OT: The Big House will never match this

Submitted by Don on August 8th, 2010 at 1:27 AM


There is more to Neyland Stadium than meets the eye.

Dr. Bill Bass, a forensic anthropologist and author who founded the Body Farm in Tennessee a quarter-century ago, established the research facility to study how corpses decompose and help determine the time since a person's death. The facility is utilized by researchers and law enforcement as a scientific research lab.

UT football fans come much closer to aspects of the Body Farm than they may realize.

"The anthropology department is housed in Neyland Stadium and the bones (from the Body Farm facility) actually end up in Neyland Stadium," he said.

"They are sitting on about 5,000 to 6,000 skeletons (in Neyland Stadium)," said Bass.

Bass said the football stadium is the closest the public should come to the research conducted at the Body Farm.





August 8th, 2010 at 8:15 AM ^

Most of the cadavers are held on the 3rd floor of Med Sci I. I have a friend who works in a chemistry lab that performs resonance Raman spectroscopy looking at molecular vibrational signatures of Osteoporosis found in bone tissue. She has to go to the tissue lab to collect samples all the time. 


August 8th, 2010 at 11:02 AM ^

"Through Fielding Yost’s dogged perseverance, the Regents approved the new stadium on April 22, 1926. Although Yost originally wanted to build the new stadium where the Michigan Golf Course is now located, that plan was denied. Instead, this new structure was to be built on land the University had purchased in 1925, land that at one time had been home to a barn, a strawberry patch, and an underground spring that had served the University’s water needs in the early years. The water posed a problem to the construction, as the land had to be lowered to take care of a large underground lake. The underground lake also led to a surface which nearly resembled quicksand. It was this moist ground that during construction, engulfed a crane which, according to legend, remains under the stadium today. The high water table also led to nearly three-quarters of the stadium being built below ground level."



August 8th, 2010 at 1:15 PM ^

Was indeed considered "Site A" for a while (vs. the "Miller Tract", aka Site B - the current site of the stadium), but I don't recall that site ever being denied.  IIRC the contours of the current site seemed more favorable for construction and it was/is closer to campus.  They didn't have Stadium Blvd yet but knew it was coming.


August 8th, 2010 at 12:57 PM ^

That's one of many Michigan myths, according to Dr. Robert Soderstrom, author of the The Big House.  I mentioned this in HTTV '10 as well.  The guy pored through records, memos, docs, and news stories -- while the spring they hit during the dig was a giant disaster, he found no evidence of a steam shovel or crane sinking and not recovered.


August 8th, 2010 at 8:36 AM ^

...Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC units was built from 1899-1900 and was originally the Homeopathic Medical College of the University

The Hospital was housed in this building until the Homeopathic Medical College was discontinued in 1922.

In May, 1926, the building was designated by the Regents as "South Department Hospital." The old hospital group of buildings, on Catherine Street, was designated "Convalescent Hospital."

The Regents' Proceedings for September, 1940, notes that "in view of the fact that the South Department of the University Hospital, so-called, is no longer used for hospital purposes but is occupied by the University Extension Service, the Naval R.O.T.C. unit the building was redesignated as North Hall."

So now you know that at one time, the University had two separate medical colleges.

Anyhow, North Hall has a sub-basement that was the hospital's morgue.  During my time at Michigan, the NROTC Battalion held an annual Haunted House down there.  Apparently the construction of the Life Sciences complex undermined North Hall's foundation and required some work to be done to shore it up but it also prevents the NROTC Unit from being able to obtain a permit from the city to hold the event.


August 8th, 2010 at 10:52 AM ^

Apparently the construction of the Life Sciences complex undermined North Hall's foundation and required some work to be done to shore it up but it also prevents the NROTC Unit from being able to obtain a permit from the city to hold the event.

I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've heard the word "undermined" used in its literal, not metaphorical, sense.

919 Brown

August 8th, 2010 at 9:09 AM ^

HBO – Autopsy Files did a segment on this place a long time ago, but I was only able to find this clip on it. It isn’t as in depth as the HBO one, but it’s still good. The part on “skin slippage” is fascinating and very important in the identification of corpses. And as disgusting as it all may sound, the work being done there is very beneficial to Law Enforcement.