Researching Takes Writers to Some Odd Info…
I never know what piece of information I’m going to have to look into while writing stories. Just this past week, I learned about Incorruptible, those are bodies that appear saintly after death such as St. Bernadette—1844-1879 and St. Charbel—1898. Of course, both are known religious figures, but what I’m referring to is the strange phenomenon associated with them after each was exhumed/or about to be. In medieval times, Christian saints were exhumed to canonization for sainthood or sometimes for financial gain. Bones became powerful relics, talismans, for churches, cathedrals, and chapels. Worshippers were drawn to them for healing, forgiveness, and redemption.
The bodies were often put on display under glass where some remain even today. Usually, their skin is discolored or broken down some. Sometimes, they are enhanced by wax. Incorruptibility, actually, has occurred in those never buried as well. Although, someone embalmed cannot be counted as belonging to such. It is not known what causes the strange effect. Often, sweet smells known as the odor of sanctity, no apparent rigor mortis, stigmata, or martyrdom wounds that bleed, movement, and physical warmth long after their death are noted. The most recorded, however, is an inner radiance of the body.
In St. Bernadette’s case, over the years she was exhumed—1909 and 1925—she retained a remarkable preserved state. St. Charbel’s, a Lebanese hermit, corpse which both sweated and bled was discovered in the St. Maron monastery in Annaya, Turkey after dazzling lights lit up his graves a couple months after his death. Upon his canonization by Pope Pious XI in 1925, Charbel’s grave lit up like the sun. The brightness didn’t fade for 45 days afterwards. Today, a bloodlike liquid laps from the body onto a cloth kept for the purpose and has thought to have been the cause for many a healing.
I had been looking for details on what to do in a battle scene with certain corpses unearthed from their graves that had not quite deteriorated as they should and even gave off a glow. What I’ll end up putting on the pages probably will be no more than a sentence or two but my research led me to a place I didn’t expect or know much about. I think I’ve heard about both saints in the past, but I didn’t really delve into their stories until it became significant to what I was writing. I’ve researched a lot of different supernatural phenomena such as ghosts, devils, and angels, among other more tangible things, but I’m never quite prepared when I hit upon something unusual that just might fit into my storyline. It’s kind of like striking gold.
What are some of the odd things you’ve ran across in your own research? Do you believe in Incorruptibility? Why or why not?