The Sicilian Mafia is known for its "lupara bianca," or "white shotgun," murders, whereby victims mysteriously vanish without a trace. According to informants, a common method of disposal is to dissolve the bodies of victims in vats of sulfuric acid. Not only does this satisfy any Mafioso's sadistic side , it also destroys the evidencei.e. the corpsewithin minutes. Or so it is said.

"We put the people in acid. In 15, 20 minutes they were no more they became a liquid," said one talker. [10 Weird Things People Do Every Day (and Why )]

Recently, a group of forensic scientists decided to engage in a gruesome act of myth-busting, and tested whether or not flesh really does disintegrate within minutes when dunked in acid. Massimo Grillo of the University of Palermo in Italy and his colleagues presented their results at a Feb. 23 meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

When the researchers placed pieces of pig carcasses in sulfuric acid, the flesh took several days to dissolve. When they added water into the mix, they were able to reduce the dissolving time to 12 hours for muscle and cartilage, and two days for bones.

"But it is impossible that they completely destroyed a corpse with acid," Grillo told Science News.

Perhaps there are worse acts than a bit of exaggeration.

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