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Coffin Birth: An Ancient Egyptian Mystery and the Solving of a Famous Case

29 May

Coffin Birth is a term used to describe the delivery of a baby postmortem. That is, the mother is dead and sometime later the child is expelled from the uterus. How does this happen?

During human decomposition, which begins almost immediately at death, the bacterial destruction of tissues leads to the formation of gas within the tissues as well as within the abdominal cavity. Most of the bacteria of decay reside within the G.I. tract so abdominal gas accumulation would be expected. As this accumulation progresses, the intra-abdominal pressure rises. If the victim is a pregnant woman, this pressure can collapse the uterus and force the fetus through the cervix, the vaginal canal, and out into the world. This is called a coffin birth. This can occur days or even weeks/months after death. The timing mostly depends on the speed of the decay process, which in turn depends on the ambient temperature.

Italian researchers have recently found a medieval grave that suggests exactly that. From the arrangement of the maternal bones and those of the near-term child, it appears a coffin birth may indeed have occurred.

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Remember the famous Scott and Laci Peterson case? This is what happened to Laci and her unborn son.

Laci Peterson

Laci Peterson

Once the eight-month pregnant Laci was dumped into the San Francisco Bay, the decay process began. The coldness of the water caused a slowing of the decomposition so it took several months before enough gas accumulated to cause two important events that ultimately led to solving the case. First, her corpse became buoyant and floated to the surface and washed ashore, where it was found. The second is that a coffin birth occurred and her unborn child, Connor, was delivered and also washed ashore nearby. The location was near where Scott had said he had gone fishing on that Christmas Eve day. Locating the bodies placed him squarely at the disposal site. Gruesome and sad. Fortunately, Scott now resides in San Quentin.

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The Recovery of Laci and Conner

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2 responses to “Coffin Birth: An Ancient Egyptian Mystery and the Solving of a Famous Case

  1. Chris Norbury

    May 29, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Fascinating (and gruesome and sad too) fact. The writer in me immediately started to brainstorm how I could work something like that into a crime/thriller. But then I thought, “No, many readers might be repulsed/offended by that sort of scene.

    Chris

    Liked by 1 person

     
  2. patriciaruthsusan

    June 2, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Thanks for this interesting information. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

     

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