It takes a strong stomach to work around death every day. But even the most seasoned coroners, forensic pathologists, and medical examiners get totally creeped out from time to time.
Autopsies, embalming, crime scene investigation...it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. And if you can get past the initial shock, the work is actually pretty interesting, and it gives people a view of life that most never see.
That said, there are cases that are extremely gross and weird, even for those who have been in the business for a long time. On Reddit, these 12 professionals shared their all-time weirdest moments, but be warned: Their stories are beyond graphic.
1. "My very first case was an elderly male who died in a house fire. The firemen were unable to extract him until after the fire was put out, so he was completely cooked. What struck me was how similar the smell is to a pig roast."
"When I opened the rib cage [it] looked just like cooked ribs without sauce. The skin was crackling and oil and juices pooled in the crease between the skin and exposed rib cage. I was off pork for about three months."
(via Reddit / cstoli)
2. "My sister works as a histologist and has helped out for one or two autopsies. She told me a story of how when they were doing an autopsy on this guy his bowels were extremely swollen, hard and stuck together. On further examination, he had swallowed a fish bone which pierced his stomach, into his intestines and skewered them together, leading to his death."
(via Reddit / iLauraawr)
3. "One of my first cases was a young male gunshot victim. He had Pizza Hut the evening he was killed. When we rolled him over to trace the bullet paths the pressure forced the gas from his bowel. Nothing stinks quite like a dead man's pizza farts."
(via Reddit / cstoli)
4. "Spent two weeks shadowing a forensic examiner and a toxicologist in the medical examiner's office. One thing that they did not warn me about is that dead bodies will [make] noise when rolled over and remaining air is expelled from their lungs."
"So cut to me observing my first autopsy on a mid-50s male who committed suicide by blowing his face off with a shotgun. The medical examiner and tech were rolling him over onto the table from the gurney when he let out a loud, zombie-like 'Auuuuuughghghghghghhhhhhhhh' as the air went out from his lungs. Seeing me jump and recoil back, the examiner laughed and told the body 'Shut up! I haven't done anything to you yet!'"
(via Reddit / justplainmark)
5. "I'm a mortician. Upon preparing a body, during the cleansing stage of the embalming process, I found the person possessed a Prince Albert piercing. Whatever, right? Well, it was pretty weird to see a octogenarian Baptist minister with a ring in his bird."
(via Reddit / Comrade Terry)
6. "Friend had a relative / friend of a parent that was a coroner or worked in forensics. One day a body was pulled from a river so the skin had shriveled, but they wanted to get the fingerprints. So the forensics woman cuts the skin on a finger so that she can slide her own finger in under the skin and smooth it out from the inside. I always thought that was super creepy."
(via Reddit / ChocolateSporks)
7. "Suicide by pills and alcohol. That in itself isn't that shocking. The individual took an entire bottle of sleeping pills, drank a half bottle of alcohol, and got into their hot tub. The individual died, but the body remained in the hot tub until the smell of the decomp alerted neighbors."
"If you could imagine a body decomposing then liquefying in a hot tub, it still really doesn't do the actual sight of it justice. The smell was so intense that many of us vomited (including the guys from Aftermath Inc. hired by the family to clean up). Best I can describe it is, the individual died in a hot tub which then became a giant Crock-Pot of dead body stew."
8. "So I used to do some work for a forensic anthropologist at the MEO in our city. We once had a set of remains that were 1) found in a chimney 2) with a crack pipe and 3) a burlap sack. We called him Crack Santa."
(via Reddit / pericardia)
9. "My maternal grandfather was a crime scene photographer during his time - NOTE: This was in Bombay, India. One of the cases he had spoken to my dad about was this one about a serial killer who used to go about the streets of Bombay and whenever he used to come across homeless people, he used to take really huge stones and smash the heads of these people while they used to sleep at night."
"He used to be called to take the photos of those victims. My grandfather eventually died an alcoholic...My dad says having to see such horrible crimes and to have to immortalize them in those photos and develop them eventually led to his drinking. Apparently, my mom and her sisters used to find him passed out on the streets and had to hide the bottles from him. He was never abusive or anything toward them. I just guess his profession may have drove him to it."
10. "I worked with the city coroner for a while. I was a general assistant, running files, etc. He had a copy of an autopsy that he did of a serial killer with pictures bound into a coffee table type book. Whenever you were friendly and new he would always offer it to people to look at."
(via Reddit / sistersin)
11. "Pathologist here. A couple of months ago we had a cadaver of a pretty skinny dead guy at my hospital. Nothing weird right? Wrong. This dude had an ENORMOUS penis. I don't mean just large, it was literally so big that it was flopping well past the midpoint of his femur."
"We reacted as it behooves a couple of grown-ass, highly educated and serious men: by laughing our asses off and calling our colleagues to come check this out."
12. "My mother is a pediatrician, and had a very amusing story from her med school days. So back then, she and her co-students lived together in a house with a house mother. Not quite a dorm or sorority, but similar. One day, they had [to] spend the whole day dissecting cadavers - specifically the chest area."
"Everyone is quite hungry by dinner time. Well, in comes the house mother with a huge plate of....ribs. The whole group just noped the heck out of there."
(via Reddit / hockeypup)