General Question

lunabean's avatar

Any good websites/books to learn what anyone who handles human remains on a regular basis really deals with?

Asked by lunabean (630points) December 6th, 2008

I have a few career choices in the field of the afterlife. If anyone knows any good website or maybe even books to help me make the decision would be great. Mortuary science, CSI, forensic pathology, anthropology, etc.

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11 Answers

delirium's avatar

hiya, I spent six years in that field!
Once I get on my computer and am not typing on my phone, I’ll offer up some suggestions.

PupnTaco's avatar

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach is a fantastic read – she’s very funny in a sick, dark way. Recommended for everyone, not just forensics.

mrjadkins's avatar

Death’s Acre by William Bass and John Jefferson is a look into the Body Farm where Forensic Science is taking place daily. I read Stiff as well and found it to be very insightful about the process of death and the body.

scamp's avatar

@delirium is someone in your family in the business? I’m curious because I think I remember you saying you are 19 or 20, so 6 years in the business would make you pretty young when you started.

hearkat's avatar

The Occupational Outlook Handbook has tons of information on nearly every imaginable occupation with useful links.

lunabean's avatar

@PupnTaco I’ve been trying to get a hold of Stiff for a while. I should have got it when I first saw it in Book-A-Million, now I can’t find it anywhere but online :(

@delirium looking forward to your suggestions! :D

PupnTaco's avatar

Didn’t amazon have it?

lunabean's avatar

amazon does have it, i would just rather have it now instead of waiting for it to come in the mail :)

delirium's avatar

Okay, a few of these people I know, so i’m biased, but they will give you a good feeling for what its like.
Dead Men Do Tell Tales by Bill Maples
Never Suck A Dead Mans Hand is good on the grounds that it has some good descriptions of what you’re in for.
Corpse is a good historical account.

Ultimately there are a lot of bad books out there. This isn’t a field that should be glamorized. You think you’re going to be okay and you think you’re strong enough to deal with all this… but its not that simple. Dealing with my first kid left me crying outside the building unable to go back in. There are things that strike you and the horror of it hits you in the face.
Its a lot easier in your head than it is when you’re there.
To do one of these jobs takes quite a bit of schooling. You have to be willing to learn the not-so-cool stuff. The shows are NOTHING like is like. You don’t finish a case in a week, it takes months and months on one thing. It smells bad, you spend a lot of time in the woods with bugs eating you while you stare at a dumped body somewhere and gradually excavate it. You’re not going to have a team to help you, most of this will be you and a cop and your assistant. You also get yourself in dangerous situations, and have to be prepared for that.

lunabean's avatar

@delirium thanks :) looking forward to reading these books.

MacBean's avatar

Aww, my recommendations have already been mentioned. But my Amazon wish list has just grown a little more! Huzzah. :D

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