Thursday, August 13, 2009

ISDP: “Smell, What Smell?” Edition

Some people think First Nerve has an unhealthy, even morbid, preoccupation with the stench of decay. Nonsense! We think these stories usefully the break through the taboos that wall off the dark side of smell. If you’re so inclined, join us for another month’s roundup of ISDP.

On July 14, WMBD/WYZZ-TV reported:

A body is discovered at a Bloomington mobile home Tuesday afternoon after a neighbors noticed a foul smell.
Another account says “A foul smell led a maintenance man to the discovery.” 

Either way, here’s the alarming part: 
Several neighbors said people may have dismissed the smell initially, thinking it came from the nearby sewage treatment plant.

In Massachusetts, a man sought in the death of a young woman shot himself to death after a standoff with police in Westminster on August 1. The woman’s body was found the previous day in an apartment building in Fitchburg. She was 29 years old. 

The woman’s across-the-hall neighbor said he “did not realize anything was amiss in the building until state police knocked on his door about 10:30 p.m. Friday,” although “he had noticed a foul odor in the hallway outside his apartment for several days.” 

Next time he’ll probably put 2 and 2 together a little faster.

Also on the oblivious end of the spectrum are the folks who live on Indian School Road and 105th Avenue in Avondale, Arizona. The body of a 28-year-old male homicide victim was found in a nearby vacant home on July 22 by an employee of a property management company.
Neighbors said they could smell the stench for days before police arrived.

“It was almost like a dead animal kind of smell,” said Donna Bekstrom, who lives around the corner. “I’ve never smelled anything like that. I’m in the medical field, I never smelt anything like that. It was a bad smell.”

But not bad enough to do anything about . . .

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

According to KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, on July 15:
The foul odor emanating from the trunk of a red Ford Focus led police to a gruesome discovery . . . The badly decomposed body of a man was found inside the trunk of the vehicle . . . the victim’s head was covered with medical bandages and his hands were tied behind his back . . .
In Boston on August 7:
A foul smell caused residents at the Clare Gardens Condo Complex in Hyde Park to call police.
Officers found the bodies of two men in a rental car, dead of trauma. One of the men had been reported missing days earlier.

The Great Outdoors

A “partially decapitated” body wrapped in plastic was found near a gravel road in Gwinnett County, Georgia, on July 15. It “was discovered by a resident who was investigating a foul smell in the area.”

A dead body was found in Shabakunk Creek in Lawrence Township, New Jersey on the evening of July 16. According to
the body was discovered just after 9 p.m. by a hot dog stand owner nearby who smelled a foul odor.
In Florence, South Carolina on July 20:
Someone called Central Dispatch about 11:30 a.m. because of a bad smell coming from a grassy area behind the Bi-Lo store off Freedom Boulevard and the railroad tracks, Florence Police Maj. Carlos Raines said.
The deceased was a 50-year-old transient from out of state.

On August 4, lawn workers in Seminole County, Florida, “noticed a foul smell coming from the woods across from the post office on Montgomery Road.” They found a body hanging from a tree—an apparent suicide.

And Finally

This case just missed our IDSP “Couples’ Edition” in July. Boston Globe reporters John R. Ellement and Jazmine Ulloa have the strange story of 51-year-old twin brothers found dead in separate rooms of their Fenway-area apartment. Police “were called to the Norway Street building by residents reporting a foul odor.”

And from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, comes this odd, heartrending story about a dead body whose relatives insist it does not smell.


not a fan of hot dogs said...

"the body was discovered just after 9 p.m. by a hot dog stand owner nearby who smelled a foul odor"

I'm surprised he could smell anything besides the odor of those 'lips n ass' dogs he had boiling away.

Avery Gilbert said...

Not a Fan:

I had a related thought--about the foul smell of the used dog water that New York street vendors pour into the gutter at the end of a long muggy day in August . . . by the next morning it's a rancid pool. One of the varied mini-stinks that dot the Manhattan smellscape.