LETTERS  PCR #394      (October 8--14, 2007)

  • Mike "Deadguy" Scott once again on "Bodies: The Exhibition".
  • Reader inquiry #19,781 on availability of Creature Feature episodes.

    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


    Below is my reply to Eileen regarding her continued objections over "Bodies: The Exhibition", its practices, and my defenses of them. Her quotes from Lettercol #392 are highlighted, my responses follow.

    "There are different rules and regs and fees and health inspections for human bodies."

    Absolutely, and my point is that these regs/fees/shipping/handling requirements/ etc, are outdated because Plasination (when done properly) removes the health threat that they would otherwise pose. I feel that pending some sort of official approval of the successful plastination of a specimen, they should no longer be required to be treated as biohazardous.

    "I might point you to the San Francisco fiasco when these plastinated bodies began to leak, silicone and body fluids. Indeed, pathogens dangerous to human health were found in this fluid and that is why the SF city council threw them out and banned such exhibits."

    Plastination performed correctly simply does not do this. The fluids found leaking from these poorly-plastinated specimens were uncured silicone with SUPPOSEDLY traces of liquified body fat. Or at least that's how the media reported it when they "had it checked by experts" (ABC7). When the state did its own tests, only reports of the silicone was officially reported by the state. By that point the media was in a frenzy on the subject, and false reports came from all over the place.

    "They are NOT stable unless handled in a certain manner ie. temp, humidty, hot lights, etc. will begin deterioration of these bodies.."

    This is a standard "cover-your-ass" document, and shouldn't be accepted as reliable. There ARE limits to the conditions these specimens can withstand, which is true of just about anything, but considerig the fluid is gone from a properly plastinated specimen, if the silicone somehow "fails", they are approximately as hazardous as freeze-dried beef jerky.

    "If this process was stable forever, they would not be cremating them upon return to China"

    The plastination group responsible for these specimens has literally hundreds of volunteer bodies. The process is evolving, and their surgical accuracy improves all the time. Yes, the bodies eventually decay too, but not in the puddled rotten mess you might envision. The silicon begins to breakdown slightly. It weakens and discolors, the flesh underneath will also discolor as it is permeated by the silicon, and may be forced to wrinkle as the silicon's strength fades and various new torsion weights are applied by the body. Plus, when a body is improperly plastinated, there's no chance to "try again" on the same body. When any of these happen, it's time to "retire" the old body. This is also true of the bodies that had "questionable" beginnings in Chinese mental institutions. It's far easier to start new with new bodies than to argue points over existing ones. Why store bodies that places won't let you show if you can simply drop a new one into the exhibit?

    Also, you mentioned that stagehands complained for 6 months about the body conditions. Ask your husband [a doctor] what condition a cadaver would be in if left under similar propped-up conditions for 6 months. Better yet, even 90 heat hours.. If he's unversed in heat hours, suggest he checks out the body farm where the concept of "heat hours" originate from. There would be little to complain about after that. Those plastinated bodies receive much more than 90 heat hours under the display lamps, day in ad day out. In any event, one final try at explaining my position.. You have to handle a regular corpse with kid gloves because they're fairly delicate in terms of already being unstable hazardous material/ disease control, etc. With plastinated models, you barely need to handle them with care at all, so why pay all the fees and follow the regulations associated with regular corpses?

    If you have a valid reason, than consider this... If they followed all of the rules you want them to follow, they might as well use regular corpses instead, and plan on replacing them daily under the display lamps. The regulations would reguire anyone attending to have hazmat training and be wearing hazmat approriate apparel.

    Can you not envision a difference here? Those regular requirements are inappropriate to the plastinated specimens.

    Well either that, due to my exposure, along with 1000's of others exposed to this exhibit (in Florida alone) I'm dying from all the infectious material in the exhibit. Look out, everybody panic.

    Find me a case where someone exposed to the exhibit has "come down" with something as a result of coming into contact with a plastinated specimen in that exhibit, and then perhaps we could continue this discussion on the basis of evidence and proof as opposed to theories and media speculation/fear mongering.

    Otherwise, I simply have to rest my case on that alone.

    -Mike Scott
    Clearwater, FL


    Where can get ahold of old Creature Feature DVDs? I love Dr. Paul Bearer and would love to relive his shows.

    Pete Muraszewski

    Pete, Hi and thanks for writing! There are no officially-produced DVDs of old Creature Feature episodes, sorry to say. Coincidentally, we are planning on offering some of our own copies for sale this month. Please check back for more on this development. ---Nolan

    To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

    Back to top

    Closing this browser window will return you to the homepage