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Episode Scripts – Tales From the Morgue You Won’t Believe! | WTF Wednesday #5

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Hey, little skeletons! I’m Gina – And I’m Amber! – and this is Weird True Crime!

[Theme Song]

Amber: I think back when we did our episode covering Brandon Lee in The Crow, I mentioned the quote “Childhood’s over the moment you know you’re going to die.” That quote really stuck with me. No one gets out of this life alive and sooner or later we’re all going to end up, well, dead. Now that I’m older and have children, I have to think about the sort of things like what my wishes are when I pass. Cremation? Burial? Donate to science? Not gonna lie, that last one sounds intriguing. What about you, G?

Gina: I used to be really interested in the idea of donating my body to a body farm. Lay me in a field and let the next generation study me as I waste away. Though I’d also be fine with maybe a tree or mushroom pod burial. Something less harmful to the earth than filling me with chemicals and sticking me underground so all those toxins can seep into the soil. 

Amber: Ooh yes! The tree burial is very neat. Well regardless of what path we choose, typically we end up at a morgue before our final resting place wherever that may be. On today’s What the fluff Wednesday, we’re going to be talking about quite an interesting array of morgue-related stories. 

Gina: Before we dive in, here’s today’s riddle. “A man has been shot to death in his car. There are no powder marks on his clothes indicating that the gunman wasn’t in the car. However, all the windows are up, the doors are locked, and there are no bullet holes in the car. How was he murdered?” Stay tuned to the end to find out the answer! 


Amber: Oh yeah, before we go down the morgue rabbit hole, remember how I said that donating my body to science when I die sounds pretty neat? 

Gina: Yes, I vaguely remember that from about 3 minutes ago.

Amber: OK, good. Well, I might have changed my mind already. 

Gina: That was fast. 

Amber: I am who I am… and I really don’t want my head sewn onto someone else’s body. 

Gina: Oh dear God are you talking about the Biological Resource Center in Arizona?

Amber: That’s the one. The Biological Resouce Center was located in Phoenix, Arizona, and owned by Stephen Gore (if that’s not an appropriate name, I don’t know what is.) We say “was” because it was permanently closed in 2014 after the FBI raided the facility. 

Gina: The center was a for-profit business that assisted people with donating their bodies to science. According to court records, from 2005 to 2014 when it was shut down, BRC received about 5,000 human bodies and distributed more than 20,000 body parts. They also sold body parts to US Army contractors for military experiments – unfortunately, it was “under false pretenses” as the Army had been told the families had given consent, but in reality, they had no idea. 

Amber: For example, Doris Stauffer passed away at the age of 74 after being cared for by her son, Jim. Her descent into dementia prompted him to consent to donate her brain to science, hoping that it may in some way aid in the research for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s one day. At the recommendation of a nurse, he contacted the BRC and signed a consent form authorizing medical research on his mother’s body. He made sure to check the box prohibiting military, traffic safety, and other non-medical experiments – none of those things would aid in Alzheimer’s research. About a week and a half after Doris’ body was picked up, Jim received her cremated remains, but he wasn’t told how her body was used. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that her body became part of an Army experiment to measure the damage caused by roadside bombs. 

Gina: Army officials stated that they relied on assurances from the BRC that the families had agreed to let the bodies be used in such a manner and that they had never received consent forms that the donors or their families had signed. Records from the BRC as well as military records showed that at least 20 other bodies were used in the experiments without the donor/donor’s family’s permission. In Doris’ case, BRC workers had detached one of her hands for cremation to send back to her son before selling her body to a taxpayer-funded research project for the US Army. Ultimately, Jim didn’t even learn of his mother’s body’s fate from an apology from the BRC or even from the Army, but rather from a Reuters reporter. 

Amber: I can’t imagine how incredibly dejecting it is to try to do something good, only to learn that your wish was not honored and your loved one’s body wasn’t treated with the respect expected through a company you had put your trust in. The body-brokering business is not illegal, but it is also quite different from the rules and regulations of organ transplanting as well as cadaver donation to help repair joints or other parts of the body. Those are programs designed to extend or enrich the lives of the living and are heavily regulated by US law. Buying and selling of bodies not used for transplant reasons are not regulated by laws and it is perfectly legal to sell a whole body or parts of a body for research or education. Maybe one day there will be more regulation. 

Gina: We can only hope! Hey, didn’t you mention something about having your head sewn onto a different body…? 

Amber: Ah yes, what we talked about is only the tip of the iceberg of the issues the BRC had while in operation. Back in January 2014, the FBI raided the Biological Resource Center and made several horrific discoveries. According to court documents the agents encountered “various unsettling scenes.” Mark Cwynar (QUINN-ER) gave a testimony describing what he had seen, comparing it all to a “morbid joke.” Some of the sights he described were: a “bucket of heads, arms, and legs”; a “cooler filled with male genitalia”; a woman’s head sewn onto a larger male torso, like “Frankenstein” hanging on a wall; “infected heads” – although it’s not quite clear what that means; bodies that had been cut up with chainsaws and bandsaws – none of which with ID tags; “pools of human blood and other bodily fluids” on the freezer floor.

Gina: Why the hell the facility would store the body parts like that and treat them in such a way is a mystery. The FBI raided BRC after it was accused of selling the donated body parts for profit as mentioned earlier. According to court documents, the most expensive item the facility sold was a “whole body with no shoulders or head” for a whopping $2,900. A foot went for around $450. In 2015, Stephen Gore, the aforementioned owner, pleaded guilty to operating an illegal enterprise and was sentenced to one year deferred prison time and four years probation. 10 of 21 different plaintiffs were rewarded $58 million dollars by a jury in a lawsuit against Stephen Gore. Supposedly the 11 who were not awarded anything did not testify at the trial. A woman whose husband passed from cancer had donated his body, but revealed during her testimony that she wouldn’t have if she had known his remains would be sold for profit. Doubts rose among the families about whether or not the cremated remains they received were really their loved ones or not. 

Amber: What an absolute nightmare to have to endure. Maybe I’ll just stick with good ole fashioned burial or cremation. I mean, I’ll be dead so I won’t really care but I don’t want my family to have to go through any of that. 

Gina: So true. Well, before we move on to the morgue stories, just a fair warning, some of them are a little darker, but still with a touch of humor. 

(1)Amber: Our first story comes from Reddit: “I’m a nurse now but I was an autopsy tech before I got into nursing school. This one case was a 400lb man who died of a heroin overdose. The standard operating procedure for the medical examiner is to examine the lividity (when you die your blood pools and discolors your skin a deep red/purple. It’s an indicator of the time of death and position of the body). So I call the orderly to help hold the guy over and once we were ready I positioned my self so that I could push his shoulders and hips to help him roll. We give the ol’ heave oh and get the body on its side… at which time the fart that had been fermenting in the guy’s colon for a week unleashed itself a mere six inches from my nose. It was the most putrid, bombastic and permeating fart I’ve ever been a part of. It had to have lasted a minute at least and the smell could gag a maggot. I couldn’t let the body drop since the M.E. was doing his thing but the orderly is laughing his ass off at me and let’s go. I’m now holding 400lbs of dead weight as it expels its wrench bending air blast at me. How I didn’t puke is nothing short of a miracle.”

Gina: Well that sounds like a really good reason to quit your job. He is a true hero for continuing his work after experiencing something like that.

Amber: I think the part that made me laugh the most was his TL;DR: “Holding a body on its side it unleashed a fart that could knock a buzzard off a shit wagon directly at my nose.” 

(2)Gina: Next up, another Reddit gem: “A lady from our village was talking to my pop about her job as a mortician. She told several stories of the deceased moving and such after being brought to their facilities.

Some would raise their arms, some would arch their backs, some would produce sounds from their vocal cords like they were humming, and some would open their eyes and have extreme facial expressions.

One story I will never forget was when she was re-telling her story about retrieving a body at the old folks facility. They called, said an elderly woman had died during her sleep, and to please come get the body. Now this facility was a bit overcrowded and the deceased had shared a room with another tenant. The mortician and her assistant roll their gurney up next to the lady stretched out stiff on the bed closest to the door, trying not to disturb the other elderly woman on the adjacent bed that was restless in her bed and couldn’t sleep (was 3 am in the morning, they were trying to be respectful, and hell, the mortician even made a mental note that she likely wouldn’t be able to sit still with a dead occupant laying in the room with her either at that hour of the night. EDIT: to clarify — the other lady appeared to be constantly re-adjusting her sleeping position). The mortician & her assistant grab the stiffy closest to the door and try to bring her over to the gurney when she starts yelling and hollering about some random people trying to kidnap her in her sleep.

Then it dawned on the mortician… They were taking the wrong elderly woman from the room.

The body does some strange things after it passes.” 

Amber: Oof, that’s a mistake that you soon won’t forget! At least she didn’t sleep soundly enough that she made it all the way back to the morgue before waking up. Hopefully, they were all able to laugh about it later!

Gina: I guess the phrase “sleep like the dead” isn’t really accurate, huh? 

(3)Amber: This next one doesn’t actually take place in a morgue, but felt like it deserved a spot on our list because there are a lot more people involved when someone passes than you think about… “Never worked in a morgue, but I have been a volunteer EMT since high school and I volunteered with the fire department for while, as well.

One day we get a call for a head-on collision. Two passengers in one vehicle were both transported to the hospital, but the driver of the other vehicle was DOA and pinned and I was cutting him out of the car for the ME. Basically the dash had collapsed down and pinned him by his thighs. I was using a pneumatic ram to create an opening large enough to get him out. The door had already been removed and I was crouching down (like a catcher) with one knee pointed at the car and the other pointed in the direction the car was pointing. As the ram spread the car open, the guys arm, which had apparently also been pinned under the dash, fell outward and across my leg and his hand landed right in my crotch.

I have never been so scared in my life. There was no flight reaction, I just froze and couldn’t move for at least 30 seconds. My chief was standing behind me and was laughing too hard to help. Finally someone moved the guys arm, and I finished the extraction.

Another time, I arrived on scene after extraction had begun. It was a rolled over SUV and the driver was covered in a sheet. I assumed he was DOA and went about my business. A few minutes later the guy asks how much longer this is going to take because he has to take a leak. I jumped 30 feet in the air, I don’t know I managed to not piss my pants. Apparently, someone covered him in a sheet so he wouldn’t get sprayed with glass, but other than being stuck in an upside down car, he was fine.”

Gina: Oh. My. God. They could have let the poor guy know the driver was alive! And I think if a recently deceased person’s arm flopped onto me I’d freeze too. It would obviously be jarring but you don’t want to be disrespectful, either. That sounds like a really hard job. 

Amber: The second one got me. I mean, he was being respectful and quiet of the body, and the poor dude stuck in there just nonchalantly asks how much longer so he can pee. I certainly don’t think I could have kept my composure there. 

(4)Gina: Here’s our next story:  “One instance spooked me bad. My coworker and I were given notice to move a body out and clean the room for its next occupant. We got up there, got the woman’s body out of the bed and on to a gurney, and went around making sure the various apparati around the bed was dormant (nurses job, but we were told to always check.) I go stand at the foot of the gurney to direct it when my coworker squeaks “… Dude … She’s … awake …”

Lady was blinking, rapidly, over freaky, glassed over, dead eyes. Anyone who has seen a dead person’s eyes after death knows what I’m talking about – there is clearly no life left in the body. We both freaked the fuck out and screamed for the nurses, who came running. They called code whatever, thinking she might be waking up … My coworker and I just backed up, flattened ourselves against the windows, and watched the ruckus.

Woman was stone dead, no breathing, no heartbeat, no brain activity, nada. None of the nurses or the doctor could or would tell us why the woman was blinking several hours post mortem.”

Amber: I know the body does some strange stuff when you pass, but that one would have made my heart beat in my throat for a bit. Just sayin’.

Gina: That sounds like some horror movie shit. I had no idea the body did anything like what’s been on this list today.

(5)Amber: This story is actually from a mortician who did an AMA on Reddit: “I had this guy to prep one time. He had an intubater? tube down his throat and was taped on his face. One piece of tape was accross his mustache. When I took the tape off, most of his mustache came with it. So I shaved it. The wife was pissed. Super pissed. Threatened to sue and everything else. She said we had better fix it. So what am I to do? I went to a costume shop and bought a pack of fake mustaches. We had a picture of him, but none of these mustaches was working. I picked the best possible match and put it on him. We then call her to come look. We were nervous as shit because believe me when I tell you that it looked completely ridiculous. It was bad. So she comes in and absolutely loves it! I couldn’t believe it. She then turned super sweet and hugged me. At the graveside service I kept thinking that one day this man could be disinterred for whatever reason and they’re gonna find a skeleton with a mustache.”

Gina: Maybe the woman was upset by the way he looked without his mustache that literally anything was better than nothing? To be fair, I prefer my husband with facial hair so I kind of empathize with her reaction to this. 

Amber: A little bonus from that same thread, the OP answered what was the strangest request that the deceased had wanted done for their service with: “We had a dead clown one time. This person was buried in full clown costume with makeup and all. The whole family was clowns, all the friends were clowns. And at the familys request, the funeral directors were clowns too. They supplied costume and did our makeup. Family and friends had 1 tear drop painted on near the eye. Definitely my strangest.” Honestly, now if I decide to be buried, bury me wearing a pink mustache and a clown suit, please. That would be epic.

(6)Gina: Ready for number 6 on our list? :”I worked security at a hospital and part of my job was dealing with the morgue. One time I just came on shift and had to go release a body to a funeral home. I walked in and I seriously thought someone had been eating bbq in the morgue. I asked if a particular Dr. was back (previously we had to get the administration involved in telling her she couldn’t eat while doing autopsies or store her groceries in the walk in cooler with the bodies). The other guy with me said, “No. Why?” I said because it smells like bbq. He was just like, ‘Oh nope. That’s the five kids from the house fire.’ I felt like crap the rest of the day.”

Amber: I don’t think “oof” even begins to cover how they must have been feeling after that. BBQ, wow, I’ve never wanted a certain food LESS. 

Gina: Other commenters on the thread confirmed that a burned body does smell like barbeque… and even more interesting is that when a thin person is cremated, it smells like fireworks! File that under information you never knew and have no reason to know now. 

(7)Amber: This one made me giggle. Another gem from Reddit: “Not a morgue worker but my uncle owned a mortuary while I was growing up and I worked summers there as a young teenager. Despite what you might think I didn’t see many dead bodies. Mostly I answered phones, cleaned things, and curated the urns and caskets and stuff. Sometimes we had to go on runs to the crematory and I saw most of the bodies I ever saw there. It was in the crematory that I first saw a naked man… But, that’s another story.

I’d say the weirdest thing that ever happened was – well – there was a freezer in the prep room where bodies were sometimes kept overnight. It was a small mom and pop mortuary so it rarely had more than one body in it but tonight it did, for some reason and this night – in particular – I was staying the night there with my nephew who was visiting. He was about 8 years old.

Anyways, my uncle had mentioned the bodies I guess at some point in front of my nephew and he got curious. I remember him asking me about it and I sort of shrugged it off, but he didn’t! He got up in the middle of the night and went downstairs to poke around and got more than he bargained for!!!

The reason I’d stayed overnight was because I had to get up early the next morning to help prep for a morning ceremony. I was going to have to be up at 5am. But, at about 3am was awoken by banging around downstairs. Scared as hell I lied in the dark for a minute and then realized that Junior was missing…

I was in a panic running around the mortuary at 5am screaming his name. Finally I ran down the stairs – and mind you I’m about 14 and I am NOT excited about going down into the prep room knowing there are 2 bodies down there… But, I rush down there and find that a table had been knocked over and I started screaming his name again and the freeze door started to rattle.

Bare in mind it is 3:15am. I have just woken up and I am now in the empty prep room and instead of answering my screams the freezer door where the bodies are starts to rattle so instead of having an intelligent response I screamed like a bitch and ran back up the stairs. A few seconds later I realized that that must be Junior locked somehow in the freezer and ran back down there stairs.

I let him out, he was hypothermic and blue lipped, shaking and crying. He’s lucky he had only been in there for less than an hour or he could have very easily died!!! I got him in some blankets and ran him a bath and called the nearby hospital, but within the hour he seemed okay so we didn’t take him in.

Apparently he’d gone downstairs poking around and didn’t know there was a freezer there. He opened the freezer and saw the bodies lying there under their sheets and went inside without realizing the freezer door locks automatically from the outside!!! He locked himself in there with 2 dead bodies!

So, he was terrified and frantic and the most unfortunate part is that in his panic he shoved one of the gurneys into the wall and it tipped over and the body fell on the floor! It was an old woman and she was only half covered and her face got all caved in somehow. It was REALLY gruesome for an 8 year old or a 14 year old to see.

Fortunately the mortician was able to fix it when he got in 2 hours later and everyone was okay, but it was pretty freaky with the 1 body on the floor and all.”

Gina: That poor kid!! “Junior” is only a year older than my youngest son and I think he’d need a life of therapy to cope with that experience. I know I would and I’m older than I want to admit. Unfortunately, kids are nosey and if they hear talk of something that sounds interesting, they’re going to go looking for it.

Amber: I 100% would have been that kid snooping around down there… and had a blast doing so probably. 

(8)Gina: Let’s end off these morgue/funeral-related stories with another one from Reddit: “One that is always good for a laugh… – We are doing a huge service. The deceased was well loved in the county, and we have dignitaries from the state capitol in attendance. Deceased had family relations who worked for state police, sheriff, FBI, local PD, fire, National Guard. A former senator is there, and the then current governor had sent a member of his staff to read a letter during the open memorial time.

We have a huge procession that takes more than an hour to snake through town to the cemetery. As I’m pulling in to the cemetery, the sexton and grave digger meet me and they begin parking cars where they can. The limousines pulling family members and pallbearers are parked and idling (it’s mid summer and hot outside) and we are about ready to have them come forward, retrieve the casket, place it on the lowering device, etc. when we notice the raccoon that is in the bottom of the grave. Angry, loud, and probably hungry.

A lot of discussion goes on where we are trying to figure out how to get the raccoon out of the grave. We’ve got every flavor of law enforcement giving ideas, from sending someone in to grab it to calling in animal control. The digger, a good ole’ boy finally gets tired of all the talk and walks to his truck. He pulls out his 22/410 scout gun he keeps on hand for rattlesnakes and shoots the raccoon with a load of ratshot. This kills the raccoon.

About this point we realize nobody had told the family why we are all standing around the grave. They sat there, watching us discuss a hole in the ground intently for about 15 minutes and then someone they’ve never seen before shoots into the hole. They find this to be hilarious.

We send one of the National Guardsmen down into the hole to retrieve the raccoon (he had the least expensive dress uniform/suit on, thus cheapest to clean). He drags it up, we put it in a pillowcase and the digger takes it over to his truck and tosses it in the back.

We do the burial, close the grave. Everyone mills around for a few minutes, then trickle out of the cemetery until just a few of the family are left. They inquired as to the fate of the raccoon, and asked us to give it a proper burial. We figure why the hell not, so the digger trenches a hole out in the undeveloped area. We lay the raccoon to rest, someone said a prayer (amidst all the laughter) and we close the grave. Someone put flowers on it, and we all left.

It was memorable, to say the least.” 

Amber: At least the family saw the humor in the situation as I’m sure it was an entertaining sight. It’s nice that they provided a funeral for the raccoon as well since the poor thing was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gina: It’s kind of disturbing that they murdered a raccoon at the funeral. The least they could after killing the poor fuzzy dude was bury it and say a little prayer. 


Amber: Well that concludes this week’s WTF Wednesday! Ready for that riddle answer? Here it is one more time: “A man has been shot to death in his car. There are no powder marks on his clothes indicating that the gunman wasn’t in the car. However, all the windows are up, the doors are locked, and there are no bullet holes in the car. How was he murdered?” The answer: The car is a convertible. The top was closed after the man had been shot. Yet another reason not to like convertibles. 

Gina: Check out our shiny new website where you can see this week’s morgue tales and catch up on previous WTF Wednesday hilarity. I loved the pet photos you sent last week to our email I need all the dogs. Amber’s request this week is memes! Send us your favorite memes and who knows, yours could be shared on our Instagram (be sure to include your name if you want to be tagged!) Speaking of Instagram, follow us on @weirdtruecrime – we love interacting with you there! To get more interaction, don’t miss out on the fun in our Weird True Crime Podcast Group on Facebook. Any of the links mentioned can be found in our bio. 

Until next time, stay safe – and make good choices – byeeeeeee………. Byebye.

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