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The Autopsy Of Jane Doe Explained- Is Jane A Lich Or A Witch, Leviticus 20:27, And Did Emma Die?

The Autopsy of Jane Doe, starring Succession’s Brian Cox and The Immaculate Room’s Emile Hirsch, is a classic psychological horror film steeped in supernatural scares. A father and son who act as coroners in their small town have the body of a young woman delivered to them. This unidentified woman was found half buried in the basement of a scene house where three dead bodies were found. The bodies were brutally slain, and they appeared to be trying to escape something locked inside the house with them.

When Tommy and Austin begin Jane’s autopsy, they discover signs of ritualistic torture that are impossible to explain. The more they find, the stranger things become. With a storm bearing down on them, the pair finds themselves locked inside with the corpses. They determine too late, some mysteries shouldn’t be solved. Was Jane a witch and lich or a revenging ghost created from a religious mob’s cruel torture and persecution? Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of The Autopsy Of Jane Doe.

Shortly after beginning the autopsy, Austin and Tommy discover a litany of wounds that can’t be explained. She has broken wrists and ankles, a missing molar, her tongue has been removed, and there are mysterious wounds to her internal organs that do not correspond with injuries outside her body. None of it makes sense, and the men are baffled by their findings. The more they open her up, the stranger things get.

Additionally, the men begin seeing things that couldn’t be there. Dead bodies walk, doors open, and the radio that once said the weather would be beautiful now foretells a terrible storm and plays a disturbing song called Open Up Your Heart(And Let The Sun Shine In) by the McGuire Sisters. Things deteriorate quickly, and as they discover runes on the inside of her skin and written on the cloth used to contain her tooth she was forced to swallow, the two men realize they are trapped with something they can’t understand or defeat.

When Austin sees a ghost, he inadvertently kills his girlfriend Emma, who returned to take him for their date. In despair, the men realize their only hope is to figure out how to do what those in Salem could not. Tommy tries to make a deal with Jane to leave Austin alone in exchange for inflicting pain on him. At first, it seems to work, and he begins being tortured precisely the same way she was. In agonizing pain, he begs Austin to kill him and put him out of his misery. Austin eventually agrees and stabs him with a scalpel. At this point, Austin thinks he is saved when he hears the sheriff trying to unblock the door, but that is all part of the sick illusion Jane built.

He sees his father’s dead body behind him and falls to his death. Outside of the house, the police have discovered their bodies, and the radio reports four straight days of sun. Jane’s body is transported to the next county with all signs of her autopsy healed, and two bodies are removed from inside the house. This indicates that Emma was never in the house, and Austin did not kill her. As the officer drives Jane to the coroner, Open Up Your Heart begins playing on the radio, and just before the screen goes black, a bell rings, and Jane’s toe moves.

The ambiguous film’s ending can be interpreted in several different ways. Jane could have once been an innocent girl tortured and killed, thus creating the evil entity we see today, or she could have willingly done this to herself. Either way, the result is the same. In the place of a young woman, there is now a monstrous, nearly unstoppable force hellbent on pain, destruction, and death. She claimed Austin and Tommy as victims and will continue to claim others. Each time she kills, she grows in power, and the assumption is she will never stop.

Is Jane a Lich or a Witch?

Whether she is an innocent victim turned monster, a witch, or a lich is irrelevant. The result is the same. She is now filled with such rage that the energy from her emotions keeps her alive. If she was innocent, she was poisoned with Jimson Weed, stabbed, cut, brutalized, branded, broken, and burned. The addition of the religious artifacts lends credence to the theory she was an innocent accused and tortured until she became the thing they were most afraid of.

Everything that happened to her could have been self-inflicted by a sorcerer trying to become undead. The mythical lich was a zombie-like creature that was once a wizard who underwent the extreme ritual to tap into powers they couldn’t as a living person. Several things point away from her being a lich, however. Her brain tissue is alive. The undead would not have the same electrical impulses as a living brain. Also, the traditional look of a lich is hideous and desiccated, while Jane looks like a dead girl.

What’s with the song Let The Sun Shine In?

The song heard numerous times in The Autopsy of Jane Doe, was written by Stuart Hamblin in 1954. It was first recorded by the Cowboy Church Sunday School and is a Christian song about letting the light of Jesus into your heart. It is Jane’s theme song of sorts because it either is a sacrilegious use of the song to taunt those who hear it or as a focus for her hatred for the deeply religious. Depending on what you think Jane is, she has a serious amount of rage for those that believe in God, or she is pure evil, and the song is a joke to her. In either case, it is very creepy.

It is also important to note that Tommy called his wife and Austin’s mother Ray because she was a ray of sunshine. She always seemed so upbeat he never saw the pain she was masking. She was deeply depressed and committed suicide. Tommy blames himself for her death. Likely, Jane played this song as yet another reminder that he was inadequate.

Themes of blindness and perceived notions in The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Besides not seeing his wife’s pain, Tommy is also blinded by his experiences. He fails to see that Austin may not want to go into the family business. He also misses that life is for the living, not the dead, and instead of understanding that his son should go on his scheduled date with Emma, he guilts him into staying and assisting with the autopsy. That decision cost both of them their lives. Everything that the men see and hear is part of the illusion that Jane weaves. They are blinded by their professionalism and rationalism at first and later by their fear. Just as Jane was probably unjustly accused of being a witch by those blinded by their religious fervor, the men were found guilty and executed. The difference is their deaths were permanent.

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe

Leviticus 20:27

The cloth that Jane’s tooth was in contained runes, and upon closer scrutiny, the words Leviticus 20:27 and the date 1693. At this point, Tommy and Austin know Jane is a Salem Witch Trial hysteria victim because of her corset-shaped waist, peat moss under her nails, and the date on the cloth. Leviticus refers to the passage in the Christian bible that directly references how witches should be treated. It reads:

Any man or woman who consults the spirits of the dead shall be stoned to death; any of you that do this are responsible for your own death.

King James Bible

Leviticus, in general, is a particularly harsh and judgemental part of the Old Testament Bible that is primarily concerned with priestly rules and codes of conduct. Leviticus has detailed rules about the tests for Leprosy, among other things, and was used brilliantly in Apple TV +’s Servant to establish the fight for good against evil. In The Autopsy Of Jane Doe, it highlights that Jane may have been good once but was turned evil by the true evil here, that of judgemental and fear-mongering men.

We will never know if both men would always die or if Tommy’s deal would have stood had Austin not killed him. Jane may have been angry that Austin robbed her of her chance to continue to torture Tommy and chose to torture him too. Her sole purpose at this point appears to be to inflict pain. Just like the victims of human trafficking, Tommy recalls, Jane was a victim of extreme abuse perpetrated on females. She now stands as a voice of vengeance and rage for all women. The autopsy of Jane Does is currently streaming for free on Tubi.