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Dark Destinations > Locations - B > The Body Farm, Knoxville, TN

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Availability: Closed to the Public
Filed Under: Infamous Crimes
Literary Sites
Added By: TheCabinet
Added On: June 02, 2007 - 06:43 PM UTC
Last Modified: February 19, 2012 - 10:42 PM UTC
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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Note: This Web site is not affiliated with the University of Tennessee. If you wish to donate your body, please visit the University's Web site (see Related Sites below).

University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility
This facility, located at the back of the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, was the first of its kind.  The two and half acre facility was founded by Dr. Bill Bass in 1981 to research and document the effect of decomposition of the human body for forensic investigators worldwide.  Human remains that are donated to the University are placed in variety of real-life scenarios that investigators might face.  These include storage in cars, shallow graves, garbage bags, suitcases, or even complete exposure to the elements.  The body's decomposition is rigidly charted and researched and has aided greatly in helping identify time of death, as well as nature's effect on the human decomposition process.

The name "body farm" was reportedly started by local police, but became popularized by author Patricia Cornwell, who used the facility as research for her novel, The Body Farm.  The novel put the small research facility on the map.

One of the limitations of a facility like this is that it can give investigators a good understanding of the human decomposition process in this general area, under the typical conditions of the southeast.  However, comparison data will be drastically different in other areas of the world and, as such, "body farms" are now being opened around the world.

The Disappearance of Caylee Anthony
Most recently, the facility received worldwide news exposure for its role in the disappearance of two year-old Caylee Anthony of Florida. In July 2008, Anthony was reported missing by her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, in Orlando. According to the girl's mother, Casey Anthony, she had been missing since mid-June but she had not reported it. During a series of phone calls to 9-1-1, Cindy Anthony stated that she believed she smelled the odor of human decomposition in her daughter's car. She would later retract those statements and insist the smell could just have easily been a rotting pizza or other garbage. Regardless, police officials turned to the investigators at the facility to perform tests on the car. On August 27, officials from the Anthropology Department announced that air samples from the trunk of the car did show chemical evidence of human decomposition.

No Visitors
This is a research facility and does not offer tours or open its doors for the morbidly curious.  The bodies within were donated in the name of science and any intrusion into the facility could taint ongoing studies.  The University has even erected a fence around the facility to keep out gawkers and reports that there have been some injuries of people attempting to get over the barbed wire fence.  In short, respect the "No Trespassing" signs and let the researchers do their work.  If you want to get into the facility, you can either apply for admission into the Anthropology Department at the University of Tennessee or donate your body for scientific study to the University.
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Related Sites
Forensic Anthropology Center of the University of Tennessee
The official site of the Forensic Anthropology Center of the University of Tennessee, home of the Anthropological Research Facility or "body farm." Includes information on body donation.
Jefferson Bass
The official site of author Jefferson Bass, the writing team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass, the founder of the "body farm" or Anthropological Research Facility of the University of Tennessee.
Donate Your Body to the Body Farm
Direct link to the donation page for the University of Tennessee.
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See Also on
Blog: Tales of the Body Farm (04/29/08)
Blog: Dark Destination's Birthday: Top 25 Destinations (08/05/08)
Blog: The Top 25 for the Month of October 2008 (11/04/08)
Blog: The Dark Destinations Top 50 for Spring 2009 (05/24/09)
Blog: Top 20 Dark Destinations for Month of January 2010 (01/31/10)
Available from
Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales
Beyond the Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science
Flesh and Bone: A Body Farm Novel (Body Farm Novels)
Carved in Bone: A Body Farm Novel (Body Farm Novels)
Body Farm
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The above content is for informational purposes only. Before making any travel arrangements, it is highly recommended that you contact those in charge of the property to check for updated availability and hours of operation. While we do our best to keep this information updated, we cannot guarantee that it is completely valid and up to date. Any destination marked "Closed to the Public" is marked that for a reason and we discourage any visits or attempts to gain access to that facility. Similarly, take note of any "Travel Advisory" that may be associated with a destination. Finally, treat any location and its local residents with respect. Any vandalism and/or unruly behavior is completely despicable and only ruins the experience for future visitors.

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