Mummified Erect Penis (stories like this are gold dust for me & my MA!) In Bethnal Green in London, just a short journey away from my workplace, is what is known as the ‘Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History’. I’ve mentioned the ostentatious owner, Viktor, on this page before as he was recently crowdfunding for the head of a mummy, apparently costing £666. Well this head trumps THAT head. According to local newspapers this 7-inch mummified penis of a ‘crook’ has gone on display at Wynd’s museum. The erect member has been valued at £100,000 and is said to have come from an English thief who became aroused as he swung from the gibbet during an 18th century hanging. Wynd is able to display it for just one year amongst his unusual collection of exhibits at a cost of £2,500. (It hasn’t been verified by an independent historian though).
So let’s get to the questions I’m constantly asked about erections, dead men, hanging etc. First, rigor mortis doesn’t cause a penis to become erect. Rigor affects muscles and there are no muscles in the penis: erections happen due to two spongy cylindrical chambers called the corpora cavernosa which fill with blood, via the arteries, when aroused. The veins close, keeping the blood in the penis until ejaculation. That said, hanging specifically can cause a different reaction. First, it can be a simple case of blood pooling in the lower half of the body due to gravity and the vertical position of the deceased. Second, hanging itself can cause what is known as a death erection, terminal erection or Angel Lust (but not in all cases. One of our most famous specimens is the Skull of John Bellingham who was hanged and his archival notes state he had only a partial erection. I carried out autopsies on many hanging deaths and only occasionally witnessed these erections). This type is said to be due to pressure on the cerebellum – which explains why some people try to obtain the effect with auto-erotic asphyxiation - but can also occur due to injuries to the spinal cord. Crucifixion victims were also said to display this type of erection too.
#humanremains #erection #death #display #research