We’ve all heard of couples who are close, but this one may have been a little too close for their own good. From the Inquisitir comes the story of a Belgium woman was so distraught over her hubby’s passing that she decided to keep his death a secret and slept alongside his badly decomposing body for an entire year.
The husband, whose name is given only as Marcel H. (it may be hard to recognize from the recent snapshot shown) was 79 at the time of his death. According to the article, he became mummified in his bed at the couple’s Brussels apartment. Remarkably, neighbors didn’t detect anything strange, such as the noxious odor of putrefying flesh, nor did they notice that Marcel was not around. Suspicions were not aroused until the landlord of the apartment, cognizant that the couple had not paid rent since 2012, dropped in for a visit.
The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition, prompting people to wonder how the unidentified 69-year-old woman managed to sleep next to her soulmate’s grisly remains.
A statement by Philippe Boxho, a pathologist at the Forensic Center in Liege, added to the mystery of how Marcel could go unnoticed for so long:
A body can mummify in a dry, warm environment. It takes at least a week to reach such a state. In this case the body had rotten [sic] in the bed and his internal organs had melted and liquefied.
This liquid would have spread and the bed would have been swarming with insects as the body rotted, this would have been a real shame. Even though the smell of human decay is quite specific, many people equate that smell to the smell of garbage and once the body has become rotten the smell does decrease significantly. This is not the first time I have made a discovery of this kind, [sic] I’ve been faced with two or three other occasions where people have continued to sleep with the corpse of their partner.
Authorities are not able to say with any certainty that the grieving wife is mentally ill, adding that that this may have her only way of coping with grief.
Howard Portnoy has written for HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, and The George Espenlaub Show.
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