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A Personalized Pour from History on the Rocks

Blue Laws, Bog Bodies, and Buddhist Mummies

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 14, 2015 4:27:33 PM / by Marco Costantini

Our very own Kellen says it best this week - All the best poems are morbid. If that goes for podcasts, too, this week should be riveting!

What's the story behind buying (or not buying) liquor on Sundays? Where is the best place to hide a two-thousand-year-old body? And most importantly, how can you make sure your grandkids' grandkids know what a handsome devil you are? We give you a step-by-step self-mummification guide!*

This is the 1,000 year-old self-mummified monk, Liquan, protected and preserved inside a Buddhist statue. Previously on display at a museum in the Netherlands, he's run into some controversy over how he was--perhaps illegally--obtained from a Chinese monastery.

Let's not forget our other unrotted friend, the Tollund Man. Found in a bog in Denmark, he was remarkably well preserved, and further immortalized in a haunting, darkly beautiful poem by Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney.

The Tollund Man 

"The Tollund Man"


Some day I will go to Aarhus
To see his peat-brown head,
The mild pods of his eye-lids,
His pointed skin cap.

In the flat country near by
Where they dug him out,
His last gruel of winter seeds
Caked in his stomach,

Naked except for
The cap, noose and girdle,
I will stand a long time.
Bridegroom to the goddess,

She tightened her torc on him
And opened her fen,
Those dark juices working
Him to a saint's kept body,

Trove of the turfcutters'
Honeycombed workings.
Now his stained face
Reposes at Aarhus.


I could risk blasphemy,
Consecrate the cauldron bog
Our holy ground and pray
Him to make germinate

The scattered, ambushed
Flesh of labourers,
Stockinged corpses
Laid out in the farmyards,

Tell-tale skin and teeth
Flecking the sleepers
Of four young brothers, trailed
For miles along the lines.


Something of his sad freedom
As he rode the tumbril
Should come to me, driving,
Saying the names
Tollund, Grauballe, Nebelgard,
Watching the pointing hands
Of country people,
Not knowing their tongue.
Out there in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.

To find out more about Blue Laws, Bog Bodies, and Buddhist Mummies, check out our most recent podcast on Preservation!

 *Please do not actually attempt to mummify yourself. Drinking lacquer and arsenic is bad for you (probably).