The L.A. Coroner's Office
Gift Shop Unofficial Web Page
Pathology Notes and Links: Violence, Accidents, Poisoning
The Tall Man's Embalming
by the evil Undertaker from the classic sci-fi/horror series PHANTASM. Go to his Mausoleum if you dare.
Morbid Fact of the Day
The Death & Dying Collection spans the worlds cultures and consists of about 4,000 photographs (1840-1996)
City of the Silent, a page devoted to understanding and appreciating cemeteries. Call us not necrophiliacs, but taphophiles -- lovers of cemeteries as cultural artifacts. Inside you will find articles that tell you how to do tombstone rubbings, chronologies, histories, calendars, stories of people buried in San Francisco's city of the dead (Colma), and other materials which will help you understand how we remember those who have gone on.
Death By Car Crash
Near Death Links (the links begin after the big square box of junk)
A Timeline for Taphophiles
Rigging the Unabomber Jury
CNN Online Story
Related to the Witchcraft Suppression Act in Africa
A bewitching story of avenging spirits.
The Death, Dying and Profound Transition Page
Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)
"You know, you've got a really nice ossuary." - Cemetery Man
If you are not normally inclined to listen to jazz because it sounds too complex and erratic, this is different. It's really subjazz moving towards acid jazz. It's more sultry and smokey than upbeat and out of control. An example of this style is on "August to Amber." Each member has their solo as the piece progresses, but it is carried by the stand-up bass and piano. However, the title track is the most captivating piece for its smooth piano, flugal and Kevorkian's flute melody. His music is also suitable for driving slow through a cemetery early in the evening. The unlisted track could be the funeral piece. It says, "I am sad and in mourning, but content nonetheless."
The title of the CD is almost comical, but when you read Kevorkian's commentary inside the jacket, you forgive him. He closes saying, "Incidentally, the thing I hope the world will say about me years from now is that I was a physician who sought to relieve suffering. Music has often soothed me--and I hope that these works here make you smile."
This is where you can buy it on the 'net (as of 12/26/00).
A fellow fiend helped passed on a message to a mortician who makes his living in Northern California. Wednesday's Korner wanted to interview this person to better understand the "funeral profession" as he describes it. Below is his letter to this friend and an essay. He is quite devoted to his work, therefore only serious comments or questions are encouraged.
July 24, 1997
Enclosed is a brief essay of the funeral profession from someone who is entangled in it. Nothing unsettling, though I was tempted, just something that will hopefully reveal me to be a better source than a corporate jerkoff, or desperate vampire role player. Speaking of which, I loaned some antique embalming equipment to a daughter of a friend. Bloodletting stuff, you know. Anyway, she took it to a vampire role playing meeting and drew not only revulsion (so proud), but a stern warning not to bring such objects again... Hopelessly misunderstood.
Everyone But Me...
Someone once confided in me that there was a time, in the hours after their parent's death, when they realized that not only had their parent ceased all of life's functions, but had also left the room. Meaning, they felt a discernible difference, as though their parent had been a conscious presence in the room, floating there until beckoned elsewhere.
A dimensional gray area? An overactive imagination? A natural qualitative reaction to an aberrant scene? I asked them if they found any comfort in the phenomenon. They assured me that they did, in fact, so exuberantly so that I wrote the whole thing off to wishful thinking.
A hospice worker related a similar story some months later. She spoke of a change in the room. Again, I asked if this enhanced the transition. She agreed that it most certainly did.
Both of the families arranged cremations. Simple affairs, really, no services or formal interment of the ashes. Which brings me to an observation. Sometimes, in the rush to make the most of a vacation or other short-lived activity (wedding), a participant will stand at the railing of a hotel, or Grand Canyon overlook, and try to take in all that is around them. Desperately so, in fact, almost to the point of frustration. Maybe these families were trying the same behavior with the death of their family or friend. Knowing full well there would be no funeral, or grave to visit, they enabled the spirit of the dead with a new age interpretation of death. The creating of such an event would live on in the participants, much like the memory of a funeral would.
Others give immediate value to such stories. these people are usually seeking some further confirmation of stories they may have previously heard from the event horizon. Emotional apparitions, especially in this day of religious near misses seem to be rapidly taking the place of rational thought.
The 19th century was full of spiritualists. It was also full of Calvinists, Marxists, and Mormons. It drew lines between Lutheran and Catholic, Catholic and Protestant, Catholic and everything. A recently revisited experiment was conducted by a spiritualist. It measured, as carefully as possible, the body weight of a dying man. It then weighed that person at the time of death. The corpse weighed a half an ounce less than the living man. All things otherwise abandoned, the spiritualist claimed that a soul weighs half an ounce. Couldn't have been more right. Five-eighths of an ounce, really. I mentioned this experiment had been revisited... In 1995, a study concluded that of all deaths at a Minneapolis Veteran's Hospital, all deceased individuals weighed exactly five-eighths of an ounce less than their living counterparts. The study recommended that all final thoughts and wishes should be given at the exact moment of transition, or shortly thereafter, so as to ensure the departing soul has time to hear them before stepping into the light. This study is being re-enacted at four major metropolitan hospitals as we speak. The end result will be a confirmation of life after death.[See link following this essay for the study conducted in 1907].
As a funeral director, I am already required to report to the Social Security Administration when someone dies. There is more and more being said right now that I will also have to report to a new, and as of yet unnamed commission when a person dies without "last rights" or family present. The "Lost Soul" commission would then evaluate the risk of that individual's soul going wandering, and what impact that might the spiritual plane.
Of course, the foregoing is b.s. In America today, however, it might make the network, if not FOX news, people are begging to be set up. Charlatans convince people to castrate themselves before offing themselves in San Diego... Blue collar, probably decent good ol' boys, lock themselves up in perfectly good Montana ranches, armed to the teeth, and dare the gov't to ferret them out... Ted Kaczyinsky, our Unabomber, wanted national attention to his "Manifesto" and that's what ended all his fun... It's as if people go on Ricki Lake, admit an adulterous affair, or that they wear women's clothing, or flash construction workers, then expect to go back to their lives as though nothing happened...
I am an embalmer and funeral
director. I have worked on the fringe between the Great Mystery and
a society reluctant to deal with mortality for 12 years. I am regularly asked,
"How can you do that?" and "What's it like? Does anyone ever sit up?" Sometimes,
as soon as I'm out of range, people ask my wife if it isn't just a bit icky
to be intimate with an undertaker. Screw them... I have assisted on a whole
lot of autopsies, repaired teenagers after car crashes, and can tell the difference,
through rubber gloves and by feel only, between arteries, nerves and other
tissues. I have seen at length and in more detail than most successful medical
school students, the human body. I have stood at the edge of the Dimensional
Gray area so many times that if such an area exists, I imagine I am well
known there. I have stood over the autopsied remains of one of my best childhood
friends. Since then he has not gone on to any career accomplishments, been
married, or had children. He lives on in my dreams from time to time. I greet
him pleasantly, somehow knowing that I am dreaming, but allowing his embedded
image some time to live anyway. That's the funny thing about an undertaker's
perspective. It's all about respect for the time allowed.
Hypothesis Concerning Soul Substance Together with Experimental Evidence of The Existence of Such Substance