Oh, dead bodies. Whatever do we do with you? Taboo explores disposal, suicide, and life after death, but most fascinatingly takes us inside them—to the lab of Gunther von Hagens, who first brought the world innards on display.

The process behind plastination, von Hagens' method of preserving and displaying down-to-the-tiniest-nerve his corpses for science, has long been a curiosity for the millions who've visited "Body World" exhibitions. Here National Geographic gives us a firsthand view of what it takes to go from regular old cadaver to remarkable scientific spectacle. Illuminating video below. *Note: The procedure is naturally a bit gruesome.


Discussing the controversies surrounding "Body Worlds" and its use of museum gallery as final resting place, von Hagens says, "This is not a horror show; it's just the opposite. I want to open the hearts of people to themselves. To understand life, we must embrace death." But despite any justifications, his native Germany is where much of the contentions have arisen. In many parts of the country it is law that all human remains must be buried—anything else would be indecent.

Other detractors say it's unethical, amoral, and despicable to profit off this treatment of human dead. There have also been concerns over the sourcing of the bodies. Plastinated displays potentially being executed Chinese prisoners or other nonconsenting parties: definitely a concern. But if everything's legit, it seems only beneficial to enlighten people on the stuff that's all up in 'em they'll (hopefully) never see.

Anyway. Of course we again are taken to Nepal. It seems like the Taboo crew just went to Nepal for a couple months taping something to go in every episode. But the Nepalese treatment of the dead is really pretty different. Here cremations occur in public, on the river's edge, with the family literally burning the face off their departed loved one as the first step in moving to the next world. This may seem unnerving, but it's another example of an openness about death reducing its stigma.

Additionally, we learned about suicide. Here are some fun facts:
· Korea has the highest suicide rate among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries.
·Last year, there were 12,174 suicides, which is an average of 33 people killing themselves daily.
·Roughly 25 to 50 percent of suicide victims have previously attempted to kill themselves.
Read more.

Well, that's it for this week. Next week is all about bodies too, but this time it's living, naked ones. Yesss.

National Geographic: Taboo