Death’s Acre: The Legend of Dr. Bass

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On Saturday, Charles and I were fortunate enough to get tickets to the UT Alumni/ Atlanta Chapter event, “Beer and Bones,” held at the Atlanta Brewing Company. I, normally, am not too interested in these things, but when the newsletter mentioned that Dr. Bill Bass would be the featured speaker, I yelled for Charles and we bought tickets almost immediately!

We showed up to the brewery, signed in, got our swag and a beer glass (ours to keep) and found a spot to sit. We mingled a bit, got some not-so-great munchies, filled our beer glasses (note: my favorite is ABC’s new brew: #’s) and I waited for my chance to meet Dr. Bass. During a slight lull in the foot-traffic and got up and handed my book to his assistant. She wrote my name on a Post-It note so he would have the correct spelling. I got to him and he was the nicest man! We spoke for just a couple of minutes–I told him my brief story of how I came to have an English major and an anthropology minor (thanks to a man he actually hired, Jan Simek) and we even talked briefly of the “death” of print.


Signing his life away…


The highlight of my evening–one-on-one time with Dr. Bass.

I should have this framed!


Dr. Bass said he wasn’t all that familiar with the Internet. He told me that an assistant once informed him how many millions of times he’d been “Googled.” Dr. Bass laughed and told me, “I didn’t even feel it!” Ha! What an amazing sense of humor the man has!

His talk had us all completely enthralled. He spoke of three cases: 1) a missing teenager in the early 80’s that he identified using only a single tooth; 2) a woman who was discovered two weeks after her passing–and after her three dogs decided they were hungry enough to eat her; and 3) an X-ray autopsy he did of The Big Bopper in 2007 after his coffin was exhumed to be moved to a new location. I won’t go into too many details, but I could have listened to the man talk all night. What a fascinating life he has led!

One of the X-rays taken of The Big Bopper in 2007.

Charles says that the two words he will never forget from that night are “skin slippage.” If you don’t know what that is, and you don’t have a weak stomach, look it up.

Dr. Bass discussing “skin slippage.”


We ended our evening with a great supper at, appropriately enough, Six Feet Under. The fried green tomatoes were sooooo good!

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