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warning..the photos are graphic, but that's the point, eh?

Oh, it's not pretty. But you know that. Want a story? I was at the lake one day and they found a guy who'd fallen off a boat and drowned a few weeks earlier. The police came. No one knew how to get him out of the water, no one really wanted to touch the guy. Ew! So one of the cops found a length of wire fence, the kind that looks like XXXXXXX. They slid it under the dead guy and lifted him up out of the water, intending to put him on land.

Except the guy just ran through the holes in the fence, like a seriously over ripe melon. Someone gasped, "Wow, they don't show this stuff on TV!"

No shit, sherlock. It's not pretty. Or fashionable to be obsessed with death. If you deal with it in any capacity like a job, it's not trendy. The circus sideshow was someone's mom, wife, brother, father, best friend. But, it's also science and we are just meat, after all. So for your edification, here's the technicalities. I put the photos in pop up windows so you can skip viewing them if you want. And yeah, they're gross :)

  • Moment of Death:
    1}
    The heart stops
    2} The skin gets tight and grey in color
    3} All the muscles relax
    4} The bladder and bowels empty
    . . . .4a - Men will get an erection. No, I don't know when, exactly. I really didn't feel like calling up the local mortuary and asking this. And there's people on my mailing list I could have asked, I bet, but it's kind of weird popping up and asking that. No pun intended. I'm not sure my parents know what erections are, so I can't ask them. I did read that this was one of the reasons hangings were so well attended by women, back in the old.days. Big Laffs, seeing the Hung, hung.
    5} The body's temperature will typically drop 1.5 degrees F. per hour unless outside environment is a factor. The liver is the organ that stays warmest the longest, and this temperature is used to establish time of death if the body is found within that time frame.
  • After 30 minutes:
    6}
    The skin gets purple and waxy
    7} The lips, finger- and toe nails fade to a pale color or turn white as the blood leaves.
    8} Blood pools at the lowest parts of the body leaving a dark purple-black stain called lividity
    9} The hands and feet turn blue
    10} The eyes start to sink into the skull
  • After 4 hours:
    11} Rigor mortis starts to set in
    12} The purpling of the skin and pooling of blood continue
    13} Rigor Mortis begins to tighten the muscles for about another 24 hours, then will reverse and the body will return to a limp state.
  • After 12 hours:
    14} The body is in full rigor mortis.
  • After 24 hours:
    15} The body is now the temperature of the surrounding environment
    16} In males, the semen dies
    17} The head and neck are now a greenish-blue color
    18} The greenish-blue color continues to spread to the rest of the body
    19} There is the strong smell of rotting meat
    20} The face of the person is essentially no longer recognizable
  • After 3 days:
    21} The gases in the body tissues form large blisters on the skin
    22} The whole body begins to bloat and swell grotesquely. This process is speeded up if victim is in a hot environment, or in water
    23} Fluids leak from the mouth, nose, eyes, ears and rectum and urinary opening
  • After 3 weeks:
    24} The skin, hair, and nails are so loose they can be easily pulled off the corpse
    25} The skin cracks and bursts open in many places because of the pressure of Internal gases and the breakdown of the skin itself
    26} Decomposition will continue until body is nothing but skeletal remains, which can take as little as a month in hot climates and two months in cold climates. The teeth are often the only thing left, years and centuries later, because tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the body. The jawbone is the densest, so that usually will also remain. So don't forget - brush regularly and floss only if you're really bored.
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