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efreysson
06-17-2014, 12:51 PM
Yes, I come up with lovely topics. :)

Anyway, I'm writing a medieval battle and there is a whole heap of dead bodies next to a burning siege tower. I'm describing the scene through the protagonist and I started wondering what happens to pools of blood close to a big fire. Does blood evaporate to some degree or does it just burn? What would the smell be like?

Thanks.

waylander
06-17-2014, 01:14 PM
Probably clots.
Many sources refer to the smell of burning/cooking meat under such circumstances. Think raw meat on a BBQ.

King Neptune
06-17-2014, 04:21 PM
If the fire is big enough and burns long enough, then the blood would dry and burn, just the blood still in the carcasses. It would smell like burning meat; think of an out-of-control pork BBQ. Stay upwind of the fire or you'll have trouble eating pork in the future.

Telergic
06-17-2014, 06:06 PM
Here's a case for direct experiment! Poke your finger with a sterile pin, squeeze a drop or two of blood onto a bit of tissue paper, ignite, and sniff.

heza
06-17-2014, 06:47 PM
When we cook steak in the grill pan, the blood pools around it a bit. It starts to solidify a little, sort of a rubbery looking mass, and turns brown, but eventually it shrivels up and burns to brown/black ashy stuff.

WeaselFire
06-17-2014, 09:03 PM
Blood dries. As it dries it darkens and turns brown.

Jeff

snafu1056
06-17-2014, 11:12 PM
Bear in mind that blood isnt the only bodily fluid you might find around the site of a brutal battle. One Muslim ambassador traveling through China after Genghis Khan's escapades reported that the roads and countryside in one hard-hit area were "greasy with human fat."

J.Emerson
06-17-2014, 11:29 PM
Probably clots.
Many sources refer to the smell of burning/cooking meat under such circumstances. Think raw meat on a BBQ.


If the fire is big enough and burns long enough, then the blood would dry and burn, just the blood still in the carcasses. It would smell like burning meat; think of an out-of-control pork BBQ. Stay upwind of the fire or you'll have trouble eating pork in the future.


Bear in mind that blood isnt the only bodily fluid you might find around the site of a brutal battle. One Muslim ambassador traveling through China after Genghis Khan's escapades reported that the roads and countryside in one hard-hit area were "greasy with human fat."

Yes to most of the above.

Blood has a metallic tinny smell when it is fresh, but if you're talking masses of dead bodies then the smell of blood will take a back seat to the smell of dead flesh. And yeah it's mostly water, so when it burns it's mostly just going to turn into a dried substance. Fat on the other hand burns and turns into a liquid, leaving the flesh on top dessicated (think of cooking chicken with the skin on, the skin dries up and gets crispy, the fat melts into the pan - sorry for the mental image, but it's the closest I could come up with).

(And by the way, blood only clots when the person is alive).

I used to work as a medic and while I've never seen a pile of burning bodies before (thank God), I have been present while the fire department was trying to pry open a burning car. The only thing to be smelled then was the gasoline and oil getting burned. So that's another thought - don't forget the smell of whatever accelerant they use to burn the bodies.

King Neptune
06-18-2014, 02:04 AM
I used to work as a medic and while I've never seen a pile of burning bodies before (thank God), I have been present while the fire department was trying to pry open a burning car. The only thing to be smelled then was the gasoline and oil getting burned. So that's another thought - don't forget the smell of whatever accelerant they use to burn the bodies.

And they will have to use a lot of accelerant to burn fresh bodies, because they are very, very wet. In a Medievalish setting they would use wood, and there would have to be more wood than bodies.

efreysson
06-18-2014, 10:37 AM
I used to work as a medic and while I've never seen a pile of burning bodies before (thank God), I have been present while the fire department was trying to pry open a burning car. The only thing to be smelled then was the gasoline and oil getting burned. So that's another thought - don't forget the smell of whatever accelerant they use to burn the bodies.

Well the bodies aren't being deliberately burned. They just happen to be close to a burning structure.