Every job has its stories, but some jobs are innately more storied than others.
People who work in morgues and cemeteries are bound to have a more horror movie-esque 'day at the office' than people working in literal offices. Even the most seasoned death worker is likely to have a few experiences that still shocked them.
Funeral Director here. About 15 years ago I had a lady whose husband passed from a terrible motorcycle accident. When she came in to make arrangements, she mentioned that she wanted his leather jacket back.
Not terribly uncommon for people to want the personal effects back however in this case the jacket was ripped and torn and saturated with blood and had bone fragments embedded in it.
Personal effects from the corners office are usually returned in a sealed bag. The second it was given to her, she took it out and put it on. It smelled terrible. I truly hope she is doing OK now.
I work with a lot of hospice patients so death is a common occurrence in my field. One night when one of my patients had literally just passed the phone rang.
It was the daughter hundreds of miles away who had never checked in on Mom the whole time she was in my care. She sounded panicked and asked if Mom was OK.
That timing always weirded me out because it really seemed like she somehow knew something happened with her Mom, who near the end was confused and constantly insisted she needed to find that daughter.
If someone’s been down for more than a day or two, they’ll start decomposing from the inside out. If the room is quiet enough, you can hear lots of gurgling and rumbling as the gases and fluids are moving around inside.
And then you move them and they groan as the residual air in their lungs is forced out past their vocal cords.
I work as a Motor Vehicle Collision Analyst. We get called to fatal vehicle collisions and reconstruct what happened/caused the collision, provide analysis and provide courts with expert testimony.
I've seen a lot of deceased persons and animals. I've seen almost every wretched way a human can die in a collision. However, there is one, that stays with me every fall. Late October I get called out to a fatal single-vehicle incident.
The driver was traveling through a shallow S curve but going too fast. She was not able to negotiate the first turn and her vehicle enters into critical velocity, the wheels buckle on the passenger side and she rolls.
She was not wearing her seatbelt and through the first roll was partially ejected out the drivers side window. Her skull was crushed between the outside of the door and the road; and continued to flop partially ejected as the vehicle rolled.
The skull was split from her left eye to the right rear behind her ear. This caused her brain matter to be strewn about the road and car. Her body was eventually thrown from the vehicle and came to rest on the side of the road.
One aspect of the job requires an inspection of the bodies to look for evidence. I approach the body, that is facing upright on her back. The skull was very open and I could clearly see the inside cavity of the skull with no brain.
The brain was deposited in chunks on the road and has a distinct smell. This scene didn't bother me at the time, I was more fascinated than anything at the time.
A few hours later I get a call from my wife, just asking how the day is going. I told her I was on scene and couldn't talk too long.
She then asks if I will be working late tonight or be home on time because tonight we were going to be carving pumpkins with the kids.
Years later I still can't carve pumpkins and kids have no idea why.
My wife is a mortician. she's had quite a lot of wacky experiences. This is more funny than creepy, but once she was trying to break up the rigor mortis in a decedent's hip by flexing the entire leg up.
Her grip slipped and the leg swung down, the heel cracking her right in the face, resulting in a black eye. She had to explain to people that she's not in an abusive relationship, she just got kicked in the face by a dead guy.
Had a gig doing overnight transport of dead bodies. Think black suit, white shirt, black tie, unmarked black van, and boss made us wear white gloves. He wanted us to look high-end.
Needed to transport a recently deceased middle-aged woman (breast cancer) 250 miles in the dead of night from a hospital morgue to a mortuary near her extended family.
It's been a solid two hours of total silence when the corpse lets out a low wail. Sounds like uhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh!
I about s**t myself as I swerve off the freeway and spray out a rooster tail of gravel and dirt. Even though, intellectually, I know this is just stomach gasses escaping the body, I couldn't help but be a little freaked out.
I was part of search and rescue for 3 years. I was in the scuba team so we were responsible for finding the usually dead people at sea. The saltwater adds so much horror to a body.
Not to mention the fish that usually will start picking on a corpse sooner than later. My creepiest experience was trying to find the body of a Jane doe was missing. She was a pr*stitute against her will, brought over by human trafficking.
Turns out she slit her wrist parallel to her veins and jumped into this rocky and sharp outcrop into the sea. We went diving in less than ideal conditions. It was low visibility and waves.
My scuba buddy and I were looking at a outcrop when suddenly out of the darkest a deep blue hand emerged from this little cavern in the rocks. It began twitching and moving and as we tried to pull the hand the rest of the corpse emerged.
She was being picked on by Murray eels (hence the twitching) which emerged with bits of human flesh in their mouths. Her mouth was wide open in a scream position and her eyes were gone.
You can see tendons and bones in her hands and the sharp rocks tore her entire body to shreds in various spots. Her toes were mostly gone too with some bits of bone sticking out.
To this day it haunts me. The worst was pulling her out and swimming with the body as eels and fish followed us, occasionally picking on bits of flesh.
EDIT: changed the term sex worker to clarify that it was against her will as suggested by some redditors.
People who had been on blood thinner medication before they died can make for a odd scene.
Saw a guy that had died looking out of his window so he was discovered with his head on the windowsill and there was a thick colum of 'jellied' blood from his nose to the floor. It was a bit freaky.
Before COVID, I worked at a funeral home that wasn't particularly well run. I was a funeral assistant, and one of the embalmers was notoriously difficult to deal with. Her name was AJ.
About 4 days before this story, AJ had picked up a deceased man who had died of septicemia and who was to be cremated due to the fact he was already in a bad state on death.
So AJ had the brilliant idea to leave this gentleman on the rolling cot for four days unrefrigerated, figuring it wouldn't matter since he was being cremated and it was a slow week.
Of course, I got the job of moving him to the crematory with AJ. We walked into the embalming room and found that the decedent had bloated and was leaking a grey liquid sludge out of his urinary catheter onto the floor.
If pestilence had a smell, it would've been this liquid. It smelled like a warning to the base lizard part of my brain. To describe this liquid as smelling bad is an understatement.
The liquid was something you could feel and sense in the air. AJ and I donned our gear, and luckily since she placed him on a cot already, we didn't have to do much in the ways of moving the body.
Unluckily, the cot was relatively old and one of the cot wheels had to be manually unlocked using hands, as the foot pedal was too rusted to effectively use. AJ told me to unlock it, and so I carefully bent down and unlocked the wheel.
Well, AJ got the bright idea to shake the cot violently as some sort of prank, sending the grey liquid over the edge directly onto the top of my head, dripping down under my eye protection and mask.
I closed my lips and eyes so the liquid running over them would stay out of my body, and calmly walked to the employee bathroom in a sort of numb state of shock.
The funeral home owners saw my sludgy appearance and sent me home paid for the rest of the day.
The creepiest thing is the f**king curtain of flies and maggots blanketing the floor of an apartment where a woman had been decomposing in the hot late August/early September sun for 3 weeks before she was discovered.
I thought it was dark in that apartment, but there were simply that many flies caught in the glass covering the lightbulbs. On the ceiling. The floor lamp. The stovetop light. Every. Single. Light. Was covered in flies.
The windows were dark with flies. Dead flies, and even more flies than that on the window panes. It was a horror movie. She was melted into the couch.
When we tried to pick her up, her spine just...fell outside of the rest of her body and she ended up in pieces. I guess it's less creepy and more skin crawling. But I HATE flies and maggots. Freshly dead, I can deal with.
Decomp in and of itself is fine. But the sight of those flies was just 🤢 I'm pretty sure I threw out the clothes I wore that day. I just couldn't.
Worked at a mortuary for a few years. We have methods to keep the jaw shut for viewing, otherwise it would gap open due to the angle of the head and neck. During a viewing, the device failed and this gentleman’s mouth literally popped open.
The lead embalmer was not on site so I did my best. Ushered the family out of the room and superglued his mouth shut, but he didn’t have teeth and supergluing just his lips did NOT work. It looked as if he was attempting to scream.
I had to call in one of our other mortuaries in town and that embalmer used a giant needle and thread to sew his mouth shut from under his chin to his palate.
Here is a funny story from my grandma. She used to work in an ER in Puerto Rico. Some guy had passed away and so the doctor came up to her and asked her to prepare the body to go to the morgue.
So, she got some sheets, and started to wrap this guy up. As she crossed his legs, suddenly his penis became fully erect and was straight up. She wasn't sure what to make of it. But, it forced her to have to redo the sheets.
So as she uncrossed his legs, the penis went down. So she was like, al right, lets get this over with. Then she crossed them again, and lo and behold, the penis went straight back up.
Tried one more time and then she got freaked out and went back to the doctor. Obviously he found this hilarious as the guy apparently had a prosthetic in his penis.
I delivered pizza to a crematorium.
Dude set down his pizza on a cardboard coffin to get money and I couldn't stop looking at the box on the conveyer leading into the crematorium chamber.
I pointed out 'isn't that a little disrespectful?'
The dude came back and simply said 'oh, don't worry about him, he won't mind.'
One of the decedent's grandsons faked a breakdown over the casket. He stole all her jewelry. Didn't take long to figure out and a large brawl broke out. Jewelry was retrieved.
Two weeks later grandson turns up needing to be processed and buried. Creepy as hell.
I worked at a funeral home for quite awhile. When I first started, about a month in, I was working a holiday weekend. Only people working were the transport guys and me. They came to drop off a body and went right back out.
I thought they were still there and needed to ask a question. I walked into the embalming area & this dude was SITTING UP ON THE GURNEY looking right at me when I opened the door and it literally made me pee a little in fright.
Turns out the transport guys picked up the body from an area hospital. He'd passed away while in a slightly reclining position & rigor had set in. They couldn't flatten him out. Still the scariest moment in my career, even if I got a laugh out of it later.
Human osteologist here. I work with dry human bones, so they don’t do too much.
But one of the one times I’ve ever gotten “the creeps” was when I was handling a crania in the collection and could hear the wisdom teeth shaking around, partially formed but not quite erupted, in the mandible.
Wisdom teeth form around 18 years old and erupt generally in late teens or early 20s. I, at the time, was about 20 and my wisdom teeth were just coming through.
I realized these remains belonged to a girl about my age that’s probably exactly what my skull looks like. It really humanized things for me.