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Unusual And Impossible Movements

 

I have been really busy the past few months taking photos for requests from findagrave.com, and haven't had an opportunity to write more of my experiences from my role as a funeral director and embalmer, particularly in the latter role. Those who are familiar with my previous stories know that I have been in that role for well over 30 years and have become a little passive to events of the supernatural nature within the walls of funeral homes and or even cemeteries. Occasionally an event will occur that causes one of those "hmmm" moments.

One such event occurred about 8 years ago. I had taken into the funeral home's care an elderly lady, I'd say somewhere around mid eighty. I had received permission from the family when I picked her up from her place of death to proceed with embalming. Now, to help with a little better understanding of an embalming oddity, if a decedent has been placed in refrigeration for any length of time, the cold causes a compromise of the cellular structure in such a way that regardless of how thorough the embalming process, the decedent will not firm up, but will remain flacid, even though thoroughly embalmed. Embalming shortly after death, without refrigeration causes the decedent to become very firm to the point that it is difficult to move their limbs very much. My usual practice is to place the left hand over the right so as to allow the wedding band to show if they were married. Anyway, The next afternoon I was preparing the lady to be dressed and casketed. As was my usual practice I placed a towel over her hands and used them as a resting place to steady my elbow while I placed lipstick on her with a small brush. To say that I was startled when she switched her right hand to the top position directly beneath my elbow is an understatement. I removed the towel to confirm that she had indeed switched her hands, but how, I still cannot discern, and she had been embalmed for over 24 hours.

A day or so later there was another embalmer with me in the prep room and we both were embalming new cases. The discussion turned to me sharing with him about the lady switching her hands. As he shared his thoughts about the hand switch, and mentioned a few odd experiences of his own, a pack of unopened plastic trays was literally thrown across the room from atop a storage locker. We both stopped our tasks to investigate and looked at each other like "WTF?" There was absolutely no other person in the prep room and the plastic trays didn't just fall, they were thrown from the top of the locker in a straight line trajectory and landed a good 20 feet from the locker. A minute or so later we retrieved the trays, placed them back on the locker and returned to our tasks. We never mentioned the event again. The trays remained there for months, until they were opened and used.

Thanks for reading.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, MarvinScott, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

MarvinScott (3 stories) (16 posts)
 
4 weeks ago (2017-12-24)
Meldel, Thanks for reading. Actually my daughters kind of thought I was weird because as one stated many years ago, "Only with my dad will I go wandering through a cemetery at 2 in the morning!". I think I would have had a kindred relationship with your mom. LOL. She was certainly correct about the living harming you faster than the deceased. I have shared a table many times with a decedent (sat on it with them) in the cooler just to get cooled off from the incessant south Texas summer heat after a couple hours at the crematory. They certainly did not mind being asked to share. Merry Christmas.
Meldel (6 stories) (23 posts)
+1
4 weeks ago (2017-12-24)
Hi MarvinScott. I meant to add something in my previous message to you. My (now deceased) mother used to say that we should be afraid of the living, because the dead cannot do us any harm. She relayed many stories of her personal encounters with the paranormal, and would offer to sit in a cemetary alone at night because "nobody was home." However if she had met you, I think she would have changed her mind.😃
Meldel (6 stories) (23 posts)
+1
4 weeks ago (2017-12-24)
Hi MarvinScott. I suppose I should be thankful that I reside on the other side of the earth. If I was living in your area, I would probably embarrass myself by inviting you for a bottomless cup of coffee and encourage you to tell me about all your experiences! Your stories are amazing and you should really consider writing that book. The mere fact that you never once bolted directly after any of your experiences boggles the mind. Please continue with your story-telling. I look forward to reading them. Kind regards.
ajonverge (5 stories) (65 posts)
+2
1 month ago (2017-12-13)
MrRiggs: That comment you posted was almost poetic. 😉. I liked it. Good Day.
MrRiggs (5 stories) (73 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-13)
MarvinScott -

No need to be sorry. Hell, I'm proud of you. It appears your literary talent matches your courage.

Fiction abounds when it comes to ghosts and the like. Reality carries a much larger payload. Late night paranormal events in a funeral home are right at the top of the terror scale.

You have captivated your audience and bring out a fundamental human instinct in your readers. Would we freeze, fight or take flight? We wonder, and may really not want to know the answer.
MarvinScott (3 stories) (16 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-13)
MrRiggs, I am sorry if my story brought back long suppressed memories. As I was reading your message I also was reminded of those old black and white movies around Halloween. Some of those were really good as a child, kind of silly when I grew up. Even still those were great times and fond memories. Thanks for reading.

Marty
MarvinScott (3 stories) (16 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-13)
Jubeele, Thank you for your kind words and please accept my sincerest condolences on the loss of your father. I am so glad that you had such a pleasant experience with the funeral home. That is why we are here and makes it all worthwhile.

Thanks
Marty
MarvinScott (3 stories) (16 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-13)
Tweed, thanks for reading. Most anyone who has been around funeral homes for some time have a story or two to tell. I have to say that the story of decedents setting up is one that I have heard on many occasions. In 32 years I have never seen that happen. They will however quiver or move to some extent if they are embalmed before the oxygen has been completely depleted from the bloodstream. This is because the muscle cells are primitive and hang on until the very end. If someone were to sit up on me I would probably call 911 after a good punch to the noodle. LOL. No telling how one may act when surprised.

Best
MrRiggs (5 stories) (73 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-12)
Congratulations, MarvinScott. You have brought to the fore the fears I knew as a child. I lost those decades ago and now I am saying "hello" to the 10 year old boy I once was... 60 years ago.

I remember being frozen with fear on a very windy October night. The moon was full and our window drapes moved randomly in the breeze. The fallen leaves swirled and rose, sometimes nearly blowing in waves. It was after 11:00 PM and Karloff's Frankenstein monster made his way across the black and white television screen in our living room.

Old enough to grasp the horror, not mature enough to realize it was just entertainment, it was the perfect moment in my life to be terrified. It took a lot to break free of that terrifying fear, to turn off the television, and to dash up the moonlit staircase to the safety of my room as the shadows danced.

You brought that memory to life when I read of the hands of an embalmed body changing position below your elbow. I felt that old fear as it began to stir. That you felt a sense of malevolence as well as movement crystallized that childhood fear, and made it fresh. Gone like a shot, too petrified to move or simply scared to death... I cannot say what I would have done in your place.

Flying trays makes clear that you had an entity present and active. That you could ignore that and continue your work is amazing.

Thank you for sharing with YGS. Honestly, you should write a book, as truth and reality strike deeper to the heart than the best fiction.
Jubeele (9 stories) (467 posts)
+2
1 month ago (2017-12-11)
Hi Marty, I must admit I've always taken for granted the essential service that funeral homes provide for the community. When my father passed, my older sister made the final arrangements with the funeral director. She spoke of the skill the mortician displayed, the placement of the limbs, the brushing of the hair - even the tiny stitch at each corner of the mouth to give the semblance of a small 'smile' for the viewing. I remember keeping virgil for 3 nights at my father's wake and thinking how peaceful he looked in the casket.

You haven't made a big deal of the many uncanny events that you've witnessed. But I truly admire your courage and fortitude working under such circumstances that would make most people (myself included) run away screaming.

I've enjoyed the air of eerie mystery you bring to all your accounts. You've also given me a fresh perspective and appreciation of your service industry. Thank you for the final caring act you do for our loved ones.
Tweed (23 stories) (2070 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-11)
Hi Marvin, I absolutely love reading your experiences, thanks heaps for sharing!

Wow, did this give me the heebie jeebies! Sometimes I re-enact things I read on here to better understand the actions. I just did this for the hands and it's so weird! For a hand to move from under to over, while your elbow rests on top is not only creepy as all get out, but also too neat and perfect an action not to be paranormal. One word: Wow!

I've heard of funeral workers having bodies unexpectedly sit up and scare the pants off them. But those sorts of moments weren't paranormal. I think it was due to the position someone was in when they passed, combined with how long they were in that position. At least I think that's how it was explained.
My family owned/ran a florist business when I was a kid. I used to tag along to flower deliveries. Nothing paranormal ever happened, but I loved listening to some of the odd things the funeral workers chatted about. 😊
MarvinScott (3 stories) (16 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-11)
ajonverge, you certainly have one up on me. I could not imagine having to embalm my mother or dad, that's just too close. I did have to embalm my maternal grandmother at my mother's request, she would have it no other way. That was a very difficult task, and I do not think she understood the emotional endeavor she was asking of me. My wife assisted me in dressing her and doing he hair and cosmetics, she wept the entire time. Her and my grandmother were very close. I have lost both parents but I had a choice of which embalmer I trusted with such a task when you have lost someone so loved. Heck, I could not even embalm the funeral home owner when he passed away, just to painful, but I do understand (when we know the process so well) that need to know that someone so dear is in good and experienced hands. Thanks for reading my friend.
ajonverge (5 stories) (65 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-11)
MarvinScott: Hi there! First up I honestly do wish to thank you for the awesome work you do. It's not an easy job. It ain't for the weak-hearted. Having lost my father and having done his embalming myself here in India, I can only relate to what you are saying. The tray flying out does not seem normal. It's almost as if there was someone there who didn't wish for you guys to discuss what had happened. And it manifested with the tray being hauled from its place. Well, Unbelievable how things that we don't think are possible or could even exist have a way to change our beliefs sometimes. Anyway Peace! Keep up the Gods Work!
MarvinScott (3 stories) (16 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-11)
lady-glow, I am not really sure how the hands switched but it did cause a little tachycardia! LOL. I had a sense of malevolence at the time rather than benevolence, it certainly wasn't benign. I would assume that in rigid you are referring to rigor mortis. That is a post mortem change that happens within the first few hours, but I have never had one relax on request, in fact, it has to be manually broken up before the embalming process. Elderly, sick and the weak are not as fixed as the young, healthy and strong. Rigor in these cases is very hard to remove and requires a lot of strength. However it must be done to pose the decedent properly. Thanks for reading.
MarvinScott (3 stories) (16 posts)
 
1 month ago (2017-12-11)
L_Melb, sometimes something will happen that will almost make your heart skip a few beats, but most time we just ignore it. For instance, when I left yesterday evening I was sure to turn off all the lights in and lock the prep room door. I was the last one out. Upon arrival this morning the first thing I noticed was the prep room door unlocked and standing wide open. I was also the first to arrive this morning. No big deal, I just walked in, checked everything out and re-secured the door. I do not know how it got open and there were no new arrivals last night. Other times I too feel the hair stand on end. Thanks for reading.
MarvinScott (3 stories) (16 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-11)
The8Ms, Thanks for you kind words. It is also a great feeling when the family comes up and hugs you after the service. Being able to make this difficult time in someones life easier is the reward itself. Thanks for reading.
L_Melb (202 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-11)
I have to say I admire your courage!
Having a those hands move and not turning in to a blubbering mess and continuing working there would be way beyond my strength indeed 😐
The8Ms (2 stories) (15 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-10)
Thank you for the job you do handling this part of life with grace and dignity. I'm sure your work provides much comfort to many families and loved ones.
lady-glow (9 stories) (1696 posts)
+1
1 month ago (2017-12-10)
Wow! It seems like your workplace is full of surprises.
The case of the lady makes me wonder if her own spirit was the one switching her hands, or if there's another energy 'playing' with the body.

I have been told that when a person has died and the body is already rigid, they will relax if asked to do so. I have never had a chance to see if this is true or not and, as curious as I feel about trying it, I'm in no rush to find out.

Thanks for sharing.

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