Most people know that a dead body is cremated in hindu religion. In the process the corpse of the deceased is placed on a pyre made of wood and set to fire until the whole body burns completely leaving only a few pieces of bones known as ASTHI.

Image showing Cremation of a dead body in Hinduism

Waking up of bodies

Stories of dead bodies waking up the pyre are as old as the ritual itself. People proclaim that they have seen movement in corpses while they are burning. If you observe the cremation process you are likely to feel that the limbs of the body suddenly straighten up and then fall down.

Does this mean the dead body is trying to wake up ? If not, then what is the reason for this? How do dead bodies move even when there is no life ? The prime reason for this strange phenomena is PUGILISTIC STANCE.

What is Pugilistic Stance ?

The Pugilistic Pose

Pugilistic Stance is when the body acquires a pose similar to a boxer protecting his chest commonly known as Pugilistic pose. It is sometimes observed that during the cremation process the dead body suddenly acquires Pugilistic pose.

How dead bodies appear to wake up

When the dead body is set to fire in a pyre the temperature raises above 800°C. At around 670°C the arm muscles of the corpse contracts and acquires pugilistic pose. This accompanied by separation of body parts due to combustion gives a view as if the dead body is moving or trying to wake up. Since this phenomena happens rarely under a certain set of circumstances only this provides foundation for stories of dead bodies waking up.