5 Remarkable Cases Where Bodies Have Been Frozen In Time
When someone dies, the body will immediately start to decompose starting with the internal organs…. and depending on the conditions an untreated dead body will become unrecognisable within ten days. This is a natural process and is as nature intended.
However, there are cases where people have died in extremely cold places meaning their bodies have been frozen and perfectly preserved for many years, here we look at five such instances.
In June 1910 renowned Arctic Explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his team left Cardiff, Wales on the whaling ship Terra Nova in preparation to become the first British explorers to reach the South Pole.
However, when they reached Antarctica it became apparent that the group were ill-equipped to deal with the harsh conditions and the ponies and sledges they were using were unable to cope and were abandoned.
The expedition carried on with just dogs, but eventually, the dog teams also turned back, and by January 2012 only five of the original group remained; Scott, Wilson, Oates, Bowers and Evans.
The five pushed on through appalling conditions and finally reached the pole only to find a Norwegian Flag flying…… and the realisation that a party led by Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it!
Deflated and exhausted they started the 1,500 km journey back, but by mid-February, Evans was dead…. and just a month later Oates; who was suffering from severe frostbite and knowing he was holding his companions back, walked out of his tent into a blizzard and was never seen again.
The remaining three also eventually succumbed to the freezing conditions and died of starvation and exposure at the end of March 1912.
Their frozen bodies were found in their tent eight months later, and Scott’s diary revealed the extent of their torment…… heartbreakingly they were located just 20 km from a pre-arranged supply point.
It was decided that their bodies should be left as they were found and a mound of snow was built around and over the tent in a makeshift icy burial site. A cross made of skis was placed on the top and a member of the search party, left a note in a metal cylinder at the site: In which he wrote their obituaries. The three were then left in their snow-covered ice tomb, where they remain to this day.
However, in the years since, and with the change in climate, the tomb has been slowly moving…..this is because it was erected on top of a 360-foot section of ice, so as the surface accumulates more ice and the bottom of the shelf melts and refreezes it slowly moves……. and with the passage of time it is now estimated the three bodies have travelled around 39 miles and are encased in over 55 foot of ice!
In fact, no one seems to know exactly where they are now, but glaciologists believe the moving bodies are still preserved intact, and within the next 250 years, the remains of Scott, Bowers, and Wilson will reach the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, where it meets McMurdo Sound in the Ross Sea.
By then, it’s estimated they’ll be encased in more than 325 feet of ice, and by the time they reach the sea, they will emerge inside of a huge iceberg bobbing around in the sea.
4Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin
On August 15, 1942, Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin ventured out to feed their cattle on mountain pasture in the Swiss Alps; they never returned and were never seen again….. they left behind seven children.
That is until July 2017 when an employee of a local cable car company was doing routine maintenance work near the Tsanfleuron glacier in the Swiss Alps when he saw a foot protruding from the ice, upon closer inspection he saw two other boots, and some personal effects as well as the blackened remains of a man and a woman.
Security and the police were notified, and after recovering the bodies still encased in a block of ice, it was confirmed by DNA that they were the remains of Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin.
It is thought the couple fell into a crevasse 75 years earlier and as the glaciers started to melt their well-preserved bodies were revealed.
Only two of their children were still alive and their youngest daughter Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, who was just four years old when her parents disappeared said she and her siblings had spent their whole lives looking for them.
The couple were finally laid to rest in southwestern Switzerland, and their funeral was attended by their two surviving children, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren that they had never met.
Finally released from their icy grave.
3The Mummified Bodies Of World War One Soldiers
Global warming has revealed some unexpected and gruesome discoveries as glaciers in the Italian Alps are slowly melting to reveal the mummified frozen corpses of soldiers killed during World War I.
Since 2004 whenever there is a hot summer more and more bodies are being exposed in the location where countless men were shot, starved or froze to death during World War I.
The last two soldiers, to be found were lying side-by-side on the Presena Glacier; it is thought they were just teenagers who were buried in a frozen crevice by fellow fighters after being shot in the head in 1918….One of the young soldiers still had a spoon tucked into his uniform for eating his rations. These two young lads thought to be between 16 and 18 went to fight for their country and were not seen again for nearly 100 years.
The fight between Italian forces and those of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was long, and much of it was in the mountainous Italian Alps where blizzards could send temperatures dropping to minus 30 degrees Celsius
And bodies aren’t the only things that are being unearthed from the battleground; clothes, shoes and intact letters from soldiers are also being discovered.
However sadly sometimes bodies are found that have been completely looted, with all remnants of them being soldiers removed to be sold online to unsuspecting collectors. In fact, some people are going up the mountain with the sole intent of finding such things to sell on the internet.
2Alex Lowe And David Bridges
On 27th April 2016, the bodies of acclaimed mountain climber Alex Lowe and cameraman David Bridges were discovered 16 years after their disappearance in the Himalayan mountains.
The pair were buried alive in an avalanche in Tibet’s Shishapangma on 5th October 1999 along with their companion Conrad Anker; all three were part of the nine-member American Shishapangma Ski Expedition. Anker who was only partially buried sustained broken ribs and a head gash, but was able to walk to safety.
However, despite an almost two-day search, Lowe and Bridges were not found.
The two bodies were finally found encased in blue ice by Alpinists David Goettler and Ueli Steck…… and their identity was confirmed by Anker from the description of their clothing and backpacks.
The bodies were not touched out of respect and left on the mountain.
The finds brought closure to the families who planned to make a pilgrimage to Shishapangma to recover the bodies.
In 1924, Mallory and his partner Andrew Irvin attempted what at the time seemed impossible; to be the first humans ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest the tallest mountain in the world.
Whether they made it or not is open to debate as they didn’t survive to tell the tale. Their last confirmed sighting was 800 feet from the summit….. after that their fate remained unknown for 75 years. At the time their disappearances made world headlines and the only evidence found was an empty oxygen bottle and an ice axe belonging to Irvin.
But in 1999 a NOVA-BBC sponsored expedition set out to try and find the pair, and within a matter of hours, they discovered a frozen body lying face down dressed in wool and fur. At first, they believed it was the remains of Andrew Irvin, but the name tags on the body’s clothing indicated it was the body of George Mallory.
The corpse was perfectly preserved and although no photos of his face were taken it was reported that it was undamaged with a solemn expression. It also showed how Mallory died when a broken climbing rope was discovered tied around his waist, suggesting that Irvin and Mallory were tied together and one of them fell…….An ice axe was also found close to his body leading researchers to believe that Mallory had stopped his own fall, but a puncture wound found on his forehead suggested that he was killed in the process possibly by his ice axe hitting him.
Take a look at the incredible photo of the perfectly preserved body of George Mallory…..sadly Irvin’s body has never been located.