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Mortuary Confidential

Date Friday - April 30, 2010
Host George Noory
Guests Kenneth McKenzieTodd Harra

In the first half of the program, authors and undertakers Kenneth McKenzie and Todd Harra discussed their work in the 'death care' industry, as well as shared stories from their book, Mortuary Confidential. Harra, a recent graduate of mortuary school, related the tale of "The Unwitting Smuggler," about an undertaker whose wallet was found in casket with a body he had shipped to New York.

McKenzie, who said he became interested in the field at a young age, recounted a humorous experience he had preparing a woman for her viewing. A relative had provided him with a photo of the deceased and indicated that she was positioned third from the left. McKenzie said he dyed the woman's hair red to make her look like the woman in the picture, only to discover at the viewing that she was the one located third from the right, not left, in the photo.

McKenzie described a shocking moment when he was embalming a freshly dead body and it began wriggling on the table. The unexpected movement was caused by proteins reacting with the formaldehyde, he explained. McKenzie also revealed that he has a psychic sensitivity to energy and can pick up on how someone died. Harra said he too has felt an energy presence around certain bodies and even sensed a spiritual presence in his old residence, a 100-year-old house, where he speculated many people have died over the decades.

'Fright Night' Calls

During Open lines, George offered a special 'Fright Night' line. Mark in Miami, Florida, said he was at a cemetery to visit his father's final resting place when he accidentally fell into a grave and landed on the coffin inside. According to cemetery employees, a water main break had washed away the dirt between the coffin and the layer of sod above, so when Mark walked over it there was nothing to support him.

George from Jersey City, New Jersey, recalled the time he was in a Puerto Rican cemetery looking for grandmother's grave. At some point during the search George said he needed to relieve himself and found an appropriate area to do so. While standing there, George claims to have heard a voice say to him (in Spanish), "Don't step on me, my son." According to George, he found his grandmother's bones there, as her grave had been emptied because of the family's financial issues.

Several callers also phoned in to voice their opinions on immigration issues.

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Undertakers Kenneth McKenzie and Todd Harra provided this artwork depicting one of the stories featured in their book, Mortuary Confidential. According to the account, an undertaker new to the neighborhood receives a bereavement turkey on Thanksgiving from a helpful neighbor who thinks there has been a death at the house.

Much to the neighbor's chagrin, the undertaker informs her that she is on call, hence the hearse in front of the house. Adding to the confusion, the undertaker's boyfriend, a police officer, and their friend, a CSI, are both on call and over for dinner as well. More illustrations at wtoddharra.com.

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Bumper music from Friday April 30, 2010

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