Monday, 28 November 2011
Gods and Monsters
Last Saturday, I was watching Channel 4 with my hands over my eyes. Tony Robinson's new series called Gods and Monsters was on, and it was pretty scary stuff. The episode was about how medieval people viewed dead bodies, and how they interpreted their observations of what happened to them as evidence of them rising from their graves, walking around like zombies and terrorising villagers. They saw corpses bloated after what they assumed to be big meals, rather than a build up of gases in the intenstines, and heard bodies make noises when they shouldn't. The episode pictured some pretty horrific experiments, including Tony make the beautifully named 'cerebral pate', and recreate stab wounds seeping blood. But I'm not sqeamish about stuff like that...I was watching so gingerly because I knew I was about to see something even more off-putting - myself in a white Tyvex scene suit! I was filmed talking to Tony earlier in the year about how the earliest signs of decomposition could have been misinterpreted by villagers without a clear understanding of the natural processes of taphonomy, which has lead to a variety of myths and legends surrounding the Undead. Tony was charming, and I was lulled into a false sense of security, oblivious to my windswept hair and frankly ruddy complexion. And, well, I'm hoping that the camera, and the scene suit added at least 10 pounds..each. And I think I will be known for a while yet as the lady who talked about farting corpses to Baldrick! If you missed it, you can catch it here on 4OD.
Posted by Dr Anna Williams at 14:09