Segments in this Video

Corpse Mutilation in London (03:53)


Attacking dead bodies in Britain began in pagan times and continued to the 19th century. John Williams committed suicide in prison. His corpse was paraded through town and staked.

Staking Cases (02:21)

Parliamentary archives reveal that the British government was complicit in bodies being staked after people committed suicide. An act passed in 1823 outlawed this act.

Decapitated Bodies from Pagan Times (02:32)

Robinson examines Scottish skeletons from the 2nd century. Evidence shows their heads were cut off after death.

Plague at Alnwick Castle (04:57)

A death account from the 12th century gives clues as to why Christian people were afraid of the dead. Bodies continued to look alive after death.

Bloated Pig Corpse (02:41)

Robinson digs up a dead animal for a gruesome experiment in order to understand why corpses appeared alive to people in 12th century Britain.

Decomposing Corpse (03:39)

A dead pig illustrates how a bloated body could have appeared alive to those in 12th century Britain.

General Resurrection (03:40)

The doctrine of the Church was considered fact in medieval times. Jesus's body came to life during mass. Doom paintings depict the end times when bodies are raised.

Bleeding Corpse Superstition (03:38)

A special effects team recreates the corpse of Henry VI from Shakespeare's "Richard III." It was believed that the body of a murder victim had the power to identify its killer.

Legal Recognition of Superstition (02:37)

A historian and a pathologist explain what people believed was happening when a corpse bled. There was a belief in body, soul, and a life force that could contain memories of its own murder.

Cannibal Cures (03:00)

A medical historian shares recipes people used to transform dead bodies into medicine from Roman times to the 18th century.

More Cannibal Cures (03:18)

Consuming skull shavings and brains were two ways that people tried to gain vitality from dead bodies prior to the 18th century.

Death Rituals (02:22)

Medieval people performed religious protocols to ensure a good death.

Fear of Bad Death (03:46)

A priest guides Robinson through the process of the Last Right needed to have a good death in medieval times.

Ongoing Superstition (02:34)

People who committed suicide in Britain before the 19th century were feared. In 1823, the government stopped corpse mutilation.

On the Next Episode... (00:20)

Watch a preview of the upcoming episode about spirits.

Credits: The Undead: Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters (00:43)

Credits: The Undead: Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters

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The Undead: Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters

Part of the Series : Tony Robinson's Gods and Monsters
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Tony Robinson encounters corpses mutilated after death, a twelfth century plague-spreading zombie, and cannibalistic king of England in his quest to discover why our ancestors were so afraid of the dead. Contains graphic images. Some content may be objectionable.

Length: 48 minutes

Item#: BVL55282

ISBN: 978-0-81609-795-1

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.