As a follow up to an earlier article on Galvanism, I wanted to introduce you to a couple of macabre science experiments that you can do at home. And I will explain the science behind this phenomenon.
A quick recap of the previous story on 19th century Galvanism. It involved initial experiments by Luigi Galvani (which is where the term originated) in which he caused dismembered frogs legs to twitch and move when an electrical signal was applied to them. Later, his nephew would take it a huge step forward, applying his uncle’s theories and experiments to decapitated human heads (from freshly executions of criminals).
In the experiments we’re about to describe, we utilize similar principals, and once again frog legs and a cephalopod (basically a squid. We don’t recommend a decapitated human head).
In the videos below, adding salt to freshly killed and skinned frogs legs cause them to twitch and move. If you watch closely, you can actually see the muscles contracting– without the need to be attached to a body or brain. The second video is similar, with a cephalopod (squid), and far more dramatic. In this video, soya sauce (which is almost entirely salt) is poured over the decapitated squid, and the creature actual stands right up and moves around.
Warning: these videos are NOT for the squeamish!
In the freshly killed, it can take days for all of the cells in the body to die. That means there is potential energy in these cells, and they are, in fact, still alive.
The reaction seen in the videos is an automatic response to the sodium chloride (salt). The recently deceased squid and frog legs may lack a brain, but its muscle cells, are still capable of receiving electrical commands.
Charles Grisham, a chemistry professor at the University of Virginia comments:
Most of the tissue in an organism that’s recently dead, recently killed, is actually still alive. In this case (referring to the cephalopod), even though the brain function is missing, the tissues will still respond to stimuli.
This is essentially creating an electrical stimulus through a chemical reaction (as described in the earlier Galvanism article).
The squid’s muscles still retain Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main source of energy for muscle contractions. Therefore, when the sodium in soy sauce is absorbed into the creature’s body, it triggers muscle spasms that make the cephalopod stand up. Of course, a specimen must be fairly fresh for soy sauce to elicit this reaction.
For those that question whether or not a body with little to no brain activity (as in a dead human being) could get up and move around, this experiment is for you. Combined with drugs like Ambien (as described in a recent article), which kickstarts what consciousness is still available in human beings, and some variation on this Galvanistic experiment, and throw in a cocktail of fungi and other brain controlling bacteria/virus/chemicals, and you just might have a recipe for a zombie.