Somewhere in San Marcos, Texas there is 16-acre extra-ordinary ranch called The Freeman Ranch. Extra ordinary because instead of growing crops or raising livestock, they do something terribly morbid but quite necessary.
Across the ranch, more than 50 decaying human bodies are scattered. If you’re wondering, no, this is not some sort of serial killer hideout.
The Freeman Ranch is part of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University.
The research from the Freeman Ranch has been invaluable to law enforcement agencies around the world.
Donated bodies are used by researchers to see the effect of different weather conditions and terrain setting on the decomposition of human bodies.
New bodies are delivered to the ranch several times a month.
The new bodies are either placed out in the open where they are accessible to wildlife.
The body goes through three stages of decay when it’s inside the cage.
During the first stage, the body bloats out because the bacteria inside release gases as they consume the body’s carbon. Next is advanced decay. This happens after the body bursts and releases decomposition fluids. Finally, there is the dry decay stage, which comes when nearly all flesh on the body is consumed. This stage is usually reached after several weeks, and is the stage most of the bodies at the Freeman Ranch are in.
This is what a body looks like after several weeks when it’s not inside a cage.
Due to the nature of the research, Freeman Ranch has a high tech security system and is under constant surveillance.
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