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Saponification; a woman turned into soap!

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posted on May, 31 2010 @ 10:31 PM
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I just found this article and video about a woman whose body's fat turned into soap after a reaction with chemicals in the soil.
Science calls this phenomenon saponification. It is when fat tissues chemically change into adipocere. This can happen indifferently if you have been embalmed or not.


The body, dubbed "Soap Lady," has been on display for more than a century at the Mutter Museum, a former haven for medical students but now a Philadelphia tourist attraction featuring thousands of medical oddities.


It is in the blue section of the page, bottom right.

coolscienceclub.tripod.com...

You can see the remains of the Soap Lady in the last half of this video.

youtube.com...

You can read about adipocere here.

en.wikipedia.org...

Even when dead this seems like a downside of life... I'll be glad to simply return to the soil as an active ingredient for future generations!


[edit on 31-5-2010 by Aresh Troxit]




posted on May, 31 2010 @ 10:46 PM
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reply to post by Aresh Troxit
 


Interesting find, this is the first I have heard of this condition. Thanks for posting it.


I found a pic of the Soap Lady and a little more info on this:




In Lake Crescent, Washington, a murdered woman's body came to the surface of the lake three years after her death in 1937, and a witness said, "She had the consistency of... Ivory soap."

But how could a body, submerged in water, be acted upon by anaerobic bacteria? One would think the oxygen in the water would preclude it. A very likely answer is that there is a thermocline, a layering effect where the upper, changeable parts of a body of water separate out from the deeper, colder, temperature-stable areas; these remain undisturbed for long periods of time. This means the oxygen mixing that goes on at the upper reaches of the water doesn't make its way to the lower reaches. I suspect the cold environment and the stillness, also mean that any aerobic bacteria use up extra oxygen until there isn't enough to support more oxygen-thirsty life forms.

So when Hallie Illingworth's body was pulled out of that cold Washington lake, she looked almost perfect. "She was full formed as in life; what had been an attractive woman; even her mass of auburn hair seemed strangely natural, almost untouched in appearance by the watery grave from which she had just been removed." She was white as marble, almost shiny in her perfection. If she were a saint, it would be safe that she would be designated incorruptible.

Grave wax (adipocere) tends to be a strange substance, smooth and, when it's had time, relatively hard and brittle (not always; it depends on the conditions). The Soap Lady is considered so fragile that they don't dare move her unless absolutely necessary. It tends to begin on the outside of the corpse - the longer the body has been interred, the deeper the saponification penetrates.


Source

ETA: Source Link

[edit on 5/31/2010 by UberL33t]



posted on May, 31 2010 @ 10:56 PM
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reply to post by UberL33t
 


Great find, and good add with the Grave wax paragraph!

It made me think of "mummies" that were found in a swamp, in Europe. I guess it is likely their bodies suffered a similar fate as I recall they were reported to look "perfect", even after a few hundred years... I read it in a book a looong time ago...
Can't remember what...



posted on May, 31 2010 @ 11:44 PM
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Saponification isn't uncommon, even in living people, believe it or not.

Whenever there is injury to the pancreas (either due to trauma or ischemia, the most common two sources of pancreatic injury), the organ will release pancreatic enzymes,which can react with fatty acids in the mesentery nearby and create small nodules of soapy material.



posted on May, 31 2010 @ 11:51 PM
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reply to post by UberL33t
 


That looks like a photo of Otzi. The iceman in Bolzano italy. I have postcards from when I saw him (wasn't allowed to take pictures, but here is a link about him off of wikipedia.

en.wikipedia.org...

I was expecting the soap lady to be a bit more rounder.


edit to add: Are you sure that picture isn't Otzi? Every time I search for the Lake Crsecent soap lady, I get photos of what she looked like alive, not as a soap mummy. Is the website you got the photo reliable, because i'm not finding any photos on the historical Washington sites?



[edit on 1-6-2010 by collietta]



posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 12:10 AM
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reply to post by UberL33t
 


That's not the soap lady. Watch the short video in the OP (it's only 45 seconds long) and you can see her. She looks more like a bar of Irish Spring



posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 12:57 AM
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reply to post by UberL33t
 


This photo is of Otzi, not the soap lady. The person who put this photo in their blog on the Lake Crescent soap corpse has it wrong.
I just went to the Tyrol museum website and I compared the photo of Otzi lying down with the photo posted in your comment. It's the same photo, just turned vertical.
Here's the photo off of the Tyrol website. It's the same off of wikipedia.

www.archaeologiemuseum.it...



posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 09:50 AM
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Thanks everyone! I fell asleep on my keyboard last night while trying to remember who the picture represented. I had a hunch about Otzi, but didn't remember his name...


At least, the written info posted by UberL33t is valid.

VneZonyDotsupa, I didn't know it was common, and I wouldn't wish it on any one! Is it treatable?



posted on Jun, 1 2010 @ 01:06 PM
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reply to post by Aresh Troxit
 


Oh, sure, it's treatable. Usually, the nodules are relatively small and close to one another, so when the surgeon opens you up to repair/remove the pancreas, they can excise the bits of necrotic saponification, as well.



posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 08:02 AM
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reply to post by Aresh Troxit
 



a woman whose body's fat turned into soap after a reaction with chemicals in the soil.


OMFG! The Earth is evil! Why would it allow chemicals to exist in the soil that are known to cause fat to turn into soap!

When will this madness cease!

Sorry about that... Other than that S&F for the interesting article. I think it's a kind of cool phenomena, maybe we can make a soap weapon or something.



posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 09:21 AM
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reply to post by sirnex
 


I had the thought of this being weaponized...

Much more interesting comment here than "somewhere" else...



posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by Aresh Troxit
reply to post by sirnex
 


I had the thought of this being weaponized...

Much more interesting comment here than "somewhere" else...


Oh, OK.. so your a hypocrite or just worried it might be done?



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