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  • This year some 57 million people are expected to cease existence and revert back to their

  • natural state of nonexistence.

  • Commonly defined as death.

  • Roughly two thirds will die of a mysterious and, as of yet, incurable disease known as aging.

  • Well, technically and medically speaking, old age is not in and of itself lethal but

  • it nonetheless weakens your body so as to make you less capable of combating that which is.

  • Nevertheless, death as a result of age related conditions is clouded in mystery as we have

  • yet to discern precisely why we age.

  • Current understanding implies no singular element commands the aging process but rather

  • a combination of multiple interconnected factors.

  • For example, the limits imposed by telomeres on cell division implies obsolescence may

  • be programmed into our DNA.

  • Manipulation of specific genes in other animals and organisms can have drastic effects on

  • the aging process.

  • Furthermore, numerous studies has evinced that calories accelerates aging and thus less

  • food could potentially extend longevity.

  • So stop eating and you'll live forever.

  • Who eats a burger that way?

  • On the opposite side of the spectrum, aging may simply be a result of accumulative damage and waste.

  • While the human body is capable of maintaining and repairing itself, the processes responsible

  • are not infallible.

  • Over time an accumulation of separately insignificant failures may collectively become significant

  • so as to sporadically degrade various bodily functions.

  • If gerontologists do manage to isolate the precise nature of aging we may one day be

  • able to decelerate, prevent, or even reverse the process.

  • Hanging has been a common method of both suicide and homicide ever since the invention of

  • rope and human necks.

  • Today, hanging is primarily associated with hanging from a noose but the word may also

  • describe crucifixion, impalement, or just a general state of suspension upon death.

  • At some point, or more likely over an extended period of time, coroners and others remarked

  • that male hanging victims often died with priapism.

  • Which is a medical way of saying, they frequently died with an erection.

  • In fact, it is the belief of some historians that not one but two poles were erected upon

  • the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and that some artistic renditions of his divine likeness

  • was more accurately hung than others.

  • Though thy holy loins was frequently covered with drapes, like the Renaissance version

  • of pixelization, so the state of his majesty can merely be inferred.

  • In any case, this discovery gradually evolved into a treatment for erectile dysfunction

  • as non-lethal strangulation produces the same effect.

  • Which in turn evolved into erotic asphyxiation.

  • The exact physiological cause is not entirely clear but a general inhibition of normal brain

  • activity due to pressure or injury to the brain or spinal cord appears to be responsible.

  • The fear of death is known as thanatophobia and fearing the end of our existence can be

  • so overwhelming that many seek any explanation that promises continuation in place of termination.

  • In other words, an afterlife.

  • As far as science is concerned death is the cessation of brain activity followed by natural

  • decomposition of the body.

  • One could argue that death is merely the absence of life much like a shadow is the absence of light.

  • But who is this science to tell us what to believe when we could simply ask those brought

  • back to life after death.

  • Between 10-20% of cardiac arrest survivors recall near death experiences.

  • Memories from when they where clinically dead and thus unconscious.

  • Revived persons often report similar experiences such as a strong sense of peace, love, and happiness.

  • The perception of ones dead body from an outside perspective.

  • A review of ones life experiences.

  • Interactions with deceased loved ones or supernatural entities.

  • And a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

  • Studies have found that these experiences are largely culture dependent.

  • For example, Christians are more likely to perceive angles while Hindus are more likely

  • to perceive gods of the underworld.

  • Entities who escort the deceased towards an afterlife are known as psychopomps.

  • But you are neither more nor less likely to have a near death experience just because

  • you are religious as NDEs by atheists and others are just as common.

  • Many find comfort in these reports as they may serve as affirmation of a life beyond

  • but it's worth pointing out that clinical death is not the same as what most of us perceive as death.

  • The reason you can be revived when clinically dead is that, while your heart and breathing

  • may have ceased, your brain is still active.

  • It is only once your brain activity stops that you are legally dead and no one has ever

  • returned from this stage of complete cessation.

  • While humans may be stuck with pathetic mortal bodies some animals have transcended this

  • futile existence and exhibit biological immortality.

  • One such creature is the immortal hydra.

  • Hydras are tiny freshwater animals that look like miniature octopuses.

  • While humans and our sad excuse of a body grows weaker with age the hydra is just as

  • strong playing bingo as when it graduated high school.

  • In other words, they show no signs of aging nor the adverse effects commonly associated with it.

  • While its regenerative properties are poorly understood the hope is for an improved understanding

  • to aid in our quest for human immortality.

  • Other creatures exhibiting some form of biological immortality

  • include various species of jellyfish, lobsters, and flatworms.

  • There's a unit of measurement known as a micromortmt).

  • The name is a portmanteau of the words micro and mortality and measures the probability

  • of sudden death in any given context.

  • 1 µmt means the probability of death is 1 in 1,000,000.

  • For example, approximately 1 out of every 150,000 skydiving attempts in the US result

  • in death which means that skydiving is rated at roughly 7 µmt per jump.

  • In order to be exposed to 1 µmt of risk you would have to ride a bike for 10 km,

  • drive a car for 400 km, or fly with commercial airlines for 10,000 km.

  • Doing something as simple as getting out of bed at 90 years of age will expose you to

  • a daily dose of over 300 µmt.

  • The deadliest job in America is said to be the presidency, which clocks in at a staggering

  • 186,000 µmt.

  • Which is why I decided to make videos on the internet instead.

  • In most cultures death is associated with a specific personification and commonly takes

  • the shape of the Grim Reaper.

  • A skeleton cloaked in a dark robe carrying a scythe, used to reap the souls of the dead.

  • But some ancient cultures personified death in much less menacing fashion.

  • For example, the ancient Greeks worshiped a god of death known as Thanatos.

  • He was often depicted as a bearded man or a child with wings that merely guided the

  • human soul into the afterlife.

  • In other words, a psychopomp.

  • The Egyptian god Osiris was depicted as a man with green skin and was more often revered than feared.

  • This modern depiction of a menacing skeleton or demon, can largely be attributed to the

  • most devastating pandemic humanity has ever faced, the black death.

  • This horrifying medieval plague may have reduced the European population by as much as 60%

  • and consequently gave rise to a more dismal depiction of the Grim Reaper as to more accurately

  • reflect the hopelessness and dismality of this plague.

  • Well, most depictions at least.

  • Sometimes Death is just ecstatic to play some mortal board games.

  • Just look at that face. That is the face of a skeleton ready to play some chess.

  • Who are you?

  • I am Death!

  • There's a rare mental disorder known as Cotard Syndrome and persons afflicted often deny

  • the existence of one or multiple body parts but in some extreme cases patients deny that

  • they themselves exist and paradoxically come to believe that they are dead.

  • Named after French neurologist Jules Cotard, in 1880 he described a middle-aged woman who

  • believed her body was completely hollow with the exception of her skin and bones.

  • As such she insisted she didn't need to eat and eventually died of starvation.

  • Strangely enough, victims of this disorder often believe themselves to be immortal as

  • from their delusional perspective you can't die if you're already dead.

  • Can't really argue with that logic.

  • A more recent case from 2012 describes a man who, after suffering a stroke, grew convinced he was dead.

  • He told his doctor:

  • "I guess I'm dead."

  • "I'd like to ask for your opinion."

  • But when asked if he believed it possible for a dead man to speak he recognized the

  • contradiction yet paradoxically maintained his belief of nonexistence.

  • He further elaborated:

  • "I feel I am dead [but] I'm talking with you in this world."

  • "I do not know whether I am alive or not."

  • "I am unable to realize that I'm alive."

  • A few months later his condition fortunately improved and he no longer believed himself

  • to be dead yet he maintained that he once had been.

  • Oh, and he also believed Kim Jong-il was a patient of the same hospital.

  • Naturally.

  • In 2007, a middle aged man in Bosnia decided to fake his own death in an effort to uncover

  • how many friends and family members would attend his funeral.

  • Unfortunately for him, only one person attended his fake service and that person was his mother.

  • The thing is, this is a quite common fear because no one wants to die alone and if no

  • one attends your funeral than that's likely to have been the case.

  • Actually I'm surprised there isn't a specific phobia for dying alone so let's create one.

  • Okay, thanatophobia is the fear of dying and monophobia is the fear of being alone so naturally

  • monatophobia is the fear of dying alone.

  • Anyway, the fear of a lack of funeral attendees is so common that in the UK you can preemptively

  • pay a company, known as Rent A Mourner, to have random persons attend your funeral and

  • act as if they mourn your passing.

  • In early 1921, an American named Thomas Bradford decided he was going to

  • prove the existence of an afterlife.

  • In order to realize such an impossible task, Bradford reasoned the most logical course

  • of action would be for him to commit suicide and then communicate the existence of an afterlife

  • from beyond the grave.

  • He began by publishing a newspaper advert in search for a spiritualistic accomplice

  • that would remain alive and wait for the spirit of Bradford to return from the dead.

  • Thus undeniably ascertaining a different plane of existence.

  • A foolproof plan or at least a woman named Ruth Doran thought so as she quickly responded

  • to Bradford's advert.

  • After a few meetings of what I can only imagine must've consisted of intense scrutinization

  • of this ingenious plan, Bradford took his own life on the 5th of February, 1921, with

  • the full intention of returning to this plane of existence and relay any juicy details about

  • the world beyond to his lively accomplice.

  • A week later, Doran claimed she had actually been in contact with the ghost of Bradford

  • and this is some of what he had to say:

  • "I am the professor who speaks to you from the Beyond."

  • "I have broken through the veil."