Friday, 26 August 2011

Disposing of victims!

Disposal of a body
As a thriller writer this topic so intrigued me and fertilised my imagination (no pun intended!) that I thought I would investigate a further. In much the same way that there are numerous ways to commit murder (see previous posts), so there are many (sometimes ingenious) ways that murders try to dispose of their victims. I say ‘try’ because hopefully, a murder in fiction is eventually discovered. The popularity of forensic anthropology as in TV programmes like ‘Bones’ and ‘C.S.I – type’ programmes show it is a fascinating field for many of us.
Of course disposing of a human body in normal circumstances generally involves some kind of a funeral followed by burial or cremation and these have been the main means employed by many cultures for centuries. However there are still lot’s of variations in practise across cultures with exceptions due to religious beliefs about what happens after death. Mummification and taxidermy have also figured in some cultures and cryogenic (freezing) preservation is on the rise. Burial at sea, mass graves at times of plague and genocide, and even cannibalism all have been used too.  
From a writer’s point of view these all give great food for thought when constructing plots but I suppose the most useful category of disposal is the way that an antagonist in a story might go about concealing his wicked deeds.
Amongst ways of clandestine disposal there could be burial in a shallow grave (used most often in crime stories), amateur cremation (which may not be complete) dissolving in Lye or acid (used by the acid bath murderer, John Haig in the 20th century!) Burial in cement or concrete under a building is also favoured by murderers (and, I believe, often used by the mafia!). Crushing, dismemberment and bodies stored in strange places like freezers have figured in many murder stories.
The old saying, that you can’t prove a murder without a body - not actually true, but difficult to pursue - means that murderers will continue to come up with ever ingenious ways of disposing of their victims.
Now to be different I should come up with something else?? Mmmm….Maybe the new thing could be Alkaline Hydrolysis… Reducing the body (in a special chamber) to a sludge which can be poured down the drain! Wonder how CSI would solve that one?
Have you any ingenious ideas for disposal of victims of crimes?


  1. Thanks to CSI and other shows, they are constantly coming up with ways to dispose of a body. However, in these shows usually the murderer gets caught. In real life, it's a lot harder.

  2. Absolutely, Clarissa! Thanks for commenting.

  3. I was really taken with the Dexter body disposals of the barrel girls, where all the victims were sealed in big steel drums and dumped in a swamp.