Funeral Director, undertaker, mortician-- many names for a job that is of huge significance to humanity, but often shunned by society’s spotlight. The ironic thing is that everyone will one day become a paying client for this age-old industry. Funeral director Stanley Swan joined Connie Willis (email) to discuss his perspective of death as a mortician and what the body goes through after it dies, with stories around the families and communities he works with such as after Katrina and 9-11. Swan admitted the topic of death is difficult for most people to talk about, but it is of utmost importance for an individual to decide what should happen when he or she dies.
Swan spoke about the need to have a sense of humor and keep things light in the funeral business, as well as what he believes happens after death. "The human body really is a tent that I feel holds the soul," he said, suggesting departed spirits stay on the same plane after passing. Swan shared the story of a woman who reported hearing a grating sound, like fingernails scraped across a chalkboard, then discovered a stream of ashes pouring out of a crack in her mother's urn. The woman taped the crack, brought it to Swan, who personally witnessed the same thing happen in his office.
Swan offered a step-by-step of what happens when a person dies. If the deceased is not under a physician's care or passes away unattended, a medical examiner is called to the scene to ascertain if foul play is involved and determine the need for an autopsy, he explained. Next, law enforcement informs family who make arrangements with a funeral director, Swan continued. The body is picked up and prepped according to the method of disposition indicated by the deceased or his or her family. Swan explained embalming (which, if done right, includes a massage), what happens when a body is donated to science, as well as the cremation process. He also recounted some strange things people have done with cremains, including putting them in shotgun shells for one last hunt with the departed and launching aboard the space shuttle.
First hour guest, paranormal researcher and former police officer Dave Spinks (YouTube Channel), discussed his travels to some of the most haunted places in the US. Spinks revealed how he has been physically injured by unseen forces during investigations, including the time something cut open his head at the Roads Hotel in Indiana. "I felt a wave of energy hit me and I stumbled backwards, and I got really, really dizzy," he said, noting that a recording picked up a spirit announcing he had struck Spinks with a shovel. Spinks shared his experiences at Bobby Mackey's Music World, where he claimed to have recorded an EVP from Carl Lawson confirming the basement there really is a portal to hell, as well as witnessed an object get hurled at the investigators. Spinks recommended amateur ghost hunters rely first and foremost on the body's senses, and also bring along a recorder, flashlight, and some kind of camera.