WARNING: Some NSFW content ahead.
Are humans just naturally morbid? Many of us watch scary movies or spend our evenings reading about serial killers on Wikipedia.
If you were to ask Professor Glenn Sparks from the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University, he'd tell you that our morbid curiosity with gross or unnerving subjects "goes back to the initiation rites of our tribal ancestors, where the entrance to manhood was associated with hardship."
Regardless of where this curiosity stems, social mores often dictate that asking questions about morbid topics is insensitive and inappropriate.
That's why it's interesting that people were able to ask their questions openly thanks to Redditor InkBlooded, who asked the online community,
"What is your most morbid question that you've always been afraid to ask?"
"What does decomposing dead body smell like?"
"I shouldn't have asked this question."
To which this person answered:
"It has this sickly sweet smell to it. Like rotting fruit but definitely a putrid death smell. I don't know how to describe it. Sometimes if it's fresh and you can smell the blood too."
"Either way not fun."
"When people get gravely injured..."
"When people get gravely injured, say, severed in half or their brain is exposed, do they know that they're going to die or is their body just spazzing out?"
And here came someone with an excellent response:
"It depends on the injury. Some are awake and alert and in lots of pain, others are nearly numb to it."
"I witnessed a motorcycle crash. The person had a huge, open head injury with part of their brain exposed."
"Those of us who stopped to help tried to do what we could. The guy who had the injury said it felt like he fell and hit his head. He was in and out of consciousness, but said it didnt hurt. He was kind of numb to the pain."
"He took his own helmet off and looked in the motorcycle's mirror and saw his brain coming out. (It is literally the consistency of jello or toothpaste with a membrane around it). He said, 'I see my brain. I'm going to die. I thought it would hurt more.'"
"Then he closed his eyes and never regained consciousness."
"Parents of adult children..."
"Parents of adult children: Do you find your son, and/or daughter physically ugly?"
A parent offered this response:
"Coming from a parent: you will know your kids aren't 'unconditionally perfect' but you will love them with all your heart anyway."
"And some of those imperfections will feel like they're your fault. (Like having a picky eater–if only I had been more diligent about variety when they were a toddler). So you will love your kids more because you screwed up, not in spite of it."
"How does it feel..."
"How does it feel to watch someone die?"
Someone offered this response:
"It depends on whether it’s expected or not. I sat with my grandma as she took her last breath. It was very peaceful. I wouldn’t trade that moment with her for anything."
"I hope she felt me there and knew she wasn’t alone."
"I've always wanted to ask someone..."
"I've always wanted to ask someone in the armed forces how many people they have killed, not to make them look horrible, just out of curiosity. I know that you never ever ask someone in the armed forces that though and I respect it enough not to ask someone."
This person offered up a memory of their father:
"My Dad was in World War Two. And when I found out I was naturally curious. I was maybe 7 and asked if he had killed anyone. He answered yes. Then I asked how many? He got a little upset and said, 'I don't know and I don't want to know.'"
"He then told me about how awful war is and how it's real people getting killed. It wasn't like the movies. He said I could still play with army men and toy guns, but to remember it's just play and that real war is horrible."
"Decades later my brother in law who was in Vietnam told me that he and my Dad talked a lot about their experiences. He said my Dad had confided in him that he had killed "many many men." I guess my Dad could only share the truth with another vet."
"Why wouldn't it be legal..."
"Why wouldn't it be legal for my family to just bury me in a loved one's backyard? No coffin, no frivolity, just leave me there to decay for the fungi and the earthworms. Or would it be? Like, if the proper paperwork was filled out?"
This person offered some valuable information in response:
"It's because governments are very picky about what you can do with a dead body, and basically force corpses to be buried in local cemeteries. And the law is very slow to change because people aren't interested in voting for death stuff and having to think about it."
"Basically everything involving a corpse is illegal, so even if its a small thing like burying a body, you can't do it. And to why those laws are so strict, its because they were made back in the day when people thought a corpse is harmful, and the death industry pushed the idea that unless embalmed they're harmful."
"Some countries, like India, require a coffin/casket by law."
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"What does a human..."
"What does a human taste like? We are meat, but do we taste like how a hamburger or chicken tastes, or do we taste completely different?"
And this person said:
"I've read it's like pork. Hence the term 'long pig.' You could always check out the story of the guy who brought home his amputated foot and made tacos with it. I'm pretty sure he describes the taste."
"Why have we over romanticized..."
"Why have we over romanticized suicide in television? They say that you evacuate all waste when you die, so every show where they find someone just hanging, shouldn't there be s**t and piss on the floor that dripped out of their clothes?"
Soon after, they received this response, and it makes sense:
"You can go back 2000 years to when a lot of classical literature was written and still find prominent mentions of suicide. People find it interesting. Same thing with love affairs. And murder."
"How quickly during the process..."
"How quickly during the process of death does the person stop feeling pain or discomfort or touch sensation?"
A short and sweet answer:
"The feeling in limbs, like the feet, the loss of sensation can happen some days before death in case of terminal illness. The body is shutting down."
"Because I think parents do it all the time..."
"Parent's of Reddit, do you favour and love one child more than the others? And if you say no, have you ever asked one of your children about it?"
"Because I think parents do it all the time and don't realize that they're discriminating between children."
And here's a very wise response from a parent:
"As a parent of 3, the answer is: it's complicated. I don't have a "favourite" exactly but I have favourite things about each kid."
"Kid #3 is certainly the easiest, and the others think I favour #3 because of it. Truth is, I just rarely need to tell them things twice. However, they probably need the most help with school and complex concepts. They are very sensitive and artistic."
"Kid #2 is the funniest and the one I pick to help when I need to get something done. They are like a hurricane emotionally though. So much willful energy. They can be a lot to deal with. This one also has all the dirt on everyone."
"Kid #1 is probably the most like me. They're very independent and, while the other two are very close, has always kind of stood apart from them. Quiet and easy to spend time with. Quite level headed but emotionally distant. I'll always see them as my first baby."
"You see, it's more complicated than a "favourite". All kids are different and have their good and bad traits. What's most important is telling them how great their good traits are and using positive reinforcement!"
We hope these responses have satisfied some of your morbid curiosity, dear readers.
At least we ended this on a significantly lighter note!
Have some morbid questions of your own? Feel free to ask them in the comments below! You never know who might have the answer!
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Cleaning up is hard enough when it's just clearing a month of dust bunnies. Can you imagine cleaning the debris left by murder, suicide and violence? I have a really great friend who used to do crime scene clean-up for a living. The pay is incredible; it starts at $55 an hour. But there is a much higher cost in mental well being. Death affects you in ways you don't always feel immediately. My friend has stories of nightmares, depression and pain after leaving scenes of horror. Why make all that money just to spend it on therapy? It takes a certain type of person.
***TRIGGER WARNING. CONTENTS ARE SENSITIVE ***Redditor u/MemegodDave wanted to hear from the people who have the stomach to come in after crime and tragedy
to try to bring back some form of normalcy to the location by asking... People who make their living out of cleaning murder scenes, accidents and the like, what is the worst thing you have experienced in your career?
Dad had to saran wrap a guy's intestines back into his body once.
Dude had surgery and pushed too hard on the toilet. Dude was fine, according to Dad, just holding himself together on the toilet while a group of firefighters tried to figure out why the hell they were sent instead of paramedics.
Update When he pushed too hard he opened a scar on his torso/ab area and it all fell out onto his lap. Should have mentioned this when I wrote the post.
One that stuck with me was a suicide in a bathtub, we couldn't drain the tub, so had to use a coagulant then scoop up the bloody mess into biohazard bags. Same for the toilet. Another was a suicide by gun in a basement full of boxes which was a nightmare to clean as even the smallest bit of flesh had to be found and cleaned up. The smell of the smallest piece of flesh meant the job wasn't done until it was found.
One scene, the cops thought it would be helpful to put newspaper on top of the leftover melted body oils which dried to the floors and was terrible to clean up. Sad cleaning up these things when family is in the other room as well. Not working the job anymore but definitely gave me an appreciation for the hard work biohazard clean up crews do. Mostly on-call as well so you never know how long you will be away from home.
Medic here, first responder to a motorcycle collision. Guy who crashed was a friend. He'd been torn in half and almost decapitated.
Had to walk away from the scene and let my driver and another crew handle it. Think about it daily.
All over the House
I posted this on another thread so just copy and pasted it but this was one that I had to do
Clean up after a murder. It was a rehab house for ex cons, 4 bedroom house with communal bathroom and kitchen. Sunday morning and guy A is in his room listening to music pretty loud, guy B is in the kitchen cooking his breakfast, B knocks on A's door and tells him to turn it down, there's a small argument and B returns to his breakfast and A turns his music up. So B grabs the biggest knife in the kitchen, kicks in A's door and stabs him through his left shoulder, entering by his collar bone.
A runs out of his room, across the landing, down the stairs, out the front door, back inside, back up the stairs and collapses on the landing. When I got there it was like a scene from a movie, walls and ceilings, everywhere A had been were caked with blood. Apparently after B stabbed him, he returned to cooking his breakfast. There was a half eaten breakfast in the kitchen when I got there.
Not a cleaner, but my brother's best friend is a police officer and I heard all about this horrible experience:
My brother's friend took him on "ride-alongs," all the time. One day, they were responding to a welfare check. This guy's neighbor saw his apartment door cracked open for several days and called the police. They went to check it out and found a college student (18-19) who had shot himself.
The most disturbing part to my brother was that the kid had all of his belongings boxed up and labeled, he had letters written out and labeled for who they were supposed to go to, and he even went as far as laying out a tarp, and then putting heavy blankets over himself before he shot himself - as a courtesy to the people that would have to clean his remains.
This wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision, this was a very well-thought-out suicide and the guy was obviously thinking about everyone who would have to deal with it too. So sad to imagine such a thoughtful person in so much pain that he meticulously orchestrated his suicide. My brother said the scene messed him up. Not because of the gore, but the lack thereof. Because this guy so meticulously and thoughtfully offed himself.
When I was a bartender, a couple of clients told me the worst part about the job is cleaning melted bodies.
I don't know the science behind that, but from what I understand is if a body stays for a while in a certain condition of temperature and humidity, it melts. And those guys have to remove that person's remains in buckets.
I had a great uncle who helped clean up the bodies left behind by hurricane Audrey in 1957 and he said that the smell persisted in his nose for weeks after. It got so bad that he went to the doctor to see if they could do anything and they clipped all of his nose hairs and the smell went away. It was explained to him that the smell had soaked into the hair but I don't claim to know the validity of that statement.
The hurricane hit south Louisiana in June of that year and most of the bodies recovered were found in the salt water marshes that cover the area, so it's safe to assume that they were in an advanced state of decay. I've heard it said that the smell of the decomposing bodies was so bad that the alligators would actively avoid the areas
One of my first jobs after moving I did this, and the job that had me walking wasn't even a scene as described. We did all types of hazmat cleans and the worst was actually a couple went on vacation and came back to backed up sceptic. Think about 1 ft thick hard dried out crusty sceptic waste spread throughout the entire 1st floor of a house. Not going further into detail here. Was nasty.
Septic, not sceptic. On break and mobile, so yeah...
After the Crash...
Working for a tow truck driver that get the calls after crashes. The worst one for me was a family of 6 coming back with over 10 pizzas for a baseball team. It was a head on with a tractor trailer (18 wheeler). The ambulance took the bodies away of course, everyone died but one little guy. There was so much blood and vomit, diapers, toy dolls covered in blood, the pizza was everywhere inside of the car like 2" thick on everything and all over the road.
There was so many backpacks and things just covered in pizza blood, It is hard to even describe it to this day. it was oozing out all over the road and was like an exploded pizza pocket. Everyone that was waiting in the traffic jam looked horrified.
Friend of mine does this.
His worst was an elderly woman who died in a bath. Skin falls off like long cooked meat. So he just saw piles of skin/flesh
God just writing this makes me gag.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
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