1649 (pre): Serpent found in Sealed Coffin

In a translation published in 1649 of older manuscripts by Ambroise Paré [1510-1590], chief surgeon to Henry III of France, Paré noted that he had read a report that a workman of Avignon, France, opened a lead coffin that had been soldered closed such that there was no opening to allow the passage of even air. Yet when it was opened, the workman received a bite from a serpent that was alive within the coffin with the dead man. The bite nearly killed the workman.

        Paré was of the opinion that this incident lended proof to his own theory that live serpents could spontaneously generate from any putrefying corpse (though he felt this happened especially more often with corpses of human males). Frankly, if the incident did occur, it would be nice to know exactly how long the coffin had been sealed; otherwise the suspicion is that a snake was in the coffin to begin with, and didn't have enough time to suffocate or starve before the coffin was opened again... but the odds are good no more information will be found on this matter.

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