A little fun with forensic entomology …

Dead fly in chip bowl June 2020

My heart actually broke for this poor fly that died in my empty potato chip bowl in June of 2020.

Writers—especially of the darker genres—often joke that after we die, people would find things in our browser histories that might indicate we were actually something more sinister: how long does it take someone to drown, could you actually kill someone with a steak knife?, what kinds of poisons have no smell, how do you rob a bank?

Recently, I had to do some research on types of bugs that might be associated with a dead body. I had taken a really interesting forensics class back when I was working toward my (still unfinished) certificate in archaeology about twenty years ago, but digging up those notebooks in the basement was more daunting than Googling it.

I found this interesting little article from the Amateur Entomologists’ Society called “CSI Entomology: Insects at the scenes of crime.” You can check it out here: https://www.amentsoc.org/insects/insects-and-man/forensic-entomology.html

It’s not complete or very detailed, but it’s a good place to start if you’re a writer and you need to work on this particular level of realism in your stories, or maybe if you just need to make one quick mention (as I did). Have fun!

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of the New England Horror Writers. Follow her adventures at kristipetersenschoonover.com.

Posted on February 3, 2022, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, The Writing Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Fascinating stuff, Kristi. Once the soul has departed, I think the science of decomp and carrion feeders is so interesting. And yay to all the forensic scientists like my cousin who track down bad guys using that science!

  2. Yeah, she says God called her to do that work, her way of fighting evil I guess.

    • I almost think you’d HAVE to have a special calling of some kind from within or from wherever to do that work because, while fascinating, I imagine you’d have to have an iron constitution to do it–it must be pretty gross. It’s a rather gutsy choice for a profession.

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