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A Slice of my Death Inspiration: Mass Graves, Morgue Photos, Body Farm, Right to Die, Crematory Lessons

Unearthing the Secrets of New York’s Mass Graves

Do you know where unclaimed bodies in New York City go? Do you know what happens to your body after it’s been used for science? Nina Bernstein reveals the history of Hart Island, NY, where corpses are ferried twice a week to get buried by paid prison inmates in mass graves.

About Dying

Photographer Cathrine Ertmann takes intimate portraits of the dead. InAbout Dying she documents what death looks like at a morgue.

Forensic Anthropology Center

Colloquially known as the Tennessee Body Farm, the center is dedicated to studying the decomposition of human corpses. Understanding how bodies decompose in different environments allows forensic anthropologists to aid law enforcement by better identifying unknown remains. HERE’s a mini documentary Vice did on the body farm.

My Right to Die

Kevin Drum shares the history of legalizing assisted suicide— also known as death with dignity, or euthanasia. He delves into the complexities of how naming the movement affects public opinion, and he discusses why minorities that are wary of the medical system (often rightly so), are generally against legalizing assisted suicide. He frames the whole article in his personal story of individual and family health issues.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

When Caitlin Doughty was eight she witnessed a little girl fall off the second story balcony at her local mall. The girl might have survived (we don’t know), but to eight-year-old Caitlin it felt like witnessing death. This led her to become a mortician so she could confront her fear of death brought on by this childhood trauma. In Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Caitlin demystifies death by sharing what most would consider gruesome details of corpses and cremation— get ready for detailed descriptions of body burning.