View Full Version : State of bed after dead body on it

09-19-2008, 07:53 PM
In my current manuscript I have a caretaker of a property who died (or was murdered, I haven't decided which) in bed in the 1960's. He becomes a ghost, and keeps mice and critters out of the property. Bugs have free reign, though.

From watching "Bones" I'm pretty positive that the bugs would have cleaned the bones off pretty well after 40 years. Hair and clothing would most likely still remain. What would have happened to the bed, though? Wouldn't the ... um... liquidification of the body seep into the mattress and cause it to rot?

Any help you might have would be appreciated. I'd like the room to be livable after the bed/carpet is removed. The corpse can be as disgusting as it needs to be. Past that, my plot is pretty flexible on the details. In fact, if it's better for him to die at the kitchen table, that's fine too.

09-19-2008, 07:59 PM
Was the house heated all this time? Is the climate northern or southern?
The heat and humidity present in all the years will affect the rate of deterioration.

I've come acorss a number of neglected bodies but not 40-50 year ones inside. I expect quite a bit of clothing would rot, too. The mattress probably won't be gone. Happily, it should be past the real smell, though it shouldn't be like roses in there.

09-19-2008, 09:25 PM
I never ran into one that old either. Assuming the body was protected from the weather, what's left after the bugs got finished, would eventually mummify. Any liquids would have evaporated long ago and the remnants would be powder and dust. You'd want to get rid of the bed, but any lingering odors would have long left long ago.

09-19-2008, 10:53 PM
Northern climate. There's a bunch of books that I need well preserved, so I'm thinking the ghost will try to balance the heating/ac as much as he can.

Soccer Mom
09-19-2008, 11:00 PM
Part of it depends on how messy the death was. If it was bloody, the mattress would indeed have rotted quite a bit.

09-19-2008, 11:03 PM
First of all, could a bed survive 40 years of neglect, even without a festering corpse sitting on it?

What kind of bed is it?

If the room is open, then moisture and critters can get in.

If the room is closed, then there will be mold, dry rot, and the various products of the rotting corpse suppurating throughout its layers.

Oh, I didn't want to think of that after a hearty lunch.