Dead body
Body was mutilated and Jha's family was unable to identify him initially. (Representational Image)Creative Commons

There has never been a definite answer to what happens after we die. But while it continues to be one of the biggest mysteries of life, there are certain things that the human body goes through after death, and growing is not one of them. reported, that certain movies and media platforms have over the years shown hair and nail keep growing even after a person has died. And it has been a common topic of curiosity among many, too.

The idea could almost be referred to as an urban legend ever since it was portrayed in All Quiet on the Western Front, where writer Erich Remarque described the "process". Then, in the 1959 movie The Tingler, Dr Warren Chapin (played by Vincent Price) stated that hair and nails do continue to grow even after a person has died.

But the idea was not always stayed restricted to media only; morgue workers and other people who have worked with corpses claim to have noticed people's hair and nails appearing to have grown even after their passing.

hair and nails
Representational image.Creative Commons.

Metro used scientific analysis to debunk this concept.

When a person dies, their heart stops pumping oxygen around their body. This cuts off the production of glucose in the body as oxygen is necessary for the process.

Glucose is burned when hair and nails grow. The lack of its production meaning the energy supply required for hair and nails to grow is also cut off. So, it's scientifically impossible for them to grow after a person has died.

However, there's an explanation as to why this myth has circulated and persisted over the years. It is most likely due to a reaction in the body during the decomposition process, the Metro report explained.

After death, as time passes, the skin begins to retract due to dehydration in the body. This happening around the nail beds and hair follicles could give the impression that they are longer.

Usually, in cases of open-casket funerals, morticians apply moisturizing cream on the deceased person's body to make it seem like the skin hasn't been affected by dehydration. This becomes especially tough to do if the person has a beard.

But that aside, the concept is just a myth. There's no "paranormal activity" going on to make hair and nails grow after one dies.