Holy autopsies, or, nuns with knives


Take a look at this photo:


No, he’s not the victim of some slashing monster. He’s been autopsied by a bunch of nuns way back in the Dark Ages.

Fiction aside, science is one of my other fascinations, and I came across this article on medical science in the Dark Ages in Scientific American. It turns out a lot of what we know about these centuries is dead wrong. For instance:

–Most people did NOT believe that the world was flat. Then knew it was round

–The Catholic church was a leader in scientific study, not a suppressor

The Catholic church was believed to be against autopsies. Again, not so. In fact, the church often performed “holy autopsies,” in which a corpse was dissected in an attempt to uncover a relic. In 1308, nuns performed an autopsy on an abbess and reported to have found a tiny crucifix embedded in her heart (How did that get there?).

File this under truth is stranger than fiction.



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