A Window into the Morgue Part II

It’s been 4 years since I featured the fascinating, disgusting, wonderful instagram account @mrs_angemi. Run by Nicole Angemi, MS, PA (ASCP), a New Jersey forensic pathologist who wants nothing more than to share her love of autopsy and the weird things that happen inside our bodies. Her social media presence is massive, probably because she shows us things that no one but a surgeon or pathologist will ever see. She also features living patients with horrific injuries, and she doesn’t shy away from dead fetuses, which is always nice. (Un)fortunately, Instagram has implemented the “sensitive content” filter since my original post 4 years ago, so some of these posts may require an extra step before you’re exposed to their full gore glory. That’s probably a good thing, because I assure you that these are goddamn stomach-churning (besides the first one <3). Enjoy!

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💀Forensic Friday!💀 DECOMP If your nostrils have never had the pleasure of encountering the smell of a decomposing human, imagine mixing together poop, pee, blood, pus, vomit, dead fish, rotten eggs, then topping it off with some garlic🤮It is up there with one of the most foul smells a human can experience. Once you smell it, you will know if you smell it again. It is very distinct. Human decomposition is not a clear cut process and can vary greatly depending on the situation in which a person dies. There is a forensic lab called “The Body Farm” where scientists study human decomposition in different staged scenarios. Some factors to consider are: 🌡Temperature. Did the person die in room temperature in the hospital and immediately get placed in refrigeration? Or on the beach on a hot summer day? 🌅Environment: What part of the world does the patient live? Is it hot and humid? Cool and dry? Desert? High altitude? Salty air? 💀Cause of death. Did the patient have an illness that would raise the body temperature such as an infection? 💉Age/health. What was the age of the person? How was their health? Were they obese? In this case, this is a decomposed, elderly female who died at home from a heart problem approximately 2 weeks before her body was found. She was living in an area that had a reported average temperature of about 78 degrees F. Her house was not heated or aired- but she had the windows open. The moment she died her body began to decay. The process of death invited flies to come in the house and eat the dead flesh. The flies laid eggs on the dead flesh. The eggs hatched maggots. Lots and lots of maggots. (Sound on). The maggots slowly eat their way through the dead tissue until there is no more. This is about the average condition you expect to find a body after 2 weeks in this environment. If this same person died today here in Philadelphia where it is expected to hit 100 degrees this weekend, the body could look like this in a matter of days rather than weeks. Heatwaves can be a busy time in the autopsy business. People die from excessive heat and decompose quickly. Photo: @derletztemachtdaslichtaus_no.1 #forensicscience #forensicfriday

A post shared by Nicole Angemi, MS, PA (ASCP) (@mrs_angemi) on

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This is a video from an autopsy I did a couple years back on a 19 week old fetus. When a baby is miscarried, we examine it externally and internally to see if it looks “normal”. We are looking for anything that may have caused the miscarriage such as a genetic defect, or an anomaly with the organs. If indicated, we will also send a piece of fetal tissue for genetic testing if the cause is unknown. This fetus died because there was a problem with the placenta leading to the miscarriage. The overall grey color and the dark color of the legs occurred after death because of the preservative the fetus was placed in and the placement in the specimen container. Here I have the chest and abdomen skin cut off and the ribs removed. I am grabbing an organ with my forceps that you won’t see in an adult. This is called the thymus gland. It is sitting right over the heart. This tissue is very prominent in the fetus and in children and then it atrophies or shrinks after puberty. When you do an autopsy on an adult, the area of the thymus is now replaced by fat. The thymus is an organ that is an essential part of the lymphatic/immune system. One thing you probably noticed is the fetal liver. It is huge! Again, this fetus died of natural causes from a problem with the mother’s placenta. All of the anatomical structures you are looking at in this fetus are completely normal, unfortunately it wasn’t quite old enough to live on its own.

A post shared by Nicole Angemi, MS, PA (ASCP) (@mrs_angemi) on


That’s all for now…I am feeling physically ill, I can only stomach so many wounds at a time.



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The Author



Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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