An Incorruptible is a person whose body is supernaturally being protected by a paranormal force usually after death. Incorruptible bodies have been found mostly by the Catholic Church but they also exist in Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim religions.
Here is a list of some famous incorruptibles:
- St. Bernadette Soubirous
At the age of fourteen, Bernadette was out collecting firewood when she had a vision of a young lady. The stranger informed Bernadette about an underground spring that had miraculous healing powers. Apparently, Bernadette tasted the water from the spring but it had no apparent special effect on her. She told the Bishop and the bishop spread the news that Bernadette had talked to the Holy Virgin Mary. While the hidden spring became a famous pilgrimage location, Bernadette could not bring her self to believe that the spring had any magical powers. Bernadette died at the age of thirty-five in the year 1879 after many years of service to the convent of St. Gildard in Nevers. This is a photograph taken on the day she was buried:
And this is what she looks like today:
She appears to be in the exact condition that she was on the day that she died even after being buried in a damp grave for over 100 years. She was originally exhumed in 1909 because she had become eligible for sainthood. Despite not being embalmed, she remains in near perfect condition. Elaborate hoax? Natural preservation? Miracle Water? or Divine Intervention?
Unfortunately, the church has not allowed for any independent tests to prove the authenticity of the body. Skeptics have noticed a wax layer on the body and face and this could show that her decomposed features may have been “repaired”. However, a Doctor Comte was asked to examine the body in 1925 and he stated,
“What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments, and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet, when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon.”
- Hambo Lama Itigelov Dashi-Dhorzho Itigilov was a Buddhist Lama who lived in Russia. Well versed in medicine and philosophy, he set out to help people in need by setting up hospitals, tending to the sick and taking part in many charitable undertakings. When he turned 75, he told his students to meditate with him because he was to die soon. He gave them specific instructions to bury him in a cedar box while he was still sitting in the lotus position. He also told him to exhume him after many years. He died soon after and his disciples did what they were told. He was buried in 1927.
In 2002, members of his monastery exhumed Itigelov’s body and were surprised to find that he was remarkably preserved. Some Buddhists believe that he asked to be exhumed because he knew that his body would have been preserved. Now the body sits in his original monastery and still shows no sign of decomposing.
Although Itigilov’s body was never embalmed or mummified, it is said that his corpse still bleeds if punctured. The Buddhist monks approach him as a living person and shake hands with him. Some devotees even claim that Itigilov is still alive, only immersed in a hibernation- or nirvana-like state. “Buddhists say that only the most advanced masters can fall into some particular condition before death and purify themselves so that his dead body could not decay” . Some scientists explain the state of Itigilov’s body by abnormal quantities of bromine discovered in tissues and muscles.
On 23 April 2003, the Buddhist conference recognized the body of Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov as one of the sacred Buddhist objects of Russia. At that time, they laid the foundation stone for a temple entitled Itigel Khambyn ordon and consecrated to Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov. As of 2005, Itigilov’s body was kept outdoors, in contact with other people, without preserving any temperature or humidity regimens.
Catherine of Bologna
Catherine was both on September 8, 1413 and died March 9th, 1463. She was a talented artist and writer and claimed to have seen several visions of Mary, God and Satan. She was exhumed 18 days after her death after multiple reports of miracles around her grave. Her apparently unembalmed body is still on display in the chapel of Poor Clares in Bologna.
For more stories about Catholic Incorruptibles, you may wish to purchase the following book. The book is fairly one sided since it is written by a person who believes that there is irrefutable proof of the authenticity of all the Incorruptibles.