28 Stories From Graveyards, Funeral Homes, And Hospitals That Range From Freaky To Genuinely Heartbreaking
By Hannah Marder,2023-02-04
I tend to enjoy the spooky, but I must admit, I have never wished to work in a morgue or really anywhere near the dead and dying. However...I do have a bit of a morbid curiosity about what it's like.Netflix
So recently, when Reddit user u/8bitEclipse asked, "Redditors who have worked around death/burial, what’s your best ghost story?" I couldn't help but peruse through most of the stories. And while I definitely found some spooky stuff, honestly, I wasn't expecting so many of these to be so heart-wrenching. Here are 28 of the most interesting stories about people who work with the dead or dying!
1. "I am still skeptical of things like this, but…I used to work as a medic in a rural area. One call, we were transporting a patient who was actively having a heart attack. It was a decent time before we got to the hospital, and after working the patient up (IV, meds, etc.), I started talking to them. At one point, this patient started talking to themselves, or so I thought. They were looking to my left and answering questions, responding, and I thought maybe they were getting confused. Then, they looked and me and said, 'You know, he died in here last week but said you were so nice.' This patient went on to describe a previous patient I had that died from a car accident while we were taking him to the hospital. My partner and I were talking to him as he was somewhat conscious, but his injuries were too severe to last."
2. "I was once working at a mortuary and had to go pick up a man from the medical examiner’s office. When you do that (at least where I’m from), you get a receipt when they release the body to you. The receipt has all of the personal belongings that are with the deceased. When I brought the man back to the office, I opened up the body bag to make sure all the belongings were there and double check the receipt. When I opened up the bag, I was stunned to find this dude looked almost exactly like me. He was my age, had similar tattoos In similar spots, had the same long hair I do, even had the same style of jewelry I was wearing."
"It took me so off guard that I stood there in an existential crisis until the embalmer came in and was like, 'Hey SpartanM00, how’s it goin — ahhh holy shit, that guy looks like you!' It’s the only case I’ve had nightmares about — [that] I’ll be the one in the body bag with the deceased man opening me up."
3. "Not a funeral home, but I worked at one of the last Booth homes for pregnant girls in the early 2000s. Lots of dead babies and some dead moms in the history of that campus. We had any number of creepy things happen, to the point that I brought it up in a staff meeting and the social workers just said, 'Oh, must be time to have the building blessed again.' But what stuck with me was the baby swing. I came into the living room and found it swinging by itself hours after all the teenagers were in bed. Now, this was an ancient mechanical 'wind up' swing. You had to turn a crank to start it. There was no electricity involved. There was no way it just 'started' on its own. And there it was, swinging full force."
"I was completely terrified, but I just said, 'If you want to swing, I will be happy to wind up the swing for you, but when you do it on your own, it frightens people.' Every night for the rest of the year or so I worked there, I wound that swing up and let it go. I told other staff members, and I believe they did the same. I like to think it was a sweet baby ghost who just wanted attention, and we gave it attention. Later, they closed the program for parenting teens and made the whole place a homeless shelter. Now, I am sitting here worrying about 'my' ghost baby. Is it lonely? I hope not."
4. "I worked within hospice and long-term care. The spookiest phenomenon was the man in the corner. It happens all the time for people actively dying. They see a shadowy man in the corner of their room."
"This is true as someone who also worked in that industry. They either always see a man in the corner, or their spouses/families who have passed. It’s sad, really. They call out for them in their deathbed. ... I like to think that seeing the man in the corner helps them be ready for what’s coming next (death), and sometimes, patients react negatively (freaking out, crying, asking for help), and other times, they just tell me he’s there without any reaction at all. ... I had a patient way back in 2018 who saw his wife before he passed. He cried for help, and I still can’t forget his voice. His wife passed years before he did. He died that weekend."
5. "My sister worked as a nurse on the heart patient floor of our local hospital in the '90s. Many of the patients who were near death would see a man sitting in a chair near their bed. He had a gigantic growth on his head like a tumor. This was a former patient who'd died in the room many years prior."
6. "When my father worked at a mortuary, there was one incident where the muscles contracted so that the head turned and looked at him through the little window. The only time he ever felt spooked working there."
"Corpses move when you cremate 'em. People who don't know this get spooked a lot."
7. "In mortuary school, I had a dream about embalming my dad, but he was still alive. My classmates tried to tell me it was just tissue gas, and he wasn't actually alive and [to] get my shit together. Then, when I cut him open, he gasped a faint 'heeelllllp meeee.' So then, the next day I had to go to lab (my second case ever), and I'd told my classmates about the dream. We had a chuckle about it and started to work on our body. Old lady. Had pretty severe arthritis, so when I was breaking the rigor, she literally clutched my hand. It's the only time I ever got some serious heebie fucking jeebies. I had to step away from her and collect myself for a minute."
8. "My grandpa was the mortician for a small town in the late '60s. The morgue was attached to the house that my mom lived in. ... One day, her boyfriend, Tom, came over to the house, and no one was home. They had been dating for a while, and he was comfortable going inside and waiting for my mom to come home. On the way into the house, Tom noticed that the door and windows into the morgue were open, so he checked it out, found it empty, closed everything, and went into the house."
"A few minutes later, he heard a loud slamming noise come from the morgue, so he ran to see what was wrong and found that the doors and windows had been thrown fully open again. He got out of there real quick. When he told my grandpa about what happened, my grandpa just calmly explained that they had picked up [a deceased woman] that morning, and the spirits were there welcoming her and visiting with her. Next time Tom should just leave the doors and windows open."
9. "I was a nurse employed in nursing homes. Electrical disturbances weren't uncommon. I had a resident die during the day, and when I came on shift that night, her call light started going off. Thinking the light connection to the wall had been disturbed when they removed her and cleaned the room, I visually checked it, unplugged it, and plugged it in again and noted there was no issue. Less than an hour later, it's going off again. Knowing what I know, I go in and speak to her. I acknowledged her and what she was doing and told her I was really busy, though, and couldn't keep coming in there all night. It never went off again."
"I also had a patient let me know she was dead by call light. She had Alzheimer's. She could speak, but wouldn't know what to do with a call light if you explained it. Because of that, her call light often fell to the bottom of the bedside rail (where she couldn't reach it) and was left there. I saw something out of the corner of my eye one night. I look up; it's her call light going off. I think, 'Yep, she's dead.' She was, and that call light was at the bottom of the bed rail, totally out of reach."
10. "During my apprenticeship, I worked at a funeral home said to be haunted by an old funeral director assistant who had a heart attack in the building and died. All he ever did was mess with the chapel lights, and if you called him out, something like, 'John, the family is coming, please don't,' they would return to normal. Not really sure if I believe it was really haunted, but saying something always fixed the issue so I kept doing it my entire time there."
11. "Back when I worked in cardiology, we had this one single room at the ass end of the floor. We'd put palliative patients or patients that needed isolation in there. I swear three different patients in the years I worked there told me they had woken in the middle of the night and seen an old man and a little girl holding hands, both standing at the foot of the bed, doing nothing."
12. "I'm a palliative care RN who didn't believe in this stuff until I became a nurse. ... Patients often 'introduce' me to deceased relatives around them or talk about people 'waiting' or being in the room with them. This is an incredibly common experience, and I see it happen more often than not."
"A lot of people know they are going to die imminently/choose when to go/wait for loved ones, and I believe much is seen/heard that folks don't talk about during this time. I believe this because in our younger patients who aren't ready to go, there is often a high degree of anxiety, and many times, I have been asked by a younger patient to 'help me, I'm going to die today' or similar. Like, they have held on as long as they possibly could, and then, something happens internally, or they see something around them which gives them a sense of knowing.
Once upon a time, I was doing home hospice, and a younger guy in his 50s was dying of occupation-related lung cancer. ... Patient's 90-year-old father, brother, extended family, and friends came over at about 1 a.m., and I left them and sat in the kitchen to give them privacy. As I'm in there, I hear this MASSIVE burst of wind chimes which was kind of supernatural (as in [they] did not stop, just a massive burst that went on and on instead of trickling here and there with the wind). A moment later, his daughter came in to tell me he had passed away. I don't usually share my supernatural beliefs about death/dying with families, but I couldn't help but comment on the wind chimes later on, and his wife said, 'Yeah, he collected wind chimes; that doesn't surprise me at all,' and turns on the light on the back patio, showing me literally hundreds of chimes which had been silent all night until he passed."
13. "Mom told me stories when I was growing up. Her first job out of nursing school was an RN in the ER of an old hospital in Virginia in the mid-1980s. There was the 'man in the hat' and 'patient 1.' Most of the nurses had stories about them. The 'man in the hat' would show up and stand outside of rooms after visiting hours. The patients often died soon after. 'Patient 1' was a woman in a very old hospital gown. She'd walk in the halls before entering random rooms. Those patients usually coded. They took the man to be an omen of death and the woman to be a heads-up to grab the crash cart."
14. "I'm a body removal tech for a funeral home. ... It was my first day, and we went to pick up a person who died from a heart attack (it seemed), and it kinda shocked me. His face was bloody and scrunched like he was in pain, and I was like, 'What a horrible way to go.' ... Then, when I went to sleep, I could NOT fall asleep. I kept having flashes of that poor guy in my head. I tossed and turned until I heard, 'Don't worry, I'm fine,' and then, I was able to sleep for the rest of the night."
15. "I work in a cardiac ICU; we have quite a lot of death around here. That being said, we had one patient that comes to mind. ... I'll call him Greg G (fake name)."
"Greg was on the unit for months. ... He became a meme around the unit, and everyone loved him, because he was an old white dude who loved rap (2pac and Biggie) and would throw gang signs sarcastically as a non-verbal cue that he was feeling okay (he had a trach in, so he couldn't talk). He also had his family bring mood lights into his room that synced with his music. I kid you not, his room was playing rap in rave mode sometimes. We called him 'DJ Greggie G,' and he loved it.
Unfortunately, he took a turn for the worse. His condition deteriorated rapidly, and ultimately, he died. We were devastated as a unit. His family let us keep his mood lights, and to this day, we keep them plugged in at the nurses station.
However, one day the mood lights turned off. We were saddened. Nobody could get them working. But then, they turned on. We were happy. And then, they started flashing super irrationally. Then, we heard the patient that was in Greg's old room start screaming.
We went in to check on her. She was a confused old lady who would say some pretty wild things, but this one was weird. She said that she was watching the flashing lights in the hall (she could see them from her room, to be fair), then she said that she saw a silhouette of a man casted into the wall from the lights.
Then, she started ... yelling, 'Tell Greg to leave! It's not his room anymore! Tell Greg to go!'
There is no way she knew it was Greg's room. And with her memory being the way it was, there is also no way she would remember even if she did get told. Kinda spooky."
16. "I am an ICU RN. We had a septic patient in the unit. She was 29 weeks pregnant. She went into labor on my shift, and we delivered her baby, stillborn. I did post-mortem care on the baby, retrieved the proper transport container, and walked the baby down to the morgue. It was the middle of the night, I’m in an elevator alone. I hear a baby start wailing."
"I absolutely lose my shit and rip open the cover, and just as I go to zip down the bag, I hear a calming male voice say, 'Hush little one, I’ve got you, no need to cry.'
The crying stopped immediately. Shaking, I opened the bag and saw exactly what I expected to see: a deceased 29-week-only baby.
I am a big, bearded, 40-year-old ICU nurse, and that was the scariest shit I’ve ever experienced. No one believes me to this day. I don’t even want to speculate what the crying or the voice was.
God. Even typing that out, I felt my chest tightening."
17. "I used to work as a nursing assistant in assisted living communities. Usually, when a resident started to need hospice, they were transferred out to a higher level of care, so I didn’t see death for a long time. When I first started, my favorite resident (let’s call her Marilyn) would play Scrabble with me. She was completely alert and oriented. Sometimes, she likes to sit quietly with an iPod shuffle clipped onto her vest and these huge headphones. She loved music."
"Slowly, she started to decline. I would help her get ready for bed, and she would get upset when she forgot how to do something. The only thing that calmed her down was playing music off my phone. She liked Frank Sinatra and the Beatles. Her independent ability declined rapidly, and soon, she was bedridden. Still, [she] loved listening to music.
This was during COVID, and her quality of life was diminishing so quickly that we didn’t transfer her out. She had an apartment at the facility with all her belongings where she was comfortable. By the end, her dementia had progressed to the point that she couldn’t remember how to swallow.
Marilyn passed away with me, the head nurse, and her family at her bedside in her apartment (unit 202). I did her post-mortem care afterwards, styled her hair how she liked to wear it, [and] even clipped her little iPod onto her shirt.
A few days after she died, a woman in 203 (her neighbor) kept wandering into the lobby during night shift, always at 3 a.m. She complained of loud music coming from unit 202. That apartment was vacant, just full of Marilyn’s belongings. She said the music was so loud it was deafening. Whenever the night shift worker went to check, he didn’t hear anything.
Not really creepy, more sad. I miss Marilyn."
18. "End-of-life doula here. ... So many of my clients have had loved ones who already have passed come to walk them through the veil. It’s really neat and reassuring when a dying client greets their loved one. I had one lady insist (she had been bed-bound for weeks) that she was going shopping with her sister in a couple days. So much that she was agitated until we got her purse and shoes ready for her when her sister arrived. The last morning, she was verbal, she woke up and said to the (empty) doorway, 'Oh, sister is here! I ~told~ you we were going!' Her sister had been gone for years. She passed away that evening. It happens more often than it doesn't, and is such a source of comfort for me."'
19. "I work in long-term enhanced care. People don't get better, but we keep them comfortable. ... There was a man who had a cardiac event while sitting on the toilet. He fell forward and put a hole in the bathroom wall. He died. Soon after, a new woman moves into the room after everything is fixed. She comes out to the nurses station one night pissed off. She says, 'Who's going to tell that man to get out of my room? And when are they fixing the giant hole in the bathroom?'"
20. "I was an RN and was working in a very well-off town in Minnesota. The hospital had two ICUs with the second one being an overflow-type unit on the third floor. There were seven rooms in that unit, and room two was haunted. Numerous times, different nurses watched something walk into the room, but the room would be empty without a patient in it. One time, a nurse had an actual patient in room two. It was about 4 a.m., and the nurse was going to do a dressing change. She took the stuff into the room, and the patient asked what she was going to do. She said, 'Change your dressings.' The patient said, 'Oh no, that other nurse was just in here about 30 minutes ago and did it.' The nurse looked, and yes, the dressing was fresh. She went out to the desk and told the one other nurse, 'Thanks for doing that.' The nurse was baffled and said, 'I didn't change the dressing.'"
"They both freaked out a bit. Rumor has it that an RN that had worked for the hospital a long time died in that room."
21. "I work overnights in an assisted living facility (ALF) that mostly deals with dementia and Alzheimer's. When someone who's lived there for a while starts actively dying, it's like the rest of the residents get restless. Like they know Death is pacing the halls. Often, the restless residents will, one by one, start talking while in their rooms. I used to go in and check on them, ask what they're saying, who they're talking to. They all respond, 'The girl in the closet.' I have closed closets. I have left small lights on for them. I have gotten one up and taken her to the living room with me and, still, she stared at the door-less linen closet in the hall and chattered away (not always comprehensible). It only stops after the actively dying patient finally passes."
"A few residents who have passed started talking to The Girl in the Closet just days before they sharply decline and start dying. One of the most recent was in October. I'd go in at night to change her diaper, and she'd be propped up on an arm in her bed, chatting away to the Girl. She smiled at me, one time, and pointed at the closet and said, 'Oh, haven't you met her? She's such a lovely girl. See this is my nephew I told you about.' I said I'd be back later and didn't go back for almost an hour when she was asleep again."
22. "I used to work on an oncology ward as a nurse. Our side rooms were kept for end of life patients on palliative care, and one patient that we had been nursing for a good few weeks died early one morning. Last offices [a procedure performed to prepare the body for the mortuary] had already been done by the night staff and the patient moved to the hospital morgue, so all that remained was to clear the room of personal belongings and tidy up. I sent a student nurse that I was mentoring at the time to do this whilst I got on with the drug round. The student had known the patient fairly well and was comfortable with this job."
"About 10 minutes after, a colleague came to me and told me that my student had come flying out of the side room white as a sheet and was sobbing in the staff room. I went to find out what the problem was, and the student told me she had been clearing out the sink area in the bathroom, [and] had glanced up and saw the deceased patient reflected in the mirror looking at her over her shoulder. My student was a sensible girl, not given to hysterics, but for the remainder of her placement on that ward, she would not go near that side room."
23. "My aunt was a cemetery worker and told me an absolute cracker that happened to her. There was an old chap who would come every Monday at the same time — rain, hail, or shine — and put roses on his wife's grave. He was a well-known regular visitor and would always stop and chat to the workers, including my aunt. Anyway, she was working on this fine Monday, and she saw this chap at his wife's grave like usual. He'd just changed out the roses, and she went over to ask if he'd like to give the old ones to her to dispose of. What followed was a normal 20-minute chat talking about all kinds of things. He had to go, so she waved him off, and he left."
"The next day, when she turned up for work, there was a new work order for that morning, so grabbing the back-hoe, she went out to find the plot. Turns out it was right next to the chap's wife. Frowning, she checked the work order again and saw it was the old roses guy! She dug the grave, got it prettied up for the service, and later that morning, the funeral home turned up to inter him.
She went up to the funeral guy in charge (you get to know everyone after a while) and asked why the rush to bury the old chap.
Mortuary worker: What do you mean, 'Why the rush?'
Aunt: Well, he was here yesterday putting roses on his wife's grave. What happened to him?
Mortuary worker: Err...he died on Thursday last week.
Aunt: No, he was here yesterday (points at the fresh roses on his wife's grave).
Mortuary worker: (looking at the flowers) ...You sure it was him?
Aunt: (starting to get the shivers) Yeah. We had a chat like we always do. He was talking about his daughter's new kid...
Mortuary worker: ...Wow.
Yep. Bonafide ghost."
24. "I worked in a morgue. One time, one of the bodies sat up, looked at me, and then died again. I don’t know what happened that day, but I quit and now do construction. ... I did some research, and it said the body could’ve just been twitching or reenacting muscle memory."
"This happened to a friend's father when he was younger. When he and his supervisor were leaving for the night, they had left the keys to the building in the morgue. He goes down to get the keys, and a body under a sheet sits up and starts moaning. He ran out screaming, and his supervisor explained that this sometimes happens. Gases escaping the body after death do some pretty weird things."
25. "I work at a hospital in the lab, and was dropping off a bunch of limbs to the morgue after hours. We put them in the freezer with the bodies. I went in to put the legs and arms in the back, and the door was closed (but it doesn’t lock anyways). [I] couldn’t get the door open. I was...stuck, and the morgue is in a weird spot of the hospital (like, it’s three rooms to get to it, and it’s a very big freezer, and no one can hear). ... Anyways, I was screaming, like, as loud as I could trying to get out. The freezer was packed; I accidentally hit a dead body."
"I did get out a few minutes later. The part that is so strange was my patient I had for four months — we talked a lot, and I told him at one point how scared I was of getting locked in the morgue because he asked about it. He knew he was dying and was curious. .... Anyways, he died that day and was in the morgue when this happened. So, I like to think it was him playing a prank on me."
26. "I used to work in a nursing home. The residents in certain rooms would complain about a man in their room at night, but hallucinations are common in the elderly, so it wasn't really noticed. One night, I was mopping the dinning room, which had huge windows overlooking the garden. It was around 1 a.m., so [it was] pitch black outside and low lighting inside. I had this horrible feeling of being watched, so [I] looked up, and reflected in the window was a man behind me. He had a brown suit on, a bowler hat, and the cruelest look on his face. He grinned, and his mouth was too big. This happened in seconds, and when I turned around, there was obviously no one there, but I'll never forget that look of evil on his face. I paid more attention to the residents after that, and they'd all seen the same man. He just enjoyed terrorizing people."
27. "As a student, I worked with cadavers. Nothing creepy ever happened, except every cadaver that came in had nail or toenail polish that matched mine exactly. I started changing colors frequently, with different colors on my nails and toes, but each one would come in with a matching color. I’d custom mix colors, but the same thing happened. I stopped painting my nails, and it solved the problem, but that was a surprisingly stressful six months."
28. And finally, just gonna leave you with your worst nightmare... "When my cousin was 18, he was in a bad wreck, and he, his girlfriend, and her sister were all pronounced dead at the scene. The police arrived to inform my aunt (his mom), and she asked that he be sent to a specific funeral home. While they were preparing to embalm him, he raised up and asked, 'Where the hell am I?'"
"The funeral director said it was the first time he ever had to go home and change pants. I should add that the top of his head was open, and his brain was exposed. He was sent to the hospital. The same police officer came to my aunt's to tell her he was not dead, but in the hospital. They thought he'd be in a vegetative state. But a few weeks later, he walked out of the hospital. ... He has horrible headaches on occasion. But he's led a successful life, and he's a great guy."
Now, on to you — do any of y'all have any freaky or heart-wrenching ghost stories you want to share? Let us know in the comments!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.
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