Tuesday, June 20, 2017

That (Sickly) Sweet, Distinctive, Unforgettable Smell

It started with an odor blossoming like a noxious flower near a garage attached to an apartment building.

A cable television repairman, in the area for his job, called the police.

When they arrived they found a revolting scene.

A dead, decaying body was swathed inside a garbage bag stuffed inside that odoriferous garage.

The next day, two more bodies were found, one in the basement of a vacant house, the other in the backyard of another house. Both also were inside bags.

One killer most likely was responsible. It didn't require a genius to decipher that. The victims were all African-American women and were found within 100 yards to 200 yards of one another.

Michael Madison (born October 15, 1977) was the man responsible. He's an American serial killer from East Cleveland, Ohio, who committed at least those three murders.

On July 19, 2013, after a standoff with police at his mother's house, Madison was arrested.

The cable tv repairman who made the initial call that led to the arrest joined an exclusive club. Members generally include law enforcement investigators, first-responders, pathologists, students, and of course the occasional stumbling non-professional (as well as some very twisted individuals, psychopaths, serial killers, etc.)

Chances are, you're not a member...

 But here's a quick test for you: have you ever smelled death? Death’s smell is distinctive, instantly recognizable and unforgettable.

But if for whatever reason, you want to smell it for yourself, there's a way to experience that rotting bod bouquet without, um, getting your hands dirty.

Would you believe there's a plant that emits an odor so similar to the smell of death, that it's called the Corpse Flower? It's technical name is the Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) and there's a damn good reason why it emits corpse odor...

But first check this out:

The gas given off smells like a rotting corpse
The Corpse Flower sprays its stench of rotting corpse  

The reason this plant is so unique is that it draws bugs that feed on dead animals.

It flowers for two days only. But it can grow three to four inches each hour of those days. The plant only grows on Sumatra, an Indonesian island west of Java and south of the Malay Peninsula, which is known for its rugged tropical terrain, wildlife and smoldering volcanoes.

Of course, the English can access it, too....

Currently there are two biomes that feature plants from diverse climates and environments. The project is located in a reclaimed Kaolinite pit about 1.2 miles from St Blazey and 3 miles from St Austell, Cornwall.

The flower's extreme scent also has been described as rotting fish.

And now amazingly the Corpse Flower's essence has been bottled. Eau de Titan is marketed for men and is designed to draw attention to the rare plant.

A spokesperson for the Eden Project, which is responsible, said they they have gone "where no perfumer has gone before" by creating a scent from the corpse flower."

Over 800 chemicals make up the smell of death, according to a forensic anthropologist at the University of Huddersfield in England.

The death-smell cocktail requires multiple stages of death, and each with a different chemical signature. The stages are tweaked by a multitude of environmental conditions: moisture, air temperature and treatment of the body.

Despite the variability and complexity, important scents in different stages of decomposition have been identified by researchers.

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