July 03, 2006

Steven Wright once said

"When I die, I'm donating my body to science fiction."

A while back I saw a television program about something that makes such perfect sense, but is so utterly revolting, that you want to retch and say 'doh!' at the same time.

There's a forensics research lab in Tennesee where they study human remains. I'm not talking about sterile anatomy and such, although some of that is done. This facility takes donated bodies and examines them as they decompose within the framework of an outdoor crime scene. In other words, they bury them in shallow graves, or cover them with leaves, or toss them into small streams, or wrap them loosely in a tarp. And leave them there. Then they watch and take notes. And by doing this under controlled conditions, law enforcement can better determine the facts when partially or wholly decomposed bodies are discovered.

Fascinating stuff, but not for the squeamish. The website is user-friendly, meaning it doesn't look like a documentary of "The Making of 'Jason the SlasherCamp Chainsaw Cannibal'". It's all rather polite actually. Positively mature.

Posted by Ted at July 3, 2006 08:12 AM | TrackBack
Category: Links SciTech

The place in TN sounds like the place I read about in one of the chapters of Mary Roach's (non-fiction) book "Stiff," if memory serves.

Posted by: dogette at July 3, 2006 08:16 AM

Oh I remember seeing that one. They call it the Body Farm. I have a fairly strong stomach, but that one still made me shudder. The dreams I had for the rest of the week I could have done without, too...


Posted by: Denita TwoDragons at July 3, 2006 09:49 AM

My wife loves this forensic shit, and I garantee you she'd be like, "I'd do that. It would be for science!"


Posted by: shank at July 3, 2006 01:30 PM

This was the source for The Body Farm as the title for one of Patricia Cornwell's novels.

Posted by: triticale at July 3, 2006 03:57 PM
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