|BL Harley 3140, f. 39r (14th c.)|
We all know that the old ways are frequently the best; that may turn out to be the case here, but I think we need further testing. I would personally rather not be declared dead based on the onion test.
"Moreover, if there is any doubt as to whether a person is or is not dead, apply lightly roasted onion to his nostrils, and if he be alive, he will immediately scratch his nose."
Johannes de Mirfield, Breviarium Bartholomei (c. 1380-95)
via Ask The Past.
Of course, it's impossible to think about being not quite dead without thinking of the Monty Python (wiki) "Not Dead Yet" scene from Holy Grail: