Forensic Scientists Describe The Most WTF Things They’ve Seen On The Job

Forensic scientists are possibly the most difficult of scientists to freak out, giving that they (the specific subset we are looking at today, at least) spend a lot of their time looking at human remains. It’s hard to get scared when gawping at the gristle inside a human body is what you know as a “Tuesday”.

So when they class something as “WTF” you’d better believe you’re in for something grim. These are just the kind of stories they’ve been sharing in these Reddit threads. Below are a few of the ones that are grim enough for inclusion, but not so awful that we couldn’t bear to force them into your brains as well. You’re welcome for that, by the way.

If anything needs explaining, as usual, we will jump in.


Hiding the evidence

“Excavated a mass grave of a family killed by the Nazis for assisting the Resistance,” one archaeologist wrote. “Somehow, the number of corpses does not match the number of family members sentenced to be executed and buried there.

“Forensic bioanalysis ensues. Turns out someone capped a 13-year-old girl sometime around 1980 and buried her expertly within an existing mass grave to hide the evidence. Why? Who? Nobody knows. Her skull is on my office shelf right now BTW.”

They offered up photographic evidence of the skull, clarifying that the skull was not there for gruesome reasons but in order to create a 3D model of her face so that she might one day be identified.

The clues were all there

What did she see?

Forensic science: awful, but amazing at the same time

Did not need to know this

Never try PCP

Phencyclidine or phenylcyclohexyl piperidine (PCP), is mostly known as angel dust, a drug used for its mind-altering effects.

Seriously, there are so many stories involving PCP in these threads, and this is the only one even remotely suitable for inclusion. View the rest at your own peril.

Botched disposal

Expanding fluids

This particular grim scenario is familiar to anyone who has spent a few minutes reading about the victims of Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 CE.

Many of the victims in the nearby town of Herculaneum died when the extreme heat caused their heads to either crack, explode, or their brains turn to glass. Even worse, the heat and pressure that caused their heads to explode likely came from inside their own heads, according to a study in 2018. The team found evidence of “rapid vaporization of body fluids and soft tissues of people at death due to exposure to extreme heat,” ie their blood and other fluids boiled inside them, and their flesh vaporized shortly afterward.

Digital forensics is no better

Some questions are better left unanswered

We’ll leave it there, but there are thousands of others to check out, many of them much worse than anything we’ve included here. Enjoy.


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