A GERMAN scientist famed for his work preserving dead bodies wants his own corpse to be put on show in London.
Terminally ill Gunther von Hagens was dubbed Dr Death for his invention of plastination — a novel way to preserve corpses with silicone and plastics internally so they do not decay or smell.
His very first exhibition in Japan drew more than three million visitors and led to the creation of Body Worlds.
Now his wife, German anatomist Dr Angelina Whalley, has spoken of her shock when he asked her to personally treat his corpse.
She said: “He said to me, ‘Angelina, you are entitled to freeze me down to -25C for one year, but after that time you really need to put your hands on me because otherwise I will get freeze burn.’ So I have one year for mourning and then I will have to do it.”
“So I have one year for mourning and then I will have to do it”
Dr Angelina Whalley
It was not a prospect she took lightly.
She added: “Of course, in the very beginning I thought, Gunther, you are kidding me! This is something I would never be able to do.”
But she came to realise she would be “finalising his life’s work”.
“I understand now that it’s more an appreciation and an expression of love for me to do it,” she told the Observer.
He said he would prefer his body to be fixed in a welcoming pose near the entrance of exhibitions, which have more than 47 million visitors globally.
These corpses frozen in time are in turn described as “creepy”, “beautiful” and “life-changing” by visitors.
In 2002 Dr von Hagens publicly dissected human cadavers on Channel 4.
Despite more than 130 complaints, he had hit follow-up shows including BBC Four’s Autopsy: Life and Death in 2006.
Body Worlds in the London Pavilion opens on October 6.