Funeral director answers questions about dead bodies and how they are prepared

A mortician has been answering morbid questions about dead bodies – and they’re not for the faint-hearted.

Victor M Sweeney, mortician and funeral director, has answered everything from ‘sky burials’ to whether people smile or frown after death.

It has been warned the questions and answers, as shared on Twitter, contain information some readers may find uncomfortable or distressing.

One Twitter user asked: “Will morticians give you a shower? Asking for a friend”.

In response, Victor said: “We do bathe every deceased that comes through and wash and shampoo their hair, but I cannot imagine trying to prop somebody up. Doing it whilst they’re laying down is ideal.”

Another user asked whether it is legal to turn a person into a “life-sized doll after their death” – with Victor answering “Absolutely not”.

Mortician answer dead body questions

Posing a dark question, a user asked how a mortician would ‘fix’ a body that had been shot between the eyes, asking if they would use “silly putty”.

In his response, Victor said: “We work very hard on restoration, when someone’s shot between the eyes providing the rest of the head is still there, we’d probably want to pack the bullet hole with cotton or a firmer material and cover it with wax.

“It’s softer than candle wax. It softens up with the heat of the hand and we can use it to wax over a wound and we can get the proper texture with stippling and brush work and colour it in.”

Moving onto the topic of ‘sky burials’, where a person’s body is placed out in the open for animals to pick apart, Victor was asked whether this is legal.

He simply told the Twitter users: “It is not legal”.

One of the most popular questions asked whether morticians “really sew your mouth shut when you’re dead?”

Victor said: “The answer to that is yes. And also no. We generally don’t sew the lips closed, you can imagine how much time and fine detail it would take to do that.

“There are two ways to close a mouth. You can bring the jawbone up with some needle and thread.

“You would go up out of the nose, across the septum, back down and through the lip to pull the two ends together.

“A needle injector is sort of like a piston and you simply tie the wire together to hold the mouth in place.”

The question prompted another Twitter user to ask: “Can morticians put facial expressions on the dead?”

“That is a great question, yes, typically a face expression will almost make itself when we close the jaw and set the features.

“We can fill in some of the cheek to create a more pleasant expression with cotton or fluid. I always put a bit of cotton inside the mouth.”

He said, in a nutshell, people who are smilers tend to smile in the casket, while people who are frowners tend to frown.

Finally, Victor was asked how morticians place a person’s arms when in the casket.

He said: “Traditionally the hands are placed over the naval and will almost always be placed left over right.

“The reason being more often than not you will have been married so we want the hand with the wedding ring to be on top so people can see it.”