One Reddit user asked people in the funeral home industry what are some creepy stories in their line of work.
I’ve always wondered how funeral home workers do their jobs while they’re shrouded in an environment of constant morbidity. Somebody’s got to do it, right?
Embalmers, morticians, and funeral directors are the ones who spend time with the deceased making them look as presentable as possible for their last viewing.
It seems as though a plethora of scary stories would come out of their occupations and you’re right.
1. Corpse sits up all by itself
“My neighbor awhile back before I moved was a mortician. One night he had a body he was preparing for a very early morning wake or service (whatever was going on, it was unusual, and it required him to work into the wee hours of the morning on this particular corpse).
So as he’s working on it, he turned his back to grab some tools or supplies, and the angle he was standing at with regard to the corpse left the body visible just out of the corner of his eye.
As he was looking down at whatever tools he was getting, in the corner of his eye he saw the body slowly start to sit up.
His fight/flight instinct immediately kicked in, and he ran to the stairs as fast as he possibly could, but he was so clumsy trying to get up the stairs he tripped and was pretty much crawling and clawing his way to the top.
He was just near the top before his senses finally came back, and he knew it was rigor mortis. He collected himself and started to laugh at how absurd it all was.
He had been doing this for 15 to 20 years at that point, and he had never had a freak out like that before where instinct overtook knowledge and experience.
He actually sheepishly admitted he had to go clean himself because he had soiled his pants in the panic.”
2. Dead man holds on to medical technician
“I used to work in tissue recovery. My least favorite part was prepping a donor for recovery, as it included shaving the arms/legs. Once, we had a donor who was very freshly deceased. I held his hand to shave his arm, and his fingers curled around my hand as rigor mortis set in.
That was exceptionally creepy.”
3. They groan as they are moved
“If the deceased have a lungful of air, then moving them causes it to release. When the air travels through their throat, you get some minor vocalization, but it’s usually just a liquidy gurgle. It still gets me sometimes, though, if I’m working alone.”
4. Lights flicker every time a new body is brought in
“I’m a nurse, and the only place I’ve ever seen the lights flicker is just outside the morgue. They are fine almost all of the time but when we bring a body down the lights always flicker. Really creeps me out.”
5. A body shivers in the presence of a living one
“I was filling out paperwork over one of the bodies while working late when it shuddered. Never saw that before or after, no explanation.”
6. Funeral home lights go on and off by themselves
“I’ve only experienced something one time and that was around 10PM, after two years with no activity at the location. I had turned all the lights off in the chapel, and when I went to check the casket door, the lights turned back on. I was nowhere near the switch.”
7. Ceremonial doves are devoured by hawks
“I’m a funeral director/embalmer and I have seen… just so many bad funerals. One that really stood out was the time that a family released doves in a rural cemetery, after being told not to, and a hawk ripped one to pieces.”
8. A woman with a glass eye requested it be left open for her service
“I was a part-time funeral director’s assistant. We once had an elderly woman with a glass eye who requested it be kept wide open for the service. Gave me a hell of a fright when I saw her in her casket.”
9. Man has his dead dog waiting for him at funeral home
“My mother worked in a funeral home. One day, she was asked to go up in the attic to look for some old records, and came across a baby coffin. She went to move it with her foot, and could tell it wasn’t empty. Immediately went back downstairs and asked the director about it.
Apparently it’s a client’s embalmed dog that’s being stored until he dies, so that they can be buried together upon his death.”
10. Identical twin shows up to funeral in the same outfit as his deceased brother
“My mom works in the funeral business. Sometimes I would come to work with her and help her set up the chapel for a service.
One service in particular was of a little boy who drowned. His parents dressed his identical twin brother in the same outfit as him for the funeral.”
11. Funeral workers dress as clowns for a funeral
“We had a clown one time. This person was buried in full clown costume with makeup and all.
At the family’s request, the funeral directors were clowns too. They supplied costume and did our makeup. Family and friends had one teardrop painted on near the eye.”
12. Funeral tech is asked to clean eyes that aren’t there
“One of the creepiest for me was having to clean a gentleman up…I was supposed to clean his eyes, as well.
Opened those up only to see two empty sockets. No eyes. Apparently, it was a post-autopsy embalming.”
13. A man punches a corpse while paying his last respects
“I worked at a funeral home for a while when I was a teenager. After an open casket viewing a man came in saying he wanted to pay his respects privately. No big deal, that is fairly common.
We led him into the viewing room, opened up the casket and told him to take his time.
A couple of minutes later we’re sitting in the office and hear a really loud popping sound, followed by running and the door slamming.
We ran into the viewing room and the deceased’s mouth was hanging open and the skin was odd looking. The best we can figure is that he punched the guy and took off.”
14. Woman tries to steal her child’s body during the funeral
“I have a sad one from a funeral director’s perspective. Separated parents were mourning the loss of their toddler at the visitation before the funeral. The mom was grieving unlike any mother I’ve seen grieve over the loss of a child – almost fake.
She proceeded to pick up the deceased child, “hide” him in her coat, and walked out the door when no one was looking.
The other funeral director I work with found the mom running to her car where he stopped her and grabbed the kid. We found out two months later that the mother and her new boyfriend had physically abused the kid.”
15. Decomposition so bad, that cremation was only viable option
“A man was brought into us after lying dead in his garage for 3 weeks in the summertime. He was covered in bugs, his skin was black and green, and the skin sloshed right off the bone. I couldn’t do anything for that case, he was cremated.”
16. Woman’s hair and nails keep falling out
“We were prepping and washing the body of a 90 year old woman. One of her toenails fell off, and the hair on her head kept falling out. It took a good 3 hours to get her hair put back in one strand of hair at a time to make it look acceptable.”
17. A man brings his new girlfriend to his wife’s funeral
“Both my parents are funeral directors. At one service, the wife of an older gentleman had passed away. The widower showed up to the funeral with his new girlfriend who was much younger and was wearing a very revealing outfit.
Whenever the husband would begin to cry, the girlfriend would bring his head to her bosom to comfort him while stroking his hair.
Shortly after the ceremony ended, the husband asked one of the funeral directors about the flowers from the funeral.
He wanted to know if he could take them with him for the wedding he was having that weekend with his new fiancé.”