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The Autopsy Of Jane Doe Theory That Has Horror Fans Scratching Their Heads

2016's memorably chilling horror movie "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" features one heck of a twisted premise. A young woman is found dead at the scene of a bloody homicide and is taken in to be autopsied by a father/son coroner team. Told they need a cause of death for the woman by morning, they're forced to cancel their evening plans to perform the autopsy. But this Jane Doe (Olwen Kelly) turns out to be anything but a placid victim. By the end of the evening, blood is spattered everywhere, and it's uncertain who will make it out alive.

The movie's creepy and mysterious nature has naturally given birth to some fan theories. One such post, made on Reddit's horror community /r/horror, posits an entirely different ending to the film that gives it a whole new eerie — and even sympathetic — twist. What the theory suggests might make you look at all of the mayhem in the movie in a brand new light — even if it leaves you scratching your head.

Is Jane as innocent as she seems?

The Following Article Contains Spoilers for "The Autopsy of Jane Doe."

Based on the cloth in Jane's stomach that is carrying a woman's tooth and is marked with the date 1693 and various phrases from Leviticus 20:27, Jane Doe seems to be a victim of the Salem Witch Trials who was cursed to spend her existence as an eternally fresh corpse that can cause great psychic and physical damage to those who examine her. But there is some confusion as to what gives Jane her powers and what makes her so vengeful.

Medical examiners Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son, Austin (Emile Hirsch), suspect that Jane Doe was likely an innocent woman who was mistaken for a witch by the witchfinders and authorities that ran the trials. The ceremony that was supposed to kill her and dispel her curse instead seems to have turned her into a powerful witch stuck in terminal limbo forever seeking vengeance for her pain — even on the innocents who know nothing about what she's been through.

The conclusion is open-ended enough to make viewers wonder if the witch is as innocent as she seems. Are Tommy and Austin correct, and she was tortured into becoming what she is? Did everything take place in Austin's head during the autopsy? Or, to put it simply: Is she a powerful witch rendered immobile by the cursed items but powerful enough to cause misery to those who come in contact with her?

Did witches curse Jane to suffer?

Reddit user /u/topsyturvytopsy3 posited in 2017 that the truth might be somewhere in the middle — Jane Doe wasn't cursed by the ceremony forced upon her by the witchfinders, but by a coven of witches.

Realizing while watching the movie that none of the women accused of witchcraft by the Salem Witch Trials were actual practicing witches, the user says, "but here's the thing, that whole accusing hysteria thing had to start somewhere. What if Jane Doe was the first one who accused someone else? What if she started the whole thing?"

Next, /u/topsyturvytopsy3 wonders if actual witches around Salem at the time, angered by Jane's false accusations causing such a ruckus and making their lives more difficult, found and cursed her to an eternal living death — forcing her to eat her own words by stuffing the Bible passage down her throat. This would certainly make Jane a villain with gray morals, and it might even make her a little bit sympathetic.

This is a fascinating theory that could change your perspective on the film.