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amyashley
01-23-2011, 08:52 PM
Can I bronze a dead body? Do I need to do anything to it first? It would be going on display, so I need to know if it's going to decay or stink. I've seen this done in another book, but technically, those bodies were "vampires" so I think that may have been fudged.

Anybody know?

Stewart
01-23-2011, 09:18 PM
To make a bronze replica of anything, I"m pretty sure you'd make a wax replica first (a molding or sculpting), then use that to make a bronze casting.

Cyia
01-23-2011, 09:21 PM
I don't think she means a replica. She means like someone bronzing baby shoes. The stink would only happen if air can get to the corpse; bronzing would, in theory, be airtight. Your problem comes with the temperatures required.

You need to find out the melting point of bronze vs. the ignition point of human flesh.

amyashley
01-23-2011, 09:27 PM
Hmm. Actually, It isn't truly human. It's more of a fish. A mermaid to be exact, but really an entirely different species. I would say definitely cold-blooded.


I'm going to go waddle off to google the bronzing process. This is near the end of the book, but it is essential. If nothing else, we'll use concrete or something.

Kathie Freeman
01-23-2011, 09:39 PM
Bronzing of baby shoes (or anything else) dosn't involve actual molten bronze, it is a thick paint-like coating. Theoretically you could use it on an embalmed corpse, but it would work better if it were mummified instead.

Shakesbear
01-23-2011, 09:55 PM
There is a Dorothy L Sayers short story in which a corpse is coppered ... "The Abominable History of the Man with the Copper Fingers" Will that help? I think the murderer uses electrolysis. You can find the story in the anthology called Lord Peter Views the Body.

amyashley
01-23-2011, 09:59 PM
Can you embalm a corpse at home? Like is it a DIY project?

Hmmm.

Thump
01-23-2011, 10:00 PM
Kind of makes me think of that episode of Bones "the babe in the bar" where they find a corpse in a giant chocolate bar... It wasn't pretty...

amyashley
01-23-2011, 10:01 PM
Electroplating? That's what they do with the baby shoes. I think that may be what I do.

scarletpeaches
01-23-2011, 10:03 PM
What if you paint the corpse first to keep it airtight, then when it's dry, you bronze it properly, so the bronzing process doesn't touch flesh, only bronze paint?

amyashley
01-23-2011, 10:38 PM
Chocolate sounds delicious....

SP, do you think that would work? I'd be worried the paint might flake.

GAR. I can find all sorts of info on HOW to electroplate things, but nothing on bodies. And I am a bit unsure if it would stay stable long-term. I need it to retain it's shape. I think the metal would be strong enough, and without air, the decay rate would be minimal.

I'm also trying to figure out how to get the body posed in just the right position without bronzing attachments. For plating you put it in a giant vat of fluid and shock it. Anything attached to the body will stay that way. I suppose some parts could be sanded off.

Still musing...

Karen Junker
01-23-2011, 10:56 PM
When in doubt, use magic.

scarletpeaches
01-23-2011, 11:04 PM
Trust you to come along with a sensible answer.

amyashley
01-23-2011, 11:20 PM
Unfortunately, this book has very little magic in it. I am thinking they can just drain the blood out, remove most of the internal organs, stuff it with wool, stitch it up, and use clay, joint compound (drywall), and fake stone composite to create a sculpture on top of the body. It would be porous, so the gases could escape, but it would also be relatively moisture-tight. Decomposition would be very slow. The final result would look like stone.

Karen brought up a scary prospect via e-mail. If I bronze her, the gases might make it explode like an old pop can.

Not a pretty sight since I am "hiding" it in the window of a pastry shop.

amyashley
01-23-2011, 11:31 PM
HAH.

Got it. Mummification+Plaster gauze+clay= sculpture.

Done.

PinkAmy
01-23-2011, 11:39 PM
Can I bronze a dead body? Do I need to do anything to it first? It would be going on display, so I need to know if it's going to decay or stink. I've seen this done in another book, but technically, those bodies were "vampires" so I think that may have been fudged.

Anybody know?

That's the most disgusting question I've even seen on AW :D :roll: .

amyashley
01-23-2011, 11:47 PM
LOL...

I TOLD you the other day I needed to know where the spot was for all the really crazy people!

Just be glad I don't have an actual, real, dead corpse in my living room I am trying to hide. :)

lbender
01-23-2011, 11:48 PM
Sorry in advance for anyone who's disgusted, but what's wrong with just skinning the individual involved, stuffing the skin appropriately, and sealing with varnish, bronze paint, or whatever. Taxidermists do it all the time, although not necessarily with people. Postures are adjusted with support wiring, etc., in the stuffing.

amyashley
01-23-2011, 11:49 PM
That would be okay, but then they would still be left with a body to hide. A BODY WITH NO SKIN. I think that would be worse.

lbender
01-23-2011, 11:55 PM
Sorry, your original post didn't mention needing to hide the body. I suppose another option would be to use a bunch of those flesh eating beetles (like on Bones, etc.) and then use the remaining bones as the framework for your statue.

Haggis
01-23-2011, 11:59 PM
I'm not sure what the best approach is, but if you do figure it out, can I have one too? :)

amyashley
01-24-2011, 12:03 AM
EW BEETLES!!!! Jeepers.



Haggis, absolutely. Just pay for shipping. That baby's gonna be heavy.

MaryMumsy
01-24-2011, 12:29 AM
That's the most disgusting question I've even seen on AW :D :roll: .

Nah, there have been plenty of others just as gross.

MM

lbender
01-24-2011, 12:37 AM
EW BEETLES!!!! Jeepers.


I'm surprised. You're discussing DIY embalming, playing around with corpses and rotting flesh, but you're disgusted with a few innocent insects? What's the world coming to?

Maryn
01-24-2011, 12:37 AM
Okay, I can't be the only person to have thought about this for a while before answering.

A corpse, embalmed or not, is going to putrefy. The bacteria which enable this process are already in the body, while living (and are in you and me as we speak). While you may be able to seal the body with bronze, copper, or dark chocolate, it's still going to slowly rot inside that shell, and ultimately be more liquid than solid material. This is why some states require a burial vault or grave liner, to keep the liquid from entering the ground and possibly contaminating the ground water or causing odor problems when the ground is saturated.

Your bronze coating will have to be quite thick to withstand the shift in the corpse's weight from even distribution to lowest-point as it liquefies inside the shell. I'm not sure electroplating is up to the task.

Maryn, who really should be writing horror

amyashley
01-24-2011, 12:54 AM
I think the mummification process takes care of that, Maryn. They remove all the internal organs, including the brain. Then the body is packed with salt, covered in salt, and let sit for 40 days. Then you remove all the salt, stuff it with fiber, and wrap it. They do use oils and stuff to keep the skin smooth, but I don't think that is necessary. If the covering is airtight, the body should be as well preserved, at least, as the Egyptian mummies were. If I use plaster it can hold a good shape. The bones would maintain internal supports, and the scales (it's a mermaid remember) wouldn't decompose like skin would, so that would help.

Do you think that might work?

Yes, I am eeked out by bugs!

frimble3
01-24-2011, 01:03 AM
That would be okay, but then they would still be left with a body to hide. A BODY WITH NO SKIN. I think that would be worse. Dismember the body, cut it into reasonable approximations of cuts of meat. Call the local (for whatever locale this is set in) Garbage Department, or Public Health Office. Tell them that you're freezer has died while you were away, leaving you with the rotting remains of a bunch of meat a friend gifted you with after a hunting trip. "Please help, how do I dispose of it, and how do I get rid of the smell?"
You might want to leave the bits of body someplace warm for a few days for authenticity's sake. Bet no-one checks to closely as to what 'animal' you were disposing of.

Manuel Royal
01-24-2011, 03:23 AM
If the body's not too big, you should be able to freeze-dry the whole thing, then bronze it. That'll last forever. Or plastinate it first. Either dessication, or replacement of fluids, is the key.

(I've never been to one of those plastinated-bodies exhibits; would really like to. Wrote a story using it: Cecily's Birthday (http://lafango.com/manuel_royal#!/media/352586-cecilys-birthday).)

Maryn
01-24-2011, 03:30 AM
Hell yes, mummification or dessication should do just fine. I can attest to that, having seen The Thing on I-10 in Arizona.

I have been to one of those plasticized-body exhibits (awesome!) but don't recall any claims about how long the display was expected to last. Isn't plastic forever?

How long does it need to last, Amy, for plot purposes?

Maryn, fairly well preserved

ACuriousGirl
01-24-2011, 03:37 AM
Oh this whole thread is made of rainbows. <3 it!

amyashley
01-24-2011, 04:10 AM
I would say for the rest of the lives of those involved. Say 50 years or so?

The mummification then covering it in plaster etc. seemed pretty foolproof to me. I mean, it would be messy, but if one had the space and time, the materials were basic. It's just gross. However, if you really need to hide a body, you're gonna be willing to get nasty, right?

For sculpture purposes, the dried out body would be MUCH better to work with too! That's the artist in me thinking.

Thanks to everyone who has helped. XXXXxxxxxxOOOoOOoooooOOOOOO

Rainbows? No, SCONES!
Like I said, the sculpture will be in a pastry shop window. :)

Linda Adams
01-24-2011, 05:14 AM
Can I bronze a dead body? Do I need to do anything to it first? It would be going on display, so I need to know if it's going to decay or stink. I've seen this done in another book, but technically, those bodies were "vampires" so I think that may have been fudged.

Anybody know?

Not sure if this will help, but way back when, people made masks of the dead (http://socyberty.com/history/death-masks-of-the-famous/). It was a common way to preserve what important people looked like before photography.
(http://socyberty.com/history/death-masks-of-the-famous/)

amyashley
01-24-2011, 05:34 AM
Those were amazing, Linda! I don't think it will work, since it is still a cast system, but they were neat to look at, all the same.

Still wonderful to uncover in the process of my research.


I think the most frightening thing I discovered today was that I can indeed DIY mummify a body in my basement.

(if I had a basement.)

ACuriousGirl
01-24-2011, 05:50 AM
I seem to recall an episode of the X-Files where a body was hidden like this--though it was in a statue... maybe plaster, not certain. If I come across the eppie title, I'll let you know.

ACuriousGirl
01-24-2011, 06:39 AM
Hey, found it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grotesque_%28The_X-Files%29)! Maybe more of a clay substance, not sure, but it goes along this whole episode with people passing it by and never noticing it's actually a dead dude.

amyashley
01-24-2011, 07:22 AM
Too cool! I guess it just goes to prove that nothing is ever truly original! I know the idea has been done in a few books and things too.

amyashley
01-24-2011, 08:03 PM
Are "silicate ions" something one can purchase easily?

Who would know how to do this process? I need a character who can do it, or it needs to be something they stumble across on the internet using some sort of search term on Google.

That sounds fairly simple. Would the body retain it's shape? Actually, if you were to do a SHARK, would that retain it's shape? Her skin is more shark-like.


Gads, I know this is a truly bizarre-o topic.

BigWords
01-24-2011, 11:37 PM
Bronzing may be out, but I thought this (http://www.snopes.com/horrors/gruesome/mccurdy.asp) might help. The McCurdy story has always fascinated me, and it may help your story to think of long-term hide-it-in-plain-sight methods. There's also a "genuine fake mermaid" which was displayed somewhere (the link I had is broken, but I think it was connected to Barnum in some manner), so it is not unthinkable that the corpse could be put on display as something similar...

Nivarion
01-25-2011, 09:08 AM
I know that there are certain acrylics that can be pumped into a recently deceased person that stops all decay, and after a short while all ability to pose them. It might work for the job.

Canotila
01-25-2011, 10:17 AM
If the body's not too big, you should be able to freeze-dry the whole thing, then bronze it. That'll last forever. Or plastinate it first. Either dessication, or replacement of fluids, is the key.

(I've never been to one of those plastinated-bodies exhibits; would really like to. Wrote a story using it: Cecily's Birthday (http://lafango.com/manuel_royal#%21/media/352586-cecilys-birthday).)

Freeze drying is the first thing that popped in my mind.

After you freeze dry or mummify the body, instead of plaster have you looked into fiberglass? It's much more durable, you could leave it out in the weather for 100 years and it'd stay intact. There's a liquid kind you can get for sculpting where you dip the fiberglass fabric in a liquid stuff and goes on just like paper mache or plaster gauze. Plus you can sand or dremel it when it's dry, use bondo for parts, resin, etc. After that you can put whatever finish you want on it.

Steam&Ink
01-25-2011, 11:27 AM
Mumification is a great idea, but you might want to go the extra mile and fossilize the body. You could start with soaking in salt water, but instead of removing the viscera ou could simply make a deep cut in the abdomen. When the body has turned into corned long pig, you could start adding silicate ions instaed of salt. The silica would slowly be absorbed. Eventually the body would be more stone than organic.

Also, that would get rid of the need to dispose of the organs. You're going to have a lot of viscera and brain to get rid of going the mummy route.


PS originally ^that said "viscera and brian". heh.

amyashley
01-25-2011, 08:38 PM
I am thinking of going the fossilization route. This seems so simple that I think a KID could actually come up with the idea.

Since I have a few college students on site, one will have the bright idea about fossilization. Say they were talking about the process in anthropology. Add a few hours of google, a couple of adults reading textbooks (there are several people present) and voila: problem solved.

It's in a large house where money, loyalty, and security are not an issue. So hiding what they are doing is easy. I think this will work! I just needed to stop the decay. I still want to bronze it, and I think the electroplating will be best.

amyashley
01-25-2011, 10:27 PM
How long?

BigWords
01-26-2011, 12:43 AM
There's a small overhang in the north of England (the precise location escapes my memory at the moment) where people have been hanging boots, shirts, et cetera for years - there is a piece of string hung under the flowing water precisely for that purpose - and the mineralization process is remarkably quick for small objects. The length of time is measured in months in most cases. Someone more familiar with that location would be able to give more details.

amyashley
01-26-2011, 01:45 AM
So theoretically, she'd become fossilized in a tank of filled with water and silicate ions in approximately five years?


I think that's a good estimate.

Hmm. Quite excellent. This stuff is also used in auto repair. I have a mechanic character on site, so purchasing a large quantity of aqueous sodium silicate will be simple and not suspicious. Yay!

Orion11Bravo
01-26-2011, 08:21 AM
If I bronze her, the gases might make it explode like an old pop can.


There's your epilogue.

Liz Kelly
01-26-2011, 08:33 AM
I'm reminded of the plot of this pretty hilarious B-movie, in which a would-be artist murders people, then covers them in plaster and is hailed as a great new talent.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052655/plotsummary

amyashley
01-26-2011, 09:14 PM
Peter, thanks so much for your help. This makes the perfect ending.

Research accomplished! On to the next idea...