William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Saturday, 31, October, 2009

Forensic Hallowe’en

Filed under: Forensics,Self mockery — williamthecoroner @ 22:12

People die every day of the year.  Hallowe’en is no exception.  Some people really get into the iconography of Hallowe’en, with the bones and ghosts and such.  Forensic people, not so much.  Although, I was considering getting one of these for someone, but that’s another story.  And getting a date for the Mortician’s ball is always…problematic.  There’s also this.  But I digress.

But for a forensic pathologist, the dead are your patients.  They’re around all the time, not trotted out for a day of the dead ceremony, and with familiarity comes ennui.  My investigator once had Fred in a box in his truck for a prolonged period of time.  He said it was someone to talk to.   I’ve worked in a couple offices where there were long-term tenants in the freezer unit.  Dead bodies are just…there.

They are treated with respect, because that’s the right thing to do.  But they lose their specialness.  And they lose their capacity to frighten.  There’s nothing more well-behaved than a dead man.

The last time I was asked about Hallowe’en, it was by a cop, while we were waiting for animal control.  An individual who was a dog breeder had died, and the dogs would not let us in to move the body.  They were adamant about guarding their pack leader, and keeping him safe.  Thankfully, they were all Golden Retrievers.  But even dogs as good-natured as goldens weren’t going to allow just anyone to cart Dad away.

“No,” I said to the officer. “Just another day at the office.”

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3 Comments »

  1. I hear ya on this one – particularly the part about the dead being well-behaved (except, of course, when a particularly portly one decides to slide off a cot and onto the floor… a little help?) – but I still love the fact that Halloween gives everyone a chance to bring the whole death thing out and examine it for a bit before setting it aside for the rest of the year.

    Comment by Steph — Saturday, 31, October, 2009 @ 22:56 | Reply

  2. Aww, that’s sweet. My pets would eat me if my body cooled off.

    Comment by Angry Professor — Sunday, 1, November, 2009 @ 07:08 | Reply

  3. Hell, my children would eat me if I died in the house.

    Comment by G-Veg — Sunday, 1, November, 2009 @ 20:50 | Reply


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