The fear of death is a common one, but there are those who face it every day. Morticians and funeral home workers who make their living from dealing with the dearly departed will tell you that for most, death is a fairly ordinary affair. However, every once in a while the unexpected happens and that’s when things can get a little unsettling. From corpses that walk to encounters with otherworldly presences and the gruesome day to day tasks that are just part of the job.
In their own words, funeral workers and morticians share their strangest and most macabre stories direct from the morgue.
1. The Walking Dead
“My husband used to work at a morgue and the stories he’d come home with were something else. I’ve heard from others in this field of odd experiences of bodies sitting up, presumably from tightening muscles, and one account of a dead man walking part way down a hall before collapsing. My husband said that he stepped away after setting the body out for cleaning and autopsy, came back and saw that the body was gone. He was alone, it was the middle of the night, he thought he had gone crazy and then he saw the body collapsed in the hall.” – The_Drizzlin
2. In Deaths Grip
“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.” – Kittens
3. Moans of the Dead
“If corpses 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.” – Loverboy21
4. The Flickering of Lights
“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.” – Nurse_Kitten
5. The Corpse Rises
“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.” – the_8th_henry
6. Tears of a Clown
“We had a dead 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.” – spicemaster242
7. The Cleanup
“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 flesh sloshed right off the bone. I couldn’t do anything for that case, he was cremated.” – Tejnin
8. Mystery of the Standing Man
“Back in med school, during an internship at the coroner’s, I saw a case when a man in his late 50s was found dead at home, although under quite peculiar circumstances. His body was found standing – yes, standing – in the bedroom, with one leg raised and resting on the bed, basically as if he wanted to climb on the bed but suddenly died. Further examination led to a severe heart attack as the most likely cause of death, however, no evidence of someone moving the body post-mortem could be found. The conclusion was that either someone would have to have found him quite early and basically held the corpse for hours until it became stiff enough to stand on its own, or that his death was so sudden, that it happened just in the right moment so that his body would be perfectly balanced and not fall over.” – JaZoo
9. The Sound of Sobbing
“My first experience at work was when I first started my embalming career. I had just started my shift and was using a restroom in the back. When I came out, I heard what sounded like a girl sobbing and the sound of feet shuffling around on the floor. The floor was kinda gravely and had a distinct sound if you scooted your feet on it. The sound was coming from around a corner that led into a small room where we would store embalmed bodies ready to be delivered to their respective funeral home. I figured someone was upset and crying. So I snuck in, still hearing the sobbing. When I peeked around the corner, the room was empty. No living person in there. I noticed that there was only one body in there as well. A young girl. She shot herself in the side of the head. I wasn’t scared per say, but I’m pretty sure you could audibly hear my heart beat.”
I wasn’t scared per say, but I’m pretty sure you could audibly hear my heart beat.” – spicemaster242
10. Life after Death
“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.” – vibree
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