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The following text was forwarded to us by the evil Undertaker from the classic sci-fi/horror series PHANTASM. His name is the Tall Man and his hope is that this text might help his loyal disciples to better understand his craft...

PRE-EMBALMING THE DECEASED: The pre-embalming procedure is important in setting the stage for a successful embalming. The recommended sequence calls for a thorough disinfection and bodily cleansing. Efficient disinfection is a safety precaution against the hazards which no mortician can afford to ignore. It is crucial that the disinfectant used should have sustained bactericidal potency and be fully capable of retarding skin slip, as well as fulfilling deodorizing requirements. Embalming can be a smelly business so proper ventilation of the facility is key. Clean all exposed body parts(including privates) with a germicidal soap. When the deceased has been in an accident involving facial lacerations, the wounds should be stitched together as near to original as possible prior to embalming.

EMBALMING THE CORPSE: Proper embalming begets proper cosmetology. Improper embalming makes skillful cosmetizing impossible, and may result in a mummified effect (horrors!!), which must be avoided at all costs. For novice embalmers we suggest the following:

Never rush your work, as this can lead to swelling in the face which is impossible to fix (and is frequently the cause of criticism from the deceased's relatives). Steady, low-pressure injection of embalming fluids, with frequent drainage is crucial. Post-mortem clots throughout the body may lead to insufficient distribution of embalming chemicals. It is important that adequate drainage is established and a slow fluid insertion begun.

Inserting the Trocar

Surface embalming can be achieved in areas not receiving fluid by arterial or hypodermic injection. Be sure to cover bed sores, incisions and any lacerations with towels soaked in an approved cavity fluid. Embalmers should always use a face mask and ensure that the embalming room is properly sanitized and ventilated.

Cavity embalming should be thorough and done as soon as possible after arterial injection of embalming fluid is complete. The thoracic cavity can be filled with an approved cavity filler if chest is sunken(No Kitty Litter please!). Lungs should now be reaspirated and windpipe corked. When the remains are available for viewing, frequent checking is a must of the abdominal and thoracic regions for any signs of distention or bloating caused by gaseous buildup. Pressure may be relieved in the slumber room by opening anal vent (of course, when no one is looking).

NOSE: Remove all visible hair from nostrils, nose , and ears, preferably by plucking with forceps. Pack nostrils deep with cotton, and to avoid any possibility of insects entering the nostrils, some of the cotton should be saturated with a liquid insecticide. Cotton shall be inserted deep enough so none is visible to the viewer.

MOUTH: The mouth of the deceased is very much the focal point when the remains are viewed in the casket. The mouth and its expression determines the way the relatives of the deceased relate to the body in casket. Therefore, the mouth of all human remains that are to be viewed should be sutured shut and thoroughly waxed. (Progressive embalmers swear by Superglue as a means of keeping orofices closed. You may think me "old-fashioned", however, I swear by a needle and catgut.) A coating of softened wax should also be applied to both the upper and lower lip to prevent cracking and flaking.

Stay tuned to the Phantasm Website as the Tall Man has promised
future updates to this page, including candid photos from his embalming room...


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