It’s possible that Emily Deschanel suffers from a mild case of trypophobia, the fear of porous objects. That would explain why an episode about coral and porous bones got under her skin, so to speak. Talking to Al Roker, Deschanel revealed how icky “Spaceman” was for her to film, saying:
“I get grossed out by weird things. Like there was an episode where there was coral in a bone? And that freaked me out. I don’t know. Yeah, [the victim] used it as a replacement. I think it was an astronaut? It was a long time ago. Things like that creep me out. But these disgusting bodies? I just show up and eat my lunch over it and it’s not a big deal.”
Roker expressed relief that Deschanel didn’t have to work with real human cadavers, which, it seems, she had done. Playing a character who studies dead bodies eventually brought the actress to a real morgue so she could get some hands-on experience with real corpses. That, she recalled, was quite different from the simulated experience on “Bones,” as the rubberized bodies made for television don’t smell the same as the real deal. Deschanel said:
“It’s a different smell, because I’ve been to the morgue. It’s a different smell. [… I didn’t go] at the beginning, but I did eventually go to the morgue. And, yeah, it’s an experience you never forget for sure.”
Bone coral also played a part in the episode “The Devil in the Details” (February 4, 2010) wherein a victim had implanted coral in his skull to encourage the growth of real bone horns. This is a similar procedure that famed sideshow performer The Enigma underwent. Deschanel didn’t mention “Devil,” perhaps inured to the idea by then.