[PW] tasting embalming fluid a common practice?

Katherine Harper kharper4 at gmail.com
Sat May 7 11:41:04 PDT 2016

I've read about this in several biographies and contemporary news accounts,
including stories about sideshow proprietors sipping from their icky
biological-specimen jars. Keep in mind that formaldehyde and other chemical
embalming fluids weren't widely available until fairly recently. What
earlier societies did have—and what most of these people were tasting—was
high-proof grain alcohol or straight rum. In a sealed lead-lined casket,
this would preserve a body perfectly on the wagon/train trip back to the
decedent's home town, or even for decades in a tomb.

Happy thoughts indeed...


Katherine Harper, Ph.D.

*To the Letter Editorial and Research Services
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On Sat, May 7, 2016 at 2:16 PM, Kevin O'Kelly <rkokelly at gmail.com> wrote:

> While embalming itself may not have been common, I find it a little
> surprising than when corpses were embalmed, people couldn't seem to resist
> a taste test.

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