan culture. It is what we do.” By Tommy Trenchard and Aurélie Marrier d’Unienville As a host, 90-year-old Alfrida Lantong is somewhat passive. Lying resolutely on her back and gazing up through a pair of thick, dusty spectacles, she roundly ignores her son’s murmured greeting as he enters the room, and she[…]

From Mummification to ‘Sky Burials’: Why We Need Death Rituals

Death rituals help us to cope with loss and perhaps even feelings of guilt associated with disposing of a corpse. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Few liturgical phrases from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer are so familiar to so many, even those who have never darkened the doors of a church. This part of the[…]