Death is the great unknown, the ultimate one-way door. No matter how much we learn about physics or biology, the mystery of death remains intact. That's why this week, io9 is going beyond the veil, to learn everything there is to know about death. What is it, why do we fear it, and what does it actually mean to be dead? Come take this journey with us.

Top image: Peter Clark/Flickr.

Powdered Mummy, Gladiator Blood, and other Historical Medicines Made from Human Corpses

An Adam's apple a day keeps the doctor away? History is full of bizarre medical remedies, but few are as gruesome as the field of corpse medicine. Many doctors, from ancient times to modern, prescribed concoctions made of human organs, salves of human fat, and the ground-up remains of embalmed corpses to treat a host of ailments and promote good health. More »

Why You Probably Won't Experience Your Own Traumatic Death

Ever wonder what it would be like to get shot in the head, or have your face smash into a car's windshield? Well, you can stop wondering, because you'll never know - even if it does happen to you. More »

The Meaning of Death: How do we know someone is no longer alive?

At what point does a person actually die? That depends on who you ask. To one person, it's the moment the heart stops beating. To another, it's when the brain enters a "vegetative" state. But a heart can be forced to keep beating; and how dead is a person, really, if she can continue to grow, develop, and even give birth after experiencing "brain death"? In search of answers, we turned to Dick Teresi. More »

Could the "Touch of Death" work in real life?

You've seen Kill Bill's five-finger death punch, and watched Spock perform the Vulcan nerve grip a million times. Are these techniques merely fiction - or could someone mysteriously subdue an attacker with a single skilled blow? More »

The Science of Ghosts

In this week's io9 show, we delve into the science of ghosts — and the results may haunt you. We talk to author Mary Roach (Spook) about the environmental factors that could explain ghost sightings. We discuss why so many io9 readers think ghosts might exist. And we show how you can create a real-life ghost haunting, using the experiment of Pepper's Ghost. More »

Where the Dead Go To Drink: The Best Haunted Bars, Clubs and Pubs

Wanna grab a drink with someone who's passed beyond the veil? Then we've got the perfect list of watering holes for you. We've rounded up some of the more infamous haunted gin joints (still operating today), for everyone who's looking for a paranormal drinking experience. More »

How to Have a Near Death Experience

Nobody knows what happens to us after death - but plenty of people believe they've had a sneak peek. As doctors get better and better at resuscitating people who have reached death's door, the number of people who report having a Near Death Experience (NDE) has gone way up. More »

10 Reasons Not to Bring Someone Back from the Dead

When you've got amazing technologies or strong magical powers, death doesn't have to have the final word. But is bringing the dead back to life always a good idea? We look the reasons it's better to say no to resurrection. More »

How a Zombie Outbreak Could Happen in Real Life

Could zombies actually exist? What would it take for human corpses to rise up and hunt the living? We often think zombies are scientifically impossible - but actually, they're just very implausible. Here's one way The Walking Dead could happen in real life. More »

So you want to hang your skeleton in public?

What if you want to make sure your alma mater, or your best friend, gets your skeleton after you die? There are a few ways you can make sure your skeleton carries on having adventures when you're no longer using it. Take a look at how to donate your skeleton! More »

How to Tell if Your City is Dying

Detroit just took another huge step towards the abyss, with its proposal to turn off street lights across half the city. This is the nightmare scenario for anybody who loves a particular city: that one day, it'll fail. Chances are, if you live in (or near) a city, you already worry over every little sign that your town is getting less cool, less vibrant, or just crappier. But how can you tell if you're city is actually in a death spiral, or in danger of going into one? More »

People Who Survived Brushes With Death (And How They Did It)

TV and movies are full of people who suffer "mortal" wounds and then get up and keep fighting for another half hour. (Like Buffy in the Buffy series finale.) This always seems amazingly unrealistic. But actually in real life, lots of people survive apparently fatal injuries, and walk away. What allows some people to stay alive after suffering a mishap that ought to be deadly? More »

Spend a lovely day with the kids at Thailand's Hell torture theme park

90 minutes outside of Bangkok sits the Wang Saen Suk Hell Park, one of several "hell gardens" that can be found throughout Thailand. At this tourist destination, you can pack a picnic and ramble around the charming sculpture garden, which depicts sinners being eviscerated wholesale in the Buddhist underworld. More »

The Future of Graveyards

Owing to a number of pressures including dwindling land space and environmental concerns, cemeteries are increasingly finding they have no choice but to adapt. Here's how graveyards of the 21st Century are starting to change into something that barely resembles their previous incarnations. More »

The Overwhelming Weirdness Of 1800s Ghost Mother Photography

Even in the late 1800s, getting a confused baby to sit still for a photograph forced otherwise normal parents to behave like lunatics. Sometimes it required the mother to hide herself under a carpet so it looked like their child was sitting upright of his or her own volition. More »

Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories That Can Help You Deal With Death

Fantastic stories often explore the darkest frontier of them all: Here are 12 other great stories to help you to cope with mortality. More »

The Economic Problems With Cryogenically Freezing Your Body

Are you looking forward to one day preserving your freshly expired body with cryoprotective fluids and waiting for revival, decades or centuries in the future? Several cryopreservation companies cater to this option, but how does one fund this process? More »

The Most Undignified Deaths in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Death comes for everyone - but it doesn't always come in style. Sometimes instead of a heroic death or a cool death, a fictional character will get kind of a crappy death. (Often literally.) Sometimes a beloved character will die in a totally motifying fashion. Here are 10 of the most undigified deaths in science fiction and fantasy. More »

The Adventures of Abraham Lincoln's Corpse

Abraham Lincoln's assassination sent a nation into mourning, and was followed by a two week funeral tour by train car. But Lincoln's body did not find rest at the end of this procession. Everyone from thieves to politicians tried to take control of the corpse - even decades after it was finally buried. Here is the macabre tale of the journeys taken by Lincoln's corpse over the decades before 1901, when at last it came to rest in a ten foot block made of cement and steel. More »

Who is buried in the Hoover Dam?

Over 100 workers died constructing the Hoover Dam - and legend has it, some of them are buried within its concrete facade. Is there anything to these rumors? More »

How did they really die? Reinvestigating the deaths of the famous and infamous

Hosted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Historical CPC has met annually since 1995 to review the case of a historical figure. Charles Darwin, Edgar Allan Poe, Florence Nightingale, Akhenaten, Joan of Arc, and President Abraham Lincoln have all been patients in recent years. This year's case was Vladimir Lenin, whose cause of death was known. Why, then, was Lenin selected? More »

The Capitol architect wanted to reanimate George Washington's dead body

George Washington may have been America's first president, but was he nearly America's first zombie-in-chief? If William Thornton, physician and designer of the US Capitol, had had his way, Washington's body would have been subjected a scientific experiment designed to bring the deceased former president back to life. More »

Greatest Random Out-of-Nowhere Deaths in Science Fiction and Fantasy

The great thing about science fiction and fantasy is that they're full of surprises - you just never know what the universe will have in store. Like, sometimes, a totally random, surprising, shocking death. Here are some of our favorite totally random, didn't-see-that-coming deaths from science fiction and fantasy. More »

The Weirdest Ways That Ancient Rulers Died

Many historical leaders snuffed it in bizarre, insane ways, from being smothered by coats to, yes, drinking molten gold. Here are 10 completely strange and terrible deaths that befell emperors, tyrants, and leaders in the ancient world. More »

In the 1800s, binding a book with your own dead skin made a lovely gift

Skin-bound books may sound like weird artifacts that belong in Evil Dead movies or Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. But from the 1600s to 1800s, these suede-like tomes were less necromancy, more commemorative plate. And hell, converting yourself into a human moleskine upon kicking the bucket made for a heartfelt present. More »