Fact, Fiction or Faction – The Tears of a Corpse

Tears of a Corpse

There is a silly belief among many that a person’s hair and fingernails continue to grow after death. It is patently not true. However, it has been scientifically proven that corpses continue to have the ability to shed tears and often do profusely. These lacrimis mortuorum were highly prized by women of the Roman patrician classes as they were said to have cosmetic properties for preserving a youthful appearance when applied to the face in a mixture with white lead and wolf’s excrement or the bile of a lion. In early Christianity, disciples of St. John Elafina collected tears from the flayed corpse before wild boars tore it to shreds. The tears were preserved in a golden vial at the Church of St. John Elafina in Greek Macedonia. Local women, upon learning they were pregnant, would have the priest insert the vial into their vaginas to insure happiness for their child. In Lapland, the Sami collected the postmortem tears of their shamans. These they would mix with reindeer blood and freeze. Successor shamans would then consume the icy-mixture on the night of the winter solstice. They claimed the ability to fly over the aurora borealis with the spirit of the passed shaman and the reindeer. More than likely, this is where the European legend of Santa Claus or Father Christmas originated.


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