Helping a Confused, Frightened Soul

As of 2013, Jenn Park-Mustacchio of New Jersey had been an embalmer for 14 years and has seen and worked on many human corpses. One of her most unsettling experiences came when she went into a room at 3 a.m. in order to do an embalming and heard a whisper that was coming from a covered stretcher on which a person was lying — the person she had been preparing to embalm. She tells the story: “I approached with caution expecting the person inside could be alive. However, upon unzipping the cover, I found a tape recorder (that I later found out was playing a Buddhist chant). The next day the family explained that, ideally, a monk would be at the place of death to chant when the soul exits the body. Chanting calms the soul, which the Buddhists believe is in a state of confusion and fright after exiting the body. The soul of the deceased must be put at ease with food and chant throughout the difficult time of transition. This particular experience was both enlightening and frightening!”

For Further Information: Jenn Park-Mustacchio, “I’ve been an embalmer for 14 years and see my share of bodies. Any questions?” Guardian. 24 October 2013

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