Morticians have the sort of job very few people would be comfortable doing. Death is far too personal––not to mention scary––for lots of people out there. And yes, these jobs, like any other, have their wild moments, as we learned from a since "deleted" Redditor who asked: "Morticians of Reddit, what's the strangest or craziest thing you've seen on the job?"
"I'm in mortuary school..."
I'm in mortuary school at the moment and help out with removals and embalming. The gnarliest one I've worked on was a man who had been fished out of a creek after 48 hours. We couldn't even tell the ethnicity of the guy because of how green/gray he was. The entire left side of his face was gone due to the rocks and debris that eroded the skin off, and from hungry animals, you could see his skull through it. We counted six bullet holes throughout his chest and head.
Another case that stood out to me was picking up an elderly man that went into a Home Depot, found a corner, and shot himself in the head. We found a suicide letter explaining that he was recently diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease and he didn't want his family to suffer.
Funeral Apprentice; one of my favourite removals was the one where we all nearly got fleas pulling a guy out of a hoarder house- my guy was dead on top of a full bag of uneaten McDonalds. Second place goes to the woman we affectionately referred to as the 'maggot lady' because she died in her apartment (with no A/C) and wasn't found for nearly 3 weeks. We double bagged her and STILL got maggots on the floor.
Oh god, we picked up a really big guy from a hospital morgue and somehow within 24 hours this man was forest green and so bloated we were worried he would split open if we tried to move him.
"I had a call..."
I had a call where in a high rise a guy died of a massive heart attack when he was heading out to his balcony, so the balcony door is open and the top half of him is lying on the balcony, the bottom part is lying across the sliding door track and in the apt (he's in one piece, he just feel and died right there when he was opening the door).
This was during a heat wave.
It was only discovered when the downstairs neighbors complained of a foul liquid draining from the balcony above and pooling onto their balcony below.
I can only imagine that conversation with the land lord.
"There was a guy..."
My friend's dad ran the funeral home in our small town.
There was a guy in town who was always trying to break in to assault with the corpses.
This guy was eventually arrested and sent to the funny farm for trying to dig up a recently buried corpse, too.
Dude was NOT WELL.
"I was an intern..."
I was an intern at a funeral home my senior year of high school. I was basically the 2nd unofficial assistant to one of the two morticians. A guy who wanted nothing but Madonna played during his wake, a woman who wanted her father to be naked in the casket, a woman who wrote in her will that she must be buried in her wedding dress (the dress was a size 2, she was at least a size 14), and a guy who came back to life on our table.
But the strangest was the family who wanted an open casket wake and funeral for their son. Nothing out of the ordinary there... Except their son had been decapitated in a car accident. The rest of his body was actually fairly well intact, I mean trauma was obvious, but aside from the neck, he was looking fairly well. He had been decapitated by a 10lb bowling ball in the back seat that had been flung forward when he crashed into a tree at 65 mph. His head was just horrifying to look at. I had to leave to vomit when I first saw it. The father was the only member of the family who had seen the kid after the crash to identify him, and yet he still wanted the kid to have an open casket wake/funeral... We did what we could.
"I've seen it all..."
I've seen it all and done it all. Decomp, 600+ pound bodies, crematories leaking people grease, crunchy arteries that won't embalm for shit, sawed a few hundred heads in half on band saws (attached and decapitated), chest freezers full of amputated body parts for research courses, and dropped just one or two bodies on the floor by accident. I had a weird previous profession. I don't miss it one bit.
I'm with the autopsy tech above who was sawing the frozen head on the bandsaw - I always felt bad when the maintenance guys had to get involved...unclog a drain on the autopsy suite's table, or fix bearings on the Butcher Boy band saw (yep, that's brand name).
I used to kinda chuckle when the FedEx guy would bring me a delivery and ask "what's in the box?" Like dude, have you seen Se7en?
"He once received..."
My father is a mortician. He once received a man from the corners office that committed suicide with a circular saw. The truly crazy part is that the saw wasn't considered evidence, but a personal effect. So legally the corners office had to give it back to the family.
"I wasn't an enbalmer..."
I wasn't an embalmer, but I worked at a funeral home as a staff associate. I was in the prep room during an embalming where the woman had breast implants. The volume of embalming fluid must have been too much because one of her implants burst. The embalmer ended up stuffing cotton balls in the breast to fill it back up.
"I get sent..."
Funeral home apprentice here! We actually caused a crematorium to shut down because of what happened to me and the decedent.
I get sent to pick up some cremains January 2019. No big deal. I get to the crematorium and ask where the decedent is and they say "Finally you came he's been in the back since November!" Okay? So I go to grab the cardboard box they put the remains in and I walk in to a large cardboard box... The one we dropped him off in. He wasn't cremated.
The room stunk to high heavens, I lifted the box to find our mummified decedent. His face slack jawed and eyes empty and sagging. He looked like he was covered in green cotton candy. It was mold.
I gag. Call the boss and explain the situation. He gets pissed, tells me to bring the body back and he will call the authorities. I get back with the body and we learn the decedent had no family and was a veteran. The state would've paid. They did. They lied about the cremation to get money.
Needless to say he was taken care of, we actually put him in a nice casket and had a special ceremony after the desecration his body had to go through. We just felt bad.
Also obese people having purge pour out of their eyes and nose was always something that messed with me. So creepy to see.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.