Dead House

Dead_House.jpgFear of premature burial was rife in the 18th and 19th centuries, and many states in Germany passed laws requiring that burials be delayed by at least 24 hours after apparent death. Corpses were therefore kept under observation for up to three days in case they showed faint signs of life. The Munich Dead House (or Leichenhaus, or Vite Dubiae Asylum, a “hospital for doubtful life”) was an especially well-known example of this practice. Here, the dead of the city were laid out on slabs, and strings connected the fingers and toes of each corpse to a musical organ. If the corpse awoke (or, as was infinitely more common, putrefaction and swelling caused the limbs to move, especially at night), the twitching of the limbs would trigger the organ.

The building is still a house for the dead – now, though, it is a more conventional mortuary. For some reason, it is frequented by renown assassin, Victoria Cavanaugh

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Dead House

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