The residents of the small Norwegian town of Longyearbyen have to cope with some serious problems. Young children develop mobility problems thanks to wearing layers of heavy clothing. Polar bears attack everything on sight and people aren’t allowed to shoot them unless in self-defense. And last but not least, people are banned from dying in Longyearbyen.
The town’s graveyard stopped accepting new inhabitants 70 years ago, after it was discovered that the permafrost prevented the bodies from following the normal decomposition process and were instead remaining perfectly preserved. Longyearbyen is located on an island between Norway’s coastline and the North Pole and suffers almost unbearably low temperatures during the cold season. Since the graveyard is closed for business, people who are near death are transported to other parts of the country in order to be put to rest in a different cemetery.
A few years ago a group of scientists decided to conduct a study on the permafrost phenomenon which preserves the corpses in the graveyard. They examined tissue from a person who died in the tow, and found that his body had preserved the Influenza virus since his death in a 1917 epidemic.