How could there still be an odor that many years after Cory’s death ?

Recently in the AtticSecrets group the long standing debate of whether Cory truly died has reared its head once more.

Since Secret Brother, old school fans and newer fans have been split in opinion of this fact.

As we at AtticSecrets like to explore the canon VCA and the majority of us believe in what VCA alluded – that Cory did ,in fact, die and Corrine hid his body in a secret attic room to decompose – we have been exploring and discussing how this possibly could be…..

Jennifer Pruitt asked quite sensibly

How could an odor remain that many years after Cory’s death ?

I’ve researched this quite a bit, in regards to whether it would still smell and the rate a body decomposes. In fact I’ve written in detail on the group before having come across this matter when studying criminology.

It struck me then, just if it was still possible that Cory had been stored in a secret room to decay and also if an odor would still be present almost 20 years later as insinuated in Petals on the Wind.

In order to answer this , you’d have to understand the process of decomposition of a body and the ultimate question

How long does it take for a human body to decompose ?

It all depends on the internal and external environment to which the body is exposed.
The duration it takes for a dead body to decompose depends on various factors, any of which may affect the necessary time it takes to break the body down. If a dead body is inside a coffin and buried deep underground for instance, the body could even take 50 years for every tissue of the body to disappear. However, if the body is exposed to the elements, the decaying process will be very fast.

Keeping these scientific facts in mind, it is possible an odor still existed even that many years after the event.

Because Cory’s body would still not have been fully decomposed.

Then you need to consider the environment, his body was kept in.

A secret attic room ………where in summer the heat was unbearable , yet in winter the attic was like the artic.

It all boils down to the extreme changes in temperature the attic went through in summer and then winter. Cory died in October, almost at the beginning of winter – the attics artic conditions meant his body would decompose slowly almost being preserved but come summer and the extreme heat up there the decomposition would be acellarated giving off the stench , however within six months the attic condition s would come again putting that process on hold … Effectively almost stopping it.

This process could and would have gone on for years and that’s why a smell still lingered …because Cory’s body did not decompose like a normal person’s body would due to where it was stored.

When normal condition s and burial could mean a body decomposes up to fifty years after the death these extreme conditions it is almost certain that not only did Cory’s body emit an odor but that his body wouldn’t haven’t even have been fully decomposed itself at this time.

Member Lynette sums this up brilliantly and gives us a disturbing yet sound image

I go back and forth on it. They’re in Virginia, which tends to get really swampy, humid heat; a body in a hot attic in a Virginia summertime is going to putrefy and be pretty nasty. If–and please forgive me for this image–it starts oozing into the surroundings (that blanket Cory was last seen wrapped in, for example), then the smell could linger for a while even after the body skeletonized. I’d even buy the smell still hanging around ten years later, especially for dramatic effect.

But the thing is, the attic is described as dry, hot, and dusty in the summer. Things don’t mildew up there; clothing and books fall to bits when touched. Likewise the winters are cold, but no one talks about them being particularly damp (and Southern winters tend to be wet). Maybe the Foxworths invested in good weatherproofing; I don’t know. In that case I’d assume that a body left in an attic would probably rot, then dessicate, leaving a little Cory mummy like the body shown in the film version. In that case, I’d still buy that there was a lingering odor and that someone might associate it with death. It’d just be a weird musty odor rather than a rotten one.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Edgars F says:

    A problem I see with this theory is that Cory wasn’t a typical eight year old physically at the time of death.

    He had been starved, growth had been stunted and finally he was decimated by acute arsenic poison. Therefore decompose would have happened much more faster. Since there is not much there to decompose.

    Example: take a look at Nazi concentration camp survivors and in a concentration camp life expectancy was months not years.

    I believe though VC Andrews as the writer gave a clue as to what happened to Cory in what is called in righting Foreshadowing. Remember how Cory became lost and nearly died while playing Hide and Seek with Chris and Cathy? He locked himself into a trunk in the cavernous attic. It was mere luck they found him.


  2. Edgars F says:

    Then there is this food for thought.

    IF Corrine’s purpose was to poison all of her children and she was so deathly afraid to get their bodies out of the house that she would stash them in secret rooms.

    Well I don’t think Foxworth Hall would smell that nice with four bodies stashed in walls in the North wing.

    Perhaps Corrines intent was as she claimed. Make the kids appear sick so she would have an excuse to get them out of there to the hospital. Past the evil all watching eye of Olivia.

    Remember Carrie did have a fever of 103.5 and who was the first to demand getting her out of there and to the Hospital?? Oh that’s right Corrines.

    An of course Secret Brother tells the tale of a mysterious traumatized boy waking up in hospital and adopted by a nice family. Corrines original plan?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t personally see Secret Brother as canon BUT I do believe Corrine when she said she had that plan … I think Corrine just really was that stupid and desperate to try something so dangerous. Cory was a complete accident in my POV she never meant to kill them


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