When a body is found without any signs of violence and the clothes are partially missing what springs to mind? Sexual assault maybe? What about if a naked body is found crammed into the chimney of an abandoned house? Foul play? It could well be a case of when hypothermia can look like murder. One example on this website could be the case of Dylan Parker in 2014.
Strange Disappearances That Are Not So Strange
I have an obsession with how damaging assumption is. It is possibly the only habitually ordered impulse I have. Today I got caught up in the case of Aaron Hedges. Mr Hedges was 38 years old when he went missing in a range of Montana mountains called The Crazies.
Mr Hedges had been hunting with two friends when they became separated. Sadly his kit was found sometime later a long way away and his body was found two years later. Now that case from 2014 has a lot of strange aspects. It was featured in a movie about such disappearances called 411 Hunter. That movie has been a big hit online, but for me it is a bit of a grey area. Not least because of the guy who created it. Personally I would rather trust my subconscious when it comes reliability.
The case is fascinating though and worth a look but use local news sources. Anyway it led on to the topic of the effects of hypothermia.
The temperature and weather became low and severe during the key time on those mountains. Mr Hedges had lots of experience but (unless there was something we do not know) he did some irrational things.
If you look around there are many such cases, especially in countries that have the luxury and the threat of vast open spaces.
Have You Heard of Terminal Burrowing?
I have put the source of this below. When you become hypothermic you do the shivering thing and your thinking slows. The next stage is you stop shivering and your confusion increases. A more sever stage of this can be paradoxical undressing.
This is the stage where your system is working against you. Blood is rushed to your extremities and makes you think you are red hot. So what do you do if you are too hot? Shed clothes. That is precisely what you do at this point as your rational thinking is shot to hell. In the German research I read the next stage can be what they call Terminal Burrowing.
Primal Thinking Takes Over And You Are In Real Trouble
It is suggested that this stage is linked to our origins way back. Animals will burrow in order to create protection from the cold and of course a way of preserving body heat. The problem is this happens after paradoxical undressing. People have been found under beds, in cupboards, in chimneys and even on shelves.
Imagine looking at a decomposed body in the spring. It is naked and crammed on a shelf. If your first thought would have been to check the temperature when they were last seen then top marks. If you already knew enough to wonder if their position was from them climbing there themselves…I am in awe.
How Dumb You Are Depends On Where In The World You Are Standing
I live at about the same North as many cold countries. We ,however, have the Gulf Stream. So Britain is dismal and wet way more than it is ever snow bound and freezing. I can count on the fingers of both hands all the times I have been really desperately cold. Even then most occasions were for a matter of an hour or so. I have been up in the hills in the snow but never stuck there.
My point is that I had no idea how bad it can get for humans in this state. What comes before these stages is serious (almost drunk like) disorientation. If we apply that to many of the cases of mysterious missing. If we further consider it when bodies are recovered a long time after they passed. How many homicides investigations have there been when there was no murder?
I have often pondered cases where the deceased has been so decomposed the cause of death could not be determined. In future I will be checking the weather before I start coming up with theories.
Oh, I just saw how they can tell if hypothermia was the cause of death. It involves finding black spots on the lining of the stomach called Wischnewsky spots. Gruesome.
Even if you guys knew about this it has been a real lesson to me.