Obviously there’s something creepy about any corpse, which is why skeletons, zombies and undead vampires feature so heavily in our halloween decorations and ghost stories. Whether it’s a mysterious, unidentified body whose discovery raises more questions than it answers, or an ancient corpse somehow preserved well enough to give us a mind-blowing perspective on the lives of those who lived thousands of years ago, the following demonstrates that the human body reveals and conceals remarkable secrets which live on after death.
From ancient mummies to modern murder victims, these discoveries will leave people scratching their heads or sleeping with the lights on tonight.
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10. Joyce Carol Vincent
The body of 38-year-old Joyce Carol Vincent was discovered in her north London bedsit in 2006 when council officials broke in to repossess it for missed rent payments. Of course, this would be tragic in any circumstance – but made all the more so by the fact that by the time she was discovered, her body had been sitting on the living-room sofa for so long that all that was left of her was her skeleton.
Coroners had to identify the body by matching her dental records to a picture of her smiling while she was alive, and her death was dated to 2003. Although the state of the body meant it was impossible to determine the cause of death, the fact that the television was still switched on and she had been in the middle of wrapping Christmas presents make it unlikely that Joyce had killed herself.
Most mysterious of all was the fact that nobody had noticed she had gone for the three years that her body was sitting in her flat alone. Joyce had a large family and a large group of friends, most of whom she hadn’t spoken to since 2002 and who, when interviewed, said they had just assumed Joyce was ‘off somewhere having a better life than we were’. Her family had even hired a private investigator to look for her, but he had found nothing. Not even her neighbours had noticed she was missing, assuming the smell of her decomposing body was coming from the bins. The discovery of Joyce’s body just goes to show how easy it is for someone to slip through the cracks in a buzzing metropolis like London – and to remind us to check up on old friends every once in a while.