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These simple words, followed by an office and a home phone number, usher one into the quiet landscape beyond it: a couple acres of nondescript, fenced-in land, and in the distance a shed, an abandoned trailer, a few trees, and some dirt paths. There are rows of green tarps covering bulky heaps on the ground. Yellow plastic sashes with CRIME SCENE written on them in black cordon off little areas here and there. On closer inspection, human skulls and assorted other bones are found strewn among the leaves, and soon it becomes clear that there are swarms of maggots doing their job on the remains. The human remains. The Anthropology Research Facility—or the Body Farm, as it has been nicknamed, much to the chagrin of its employees—is dedicated to the study of the rate of human decomposition. It’s a critical and still-emerging field of forensic science that helps to identify and lock up murderers and gives TV crime writers all their best material. Dr. Bill Bass, the facility’s founder, has twice the energy of a man half his age and possesses a warm, welcoming demeanor—not what one might expect from someone whose life’s work is dedicated to the study of rotting corpses. But Bass is all charm and smiles. When I met with him on the facility’s grounds in Knoxville, Tennessee, surrounded on all sides by bodies in varying states of decay, he answered questions about how he came to open the research center with undisguised and fresh enthusiasm. WATCH MORE ON VBS!