Favorite corpses

You know you’ve got an interesting blog post when one of your sentences begins, “Two of my favourite corpses…” It’s got cute pictures of dead things, too.

My favorites were actually collections rather than individuals. One set was in a barn loft owned by my aunt and uncle; apparently, the previous owner of their ranch had gone nuts and slaughtered all of his chickens before committing suicide himself. The dead birds had just been left there (the dead rancher had been carted away; my cousins and I had grisly speculations about what he’d look like if he’d been left there, too), and their bodies had mummified in the dry Eastern Washington climate. You could track the course of the massacre by examining their sad little bodies.

Another was near an abandoned barn near our home in Western Washington. Every fall, hunters and skeet shooters would gather there, and we’d hear shotguns going off all the time. We wouldn’t go near the place in the fall—those guys were crazy, drunk, and reckless. In the spring, though, we’d walk the fields around the barn and survey the skeletal remains of the carnage. Among the broken skeet (and a lot of fully intact discs), we’d find the bones of seagulls and killdeer and sparrows and once even an owl—anything that flew by was a target.

Those experiences did leave me with a rather low impression of Men With Guns.


  1. danamania says

    I can relate. Back when I lived in Sydney (almost 10 years ago now) I crawled up into the roof space to check for a tile leak. I couldn’t do anything about the leak, but on the way back found a dead rat close to the entry door. What I found curious about this one was an almost complete lack of flesh, and the bones hadn’t been disturbed. If the body had been eaten by another rat I’d have expected them to have chewed up much of the skeleton (Some of my pet mice, indeed, have eaten a tankmate who died in the night and left nothing more than teeth and part of the skin). The skeleton was up against one of the horizontal roof beams laying on plaster, and along that corner under the bones was fairly evenly spread out grey/brown organic looking matter – looked something like loosely piled dark brown breadcrumbs. I put it down to insects (beetles maybe?) having a good solid gnaw on my dead rodent friend, dropping their droppings and leaving just the yellowed bones behind.

    There was enough dried soft tissue (cartilage and tendon) to hold the skeleton together, and I placed the rat on a piece of board and kept it for a few months until I moved house. My 11 year old niece and I had a great time looking over at how everything fit together, especially interesting as we both kept mice and rats ourselves. I don’t think that rat could have been manually cleaned and put back together any better for a display of skeletal anatomy. It didn’t smell too bad either, just a very light rancid fatty odour – I wish I’d kept it now.

  2. Roman Werpachowski says

    Those experiences did leave me with a rather low impression of Men With Guns.

    And rightly so. I never understood how can one kill animals for pleasure.

  3. Dustin says

    Not that this has anything to do with Men With Guns, but the comic post has already made its way to the depths. Link:
    Actually, that comic does have something to do with Men With Guns pretty frequently, so I guess I’m still on topic.