11 Bizarre things that happen to you after you die
We always describe life as a circle, but really it's more of a line. You have birth at one end, a load of weird stuff in the middle (where you try to figure out puberty and taxes) and then death at the other. It sounds depressing when you put it that way, but it's sort of true.
However, at the end of that line, there's a little bit extra. Sort of like a footnote, or - if you want to get poetic about it - a ghost. You see, when your soul has passed on to the next realm, your body still has a little bit of unfinished business on Earth...
1. You let out gas
When you die, all the muscles in your body relax... including your bowels. This causes corpses to fart and - in some cases - even let out any fluids/waste material. Nice.
2. Your organs could be recycled
If you're a registered donor, and your organs are still viable enough to be used by someone else, anything from your skin to your eyeballs could end up living on with another person. It's sort of like repurposing a shoe box or buying stuff from a secondhand store.
3. You moan
You know how the undead always moan in movies? That ain't far from the truth. Just as gas escapes from your bowels, it also makes its way out of the body through the mouth via the vocal chords. So if you ever hear a corpse let out a creepy "uhhhhh" shortly after death, don't worry, it's not a zombie. Probably.
4. You could be dissected
Donating your body to science is a respectful decision to make - but it could land your corpse in some weird situations. It's likely that you'll be prodded and poked by medical students, but you could also wind up as a decomposition study in a forest, or even put on display in a museum.
5. You move
Ok, so you don't get up and do a jig, but you do twitch a bit. Until rigour mortis sets in, your muscles can spasm and flinch in ways that don't require brain function. Personally, I hope this happens to me after I kick the bucket just so I can freak out my nearest and dearest one last time.
6. You grow plants
Death is obviously not the cheeriest subject to talk about, but you know what makes it easier to accept? New life! Once you're in the ground, the material and nutrients from your body will be absorbed into the soil, and eventually get consumed by plants and trees. What's more, if those plants then get eaten by bugs or birds, you could end up being pooped all over the world.
7. You become fossilized (sometimes)
While all the meaty bits of us disintegrate pretty quickly once we're dead and buried, our bones stick around for a little longer. Sometimes, however, water gets into the bones during the process, causing them to crystallize. This is why we've still got material from dinosaurs hanging around after so many millions of years.
8. You could get an erection
Obviously, if you have a vagina, this one doesn't apply to you. But, if you've got a penis, your body might become stiff in more ways than one after you die. This is because all the blood settles to the lowest part of a corpse after death and, if a person is face down when they meet their demise, this could be the penis. This phenomenon is known amongst scientists as "priapism", and amongst immature people (such as myself) as a zomboner.
9. Your nails don't grow
You might have heard that your nails still grow after death, but that's not actually true. In fact, what happens is that the skin around your nails shrinks, meaning they appear to get longer, but actually stay the same.
10. You can still hear (maybe)
This one is still only theoretical, as you can't exactly ask dead people about their final moments, but it's believed that the last sense to go from a body is its hearing. If it is true, though, it'd only be for a matter of seconds - so don't go asking to be buried with your iPod or anything.
11. You get less wrinkly
Weirdly enough, some signs of ageing actually disappear once your body has served its purpose. Laughter lines and forehead wrinkles, in particular, can appear to fade after death, as the muscles which hold them in place no longer have any tension. If you're looking for a permanent way to get rid of wrinkles, then, this one is apparently pretty reliable. Not the most practical, though.
So, when your time comes to meet the Grim Reaper, just think about all the weird and wonderful stuff your body will be getting up to after you've gone.