Exceptional experiences in the funeral industry

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Since the dawn of ancient civilisation humans have assigned themselves to the preparation of deceased individuals for funerary purposes, including but not limited to, bodily disposal, and related religious ceremonies. In modern day, we recognise this process under terms and job titles such as ‘funeral homes’, ‘funeral directors’ and ‘undertakers’. Such roles carry with them a variety of responsibilities. For example, duty coroners collecting cadavers, morticians, funeral home staff (e.g., receptionists, hearse drivers and pall bearers), and of course, the head funeral director. It has been previously proposed in the pioneering PhD research of Joanne McMahon (1987), that those working in the profession, around dead bodies, may be more prone than most people to psi type experiences, which are non-typical in the literature, given such persons rarely ever knew the deceased. This paper summarises McMahon’s work and relevant key literature, arguing for further professional investigation to be carried out into the exceptional experiences and psychology of those in the funeral profession. Such research is essential as it may help to provide new insights into such experiences, and also because such specific literature, at this stage of awareness and time, is severely limited.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Society for Psychical Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Mar 2024


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