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View Full Version : Creepy Questions... Throat Slitting and People Burnin'



Amory
08-01-2012, 08:50 PM
I've been trying to sort through information on Google, but apparently my very specific questions are hard to phrase well for a search engine... Oh, and never search "cut throats" on Google. All you get is a bunch of pictures of Bernie Madoff.

My MC Lucy has a rather psycho (and psychic) brother who has an infinity for burning people to death through "spontaneous combustion." He actually uses his psychic ability to force them to cover themselves in combustible liquid and set themselves on fire. Not spontaneous combustion, but he finds it amusing. Anyhoo, it is important in my novel that two of the characters be burned to ash, nothing identifiable left behind, such as teeth. (One was psycho brother faking his own death, the other was him faking someone else's death years later) How hot does a fire need to be to burn someone to pretty much nothing? I'm guessing pretty damn hot?

Also, another creepy question... Is it impossible (or at least very, very difficult) for someone to slit their own throat in the "proper" way (head tilted forward to bunch together the jugular and carotid artery, knife at an angle for a good cut)? A girl in the story slits her own throat because the psychic brother forces her to, but I want the cut to be suspiciously well done so that the other characters guess that she was forced to slit her own throat by someone who really knew what they were doing and could force her to body to do things it wouldn't normally do. What would be the best cut to use to make them suspicious?

End creepy questions.

espresso5
08-01-2012, 09:02 PM
A crematorium operates at temperatures up to 1800 degrees F and there can still be bone fragments left. The "ashes" people recieve have been processed through a grinder to result in a uniform texture.

Amory
08-01-2012, 09:26 PM
Yikes! That IS hot. I think a gasoline fire usually burns around 1200F... I'm sure there would be plenty left to use DNA to identify, but do ya'll think that, heavily soaked in gasoline, a burning person would leave enough remains for an easier identifier, say, a large portion of the skull?

Snick
08-01-2012, 10:15 PM
My MC Lucy has a rather psycho (and psychic) brother who has an infinity for burning people to death through "spontaneous combustion." He actually uses his psychic ability to force them to cover themselves in combustible liquid and set themselves on fire. Not spontaneous combustion, but he finds it amusing. Anyhoo, it is important in my novel that two of the characters be burned to ash, nothing identifiable left behind, such as teeth. (One was psycho brother faking his own death, the other was him faking someone else's death years later) How hot does a fire need to be to burn someone to pretty much nothing? I'm guessing pretty damn hot?

It is difficult, but a pottery kiln would do the job. As the first poster said, an ordinary cremetory isnn't very good at burning bone, but those aren't very good furnaces. If someone is a potter with a gas-fired kiln, the use that. There are lots of industrial furnaces that would be adequate: glass-making, blast furnaces, etc. But many industrial heat sources are not adequate: brick making and many furnaces for melting metal for casting.

[quotw]Also, another creepy question... Is it impossible (or at least very, very difficult) for someone to slit their own throat in the "proper" way (head tilted forward to bunch together the jugular and carotid artery, knife at an angle for a good cut)? A girl in the story slits her own throat because the psychic brother forces her to, but I want the cut to be suspiciously well done so that the other characters guess that she was forced to slit her own throat by someone who really knew what they were doing and could force her to body to do things it wouldn't normally do. What would be the best cut to use to make them suspicious?
[/QUOTE]

I assume that you want it to be possible that someone else did the slitting. It is possible, but that assume that the odd brother knows how it is done properly also. Actually, there are many ways that a throat can be slit such that it would look like another did it. The problem would be getting the victim's fingerprints off the weapon. If he made her cut from left to right, holding the knife in her right hand, then it could be interpreted as you wish, especially if the blade were perpendicular to the throat.

onesecondglance
08-01-2012, 10:18 PM
My MC Lucy has a rather psycho (and psychic) brother who has an infinity for burning people to death through "spontaneous combustion."

No idea about the actual questions, but I think you mean an affinity.

muse
08-01-2012, 11:00 PM
There's some great info on this site. I use it all the time: http://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/category/cause-manner-of-death/

This might be a quicker link for your 'fire' question:

http://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/crispy-corpses/

GradyHendrix
08-01-2012, 11:07 PM
Gasoline fires are pretty notorious for burning poorly. I'm not sure there's any way to ensure that one would burn someone beyond recognition. That said, given the underfunded forensics labs out there, and the long waiting lists that have resulted, it's entirely possible for a DNA or dental records match to take up to a year if it's not fast tracked.

shaldna
08-02-2012, 12:54 AM
A crematorium operates at temperatures up to 1800 degrees F and there can still be bone fragments left. The "ashes" people recieve have been processed through a grinder to result in a uniform texture.

I remember watching a news segment about Roselawn (a local crematorium) and they showed the box that was the end product, and it contained all sorts of things from bone fragment to teeth to bits of metal, such as gold fillings, glasses and jewelry.

Fenika
08-03-2012, 05:15 AM
Wait, why is the head tilted forward proper?!? I don't butcher that way. Most good cuts require things to be taught, not bunched. Plus, tilt your chin enough and it is very protective.