Mortician tells of ‘worst death ever’ – the man boiled alive in open manhole

Mortician Caitlin Doughty’s popular Ask A Mortician YouTube Channel covers all aspects of death and the funeral business. But Caitlin’s most popular clip is probably the one in which she discusses the worst way to die.

Historically, Caitlin says, the grimmest death was probably scaphism – an ancient Persian technique designed to make the victim’s death as long, painful and lingering as possible.

The condemned prisoner would be sealed up in a wooden shell and covered in honey before being force-fed milk and honey until they contracted explosive diarrhoea – attracting hundreds of insects and leaving them to burrow into the flesh of the victim all while laying thousands of eggs which would have hatched into maggots.

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Rats and other vermin would soon join the party, adding to the victim’s misery, and torturers would return every day to ladle more milk and honey into their mouths.

The closest modern equivalent to that horrifying fate, Caitlin says, is the story of a man and his mother from Xinxiang, in central China.

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In 2014 the man’s wife bought a new mobile phone but accidentally dropped it into a cesspit. He chivalrously jumped in to retrieve it but was overcome by fumes and passed out.

His mother leaped into the cesspit to try to help her son, but also fainted. She was followed by others and in all six people were eventually pulled from the pit – two of them dead.

But the most horrifying death of modern times, Caitlin says, is that of a man who was literally boiled alive after a squabble with his mate.

Caitlin asked medical examiner Dr Judy Melinek to tell her the worst thing she’d ever seen.

Judy said: "Two buddies were out drinking. One guy thinks the other guy is hitting on his girlfriend so he starts beating him up and throws him into an open manhole.

"There is a broken water main nearby so at the bottom of the manhole, there is a pool of boiling water.

"When emergency services arrived the man was still alive reaching up and screaming for help."

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"They couldn't get him out for another three hours," Judy continued. "When they finally did they took his temperature and it read 125 degrees but likely only because that's as high as the thermometer goes.

"When Dr Judy did his autopsy he was like a lobster. His organs literally cooked as he had been boiled alive."

After that horrible tale, Caitlin said she thought she’d leave viewers with one fun fact to cheer them up. Her fact was: "After a few days your cat is much more likely to eat your dead body than your dog.”


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