I’ve just received a column from a UK newspaper that describes one of the most unusual jobs I have ever come across: Coffin Confessor. It is also known as, Funeral Crasher.
In fact, Bill Edgar, former private investigator, bodyguard, and ex-convict, does not really crash the funerals he attends. He has been invited … by the deceased.
He is paid to announce something that the deceased was not willing to say while alive.
As a result, Bill has arrived at funerals and announced secrets, grudges, affairs, and gifts. This is not an occupation for anyone who is shy and retiring. And this is an occupation that requires decent injury insurance.
For his first gig, Bill announced at a funeral that the deceased was aware his best friend had persisted in trying to sleep with his (the deceased’s) wife. He had wanted to confront him, but did not feel able to do so while alive.
On another occasion, a dying member of a bikie gang asked him to tell the fellow gang members that he was secretly gay.
Bill has been hired to arrive at the reading of wills, with the revised document. One woman booked him to arrive with the news that all her children had been cut out of the will.
He is also available to attend wakes, and once announced to a late wife that the deceased had hidden a large amount of money in the house. Of course, he could never know if this was true, or if it was a last-ditch attempt from the deceased to get their spouse to tidy up.
Bill is prepared to attend funerals dressed in various outfits and has been known to don the costumes of Bart Simpson, Starsky or Hutch and, my favourite, the Robot from Lost in Space.
And he has had to clarify that he is speaking for the dead and not to the dead.
Naturally, this work has changed Bill’s life, and a movie deal is in the works.
‘It has opened my eyes to the fact that so many people find it hard to be themselves. Thousands have sent me their secrets and their deepest wishes; things they want me to say after they’re gone.’
Therapists and psychiatrists make a great deal of money out of unfinished business. Perhaps the services offered by Bill are a cheaper way to get things off one’s chest – one last time. But better yet, why not say the things that matter, while we have the chance.