Smell Of Burning Flesh Now Being Reproduced For The defence Department By Former Disney Imagineer

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Photo: Flickr/erin leigh mcconnell

There’s a few smells that are difficult to forget: gasoline and gun powder should go without mentioning, but there’s plenty more unsavory smells out there.Now there’s a company called ScentAir, started by former Disney Imagineer, David Martin, which specialises in reproducing such smells for the defence Department.

Justine Sharrock of Buzzfeed reports that among other things — like pleasant odours that keep consumers buying — ScentAir has been contracted to reproduce the darker sides of scent.

From Sharrock’s report:

A scent of burning flesh and dead bodies, mixed with gasoline, gunpowder, sewage, burning trash, and exhaust … If you’re accustomed to the smell before you enter a combat zone, the thinking goes, it won’t distract (or traumatize) you as severely as it would if you were experiencing it for the first time.

“‘Improvise, adapt, and overcome’ is one of [the military’s] mantras. It’s being able to navigate your environment and the situation you are in,” ScentAir spokesperson Ed Burke told BuzzFeed.

There are also less morbid uses for the technology, such as teaching pilots what a burning wire smells like. Certainly such sensory practice can and will illicit more timely reactions out of military operators — what stomach acid smells like will get a proper response out of a field surgeon, or however a pilot should respond to a gas leak.

There’s more to the report, in terms of companies contracting certain smells — like “ocean” or “sugar cookies” — in order to influence buyers.

Nonetheless, it is an undeniably strange niche business to be in.

“Rotting flesh is a horrible, horrible smell, but it is amazing what they do with it,” says Burke. “It’s saving lives.”

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