Hello, everyone. I’m making this thread as an outlet for genuine and serious questions in regards to my line of work (dealing with the aftermath of death/homicide/suicide). While jokes are always welcome when tasteful, this is a serious thread for people who have genuine questions. No question is dumb, or too dark. I encourage openness and curiosity.
For those who do not know me on the forum, I am a mortician and embalmer who assists the coroners and police with embalming/autopsy reports and I also help collect forensic evidence (I’ve even done some lab analysis as well).
We all have a morbid curiosity for death, dying, suicide, murder, etc. (not committing it, but the act itself) - It’s normal to feel that curiosity because it allows us to comprehend our own mortality and develop a sense of self-preservation and awareness.
For example, lots of people have asked me if dead people can actually sit straight up. We’ve all heard stories like this, where people swear to the grave that the deceased sat straight up due to rigor mortis (the contraction of the muscles due to lactic acid buildup in muscle tissue). Well, what’s the deal? Who’s pulling your leg and who’s telling the truth? The honest-to-god truth is that no, it doesn’t happen like that at all. If people are skinny enough (for example an elderly person who had dementia and stopped eating) then they will have a very light body weight due to lack of water/moisture. When they die, C02 builds up in the muscle tissue and [chemsitry] and that causes the muscles to tense up about 1-8 hours after death for as long as 24-48 hours. If there’s not a lot of body mass on the deceased when their muscles tighten, it could result in their back and shoulder muscles pushing their upper back off the table by about 1-3 inches. This gives them the illusion that they are “slightly rising off the table”, but only if you’re terrified by the sight of it. It’s very uncommon and not at all the “undead rising off the table” image people paint in your minds.
I’ll put an end to those burning questions you’ve had but weren’t sure who to ask. If it relates to death, dying, embalming, and biology/anatomy, I can help answer your question