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Morticians, ER Nurses, And Other People Who Work With The Dead Are Sharing Their Wildest, Creepiest Experiences On The Job

"It literally made me pee a little in fright."

WARNING: This post contains graphic content regarding death, dead bodies, and gore. Please proceed with caution. 

Redditor u/octopuszilla asked, "People who work in morgues or with the dead, what is the creepiest thing you've witnessed?" From wild to straight-up terrifying, here are 19 of the creepiest stories they shared:

1. "Sometimes, when people have died, and we turn them over to clean and dress them, they still have air in their lungs and will make grunting noises when moved. Scared the crap out of me the first time I experienced it."

u/Kvoller

2. "One of the decedent's* grandsons faked a breakdown over the casket. While doing so, he stole all of her jewelry off her body. It didn't take long for the family to figure it out; a large brawl broke out, and the jewelry was retrieved. The creepy thing was that, two weeks later, that grandson turned up at the morgue, needing to be processed and buried."

u/tossaway78701

*decedent = the person who has died

Harper looking shocked

3. "I am an ER nurse. One time, we had someone die, and no one came to claim the body, so they went to the morgue, and that was it. But their phone stayed behind in the ER by accident. Every day at 2:30 p.m., an alarm would go off. We couldn't turn the alarm off or shut the phone off without a passcode, and the battery on that thing was lasting FOREVER. So, we locked it in the med room, but it was still really loud. We had to listen to that dead person's alarm haunt us at the same time every day for a week. To this day, I shudder when I hear the same ringtone."

u/NurseJoy_IRL

4. "My best friend growing up lived in the 'upstairs' of his family-owned funeral home. We used to play hide and go seek in the caskets until one day one of the 'empty' caskets wasn't empty at all, because they had just gotten a 'delivery' from a different funeral home."

u/slytherinprolly

A casket in a dark room

5. "My wife is a mortician. 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 and giving her 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."

u/iamblankenstein

6. "I had a gig doing overnight transport of dead bodies for a while. Think black suit, white shirt, black tie, unmarked black van, and white gloves. Our boss wanted us to look high-end. Anyway, we needed to transport a recently-deceased middle-aged woman 250 miles in the dead of night from a hospital morgue to a mortuary near her extended family. It'd been a solid two hours of total silence when the corpse let out a low wail. It sounded like, 'uhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh!'"

"I just about shit myself as I swerved off the freeway and sprayed out a rooster tail of gravel and dirt. Even though, intellectually, I knew this was just stomach gasses escaping the body, I couldn't help but be a little freaked out."

u/henrysmyagent

7. "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."

u/LocoEMT_911

8. "Back in the day, I worked for a funeral home. Oftentimes, when an elderly client has prearrangements and they pass away, I would be dispatched to collect their earthly remains and bring them back to the funeral home to be prepped for their celebration of life/going away party. Sometimes, this would be a collection directly from the morgue, and sometimes, it would be from their residence. More often than not, this was typically in the middle of the night. I was on call from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Well, one night, I was dispatched to collect an elderly gentleman in the middle of the night. By the time I got back to the funeral home, it was around 3 a.m.”

"Once I helped 'Mr. Doe' get comfortable in our cooler, I was ready to leave. As I was just getting ready to set the alarm and head back home, the prep room door behind me FLUNG OPEN, and then SLAMMED very abruptly.

This door is very big, very heavy, and takes some power to open and close. Needless to say, I was early for my normal shift in the morning because, well, I didn’t go back to sleep. The creepiest thing about it is that just before that happened, the hair rose on the back of my neck."

u/Gh0stW1thTheM0st

Kenan looking scared

9. "Sometimes, a fresh corpse will get shaky limbs. It makes it really hard to bag up in a hurry."

u/alien-eggs

10. "Human osteologist here. I work with dry human bones, so they don’t do too much. But the one time 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, and that that’s probably exactly what my skull looks like. It really humanized things for me."

u/Peculiarbirds

11. "My creepiest moment was when I was in the morgue by myself at 4 in the morning. I was using the lift to put a body into a crypt. It had reached roughly eye level when the power suddenly went out. It is now pitch dark — I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face. All the fans died, so all I could hear was the crinkling of body bags and disembodied voices in the distance. I couldn't make out what they were saying or where they were coming from. The power came back a few moments later, and I moved on with my night."

"As it turns out, the voices were just the automated, 'The power has gone out, switching to generator power,' message. Haha, still creepy."

u/Swazz_bass

12. "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. I 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."

u/Maelja

13. "I helped with an autopsy where a woman wasn't found for a few weeks, and her cats started chewing on her."

u/riphitter

14. "I worked at a funeral home for quite awhile. When I first started — about a month in — I was working during a holiday weekend. The only people there were the transport guys and me. They came to drop off a body and left right away. I thought they were still there and needed to ask a question. I walked into the embalming area, and this dude was SITTING UP ON THE GURNEY looking right at me when I opened the door. 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 reclined position, and rigor mortis had set in. So, they couldn't flatten him out. It's still the scariest moment in my career, even if I got a laugh out of it later."

u/nachosquid

A body with a toe tag on it

15. "People who had been on blood thinner medication before they died can make for an odd scene. I saw a guy that died looking out of his window, so he was discovered with his head on the windowsill, and there was a thick column of 'jellied' blood from his nose to the floor. It was a bit freaky."

u/uglygargoyle

16. "My grandma used to work in an ER in Puerto Rico. A guy had passed away, so the doctor asked her to prepare the body to go to the morgue. 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, his penis went down. Then she crossed them again, and lo and behold, his penis went straight back up. She tried one more time before being thoroughly freaked out and going back to the doctor. Obviously, he found this hilarious, as the guy apparently had a prosthetic in his penis the entire time."

u/capta1n_sarcasm

Rachel looking shocked while on the phone

17. "A friend told me this story ages ago, and I hope I remember it well enough. When he was 18, he worked for a single-plane transport contractor, and one time, they had to carry a body. It wasn't autopsied or prepared for funeral yet, but that was where they were taking it. So, it was wrapped and just sort of laying on the floor. Now, when you're in the air, the rise and fall of the airplane will do strange things with gravity, air pressure, and necromancy. In any case, the corpse had enough air in its lungs that the lower pressure outside the body caused the air inside to be expelled, slowly, and through the larynx. Meanwhile, the rise and fall of the plane caused the body to sit up and for the wrapping to fall away from the body. Sitting up caused it to expel more air from its lungs. So, while flying a dead body in the plane, the crew heard a long, low moan, and saw a dead body sit up in the back of the plane."

"The pilot panicked, left the controls, ran back, and PUNCHED the corpse across the face, knocking it back down. He told me about how they figured out what happened later, but I was laughing too hard at that point to really pick up the details. I do remember that they had to explain the additional damage to the corpse when they arrived at their destination, though."

u/crazy-diam0nd

A woman with wide eyes

18. "I was bringing a body to the hospital morgue and heard it groaning. It had been less than 20 minutes since the doctor had pronounced them dead. I freaked out and started unzipping the bag to make sure they weren't alive. I ripped the zipper open on the bag, and it was apparent the person was dead, but the eyes were open. I wasn't ready for that at all. Creepy."

u/MikeNice81_2

19. And finally, "I got punched in the balls by a dead guy. I used to work hospital security. Part of our job was to help with 10-80 assists (movement of bodies to and out of the morgue). I was on a call to move one, and the body's limbs were sticking out at odd, stiff angles. I attempted to move the corpse's arms into a better spot to shimmy the bag into the body fridge. His arm stayed in place for a moment, but when I released my grip, SMACK! Ol’ buddy hit me right in the sack."

u/QSlade

While I recover from the goosebumps that are covering my body, it's time to ask if you have ever had an experience like these? Members of the BuzzFeed Community who work with dead bodies — what was your wildest, creepiest experience on the job? Tell us about it in the comments below or via this anonymous form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.