Not many people could get up in the middle of a eulogy, in a room full of grieving people they have never met, and deliver a message the dead could not say themselves while they were alive.
That’s just another day on the job for Queensland’s Bill Edgar, better known as the “coffin confessor”. He gets paid to gatecrash funerals on behalf of the dead.
He recounts one particularly mortifying experience on news.com.au’s podcast I’ve Got News For You.
“I stand up, introduce myself, I told his best mate to sit down, shut up, or b***** off – the man in the coffin has got something to say,” Mr Edgar explained.
“You were no best mate of mine, you were trying to s**** my wife while I’m on my deathbed, so b***** off.
“And if my brother, his wife, and their daughter are at my funeral service, you can tell them to b***** off too, because I haven’t seen them in 30 years, so why are they paying their respects now when they could have seen me when I was alive?”
And that was just his first job.
Since then, he’s had to clean up sex dungeons, come out on behalf of a bikie and break the news to bickering offspring that they won’t be left anything in the will – for anywhere from A$2000 to A$10,000 a job.
After a two-year lull because of Covid-19 – yet another industry victim to the pandemic – the coffin confessor is now going international, jetsetting to the US and UK to deliver messages from beyond the grave.
Edgar says he got into this line of work after that man above – who told his friend to stop “trying to s**** my wife” – had taken him up on an only half-serious idea intended as a joke.
“I told the gentleman as he was on his deathbed, ‘Look, you know, I could crash your funeral for you if you don’t want to do your own eulogy.’
“And lo and behold, he took me up on the offer.”
He says he’s expanded the scope of his service to the “home suite”, where he goes to the dead’s home to remove items they don’t want their loved ones to see.
“Could be sex toys, messages of hate, love, whatever it is they’ve written down, that they want removed from their web browsers,” he told podcast host Andrew Bucklow.
“One gentleman had – what you could only describe as – a sex dungeon in one of his bedrooms. And that gentleman was 88 years of age, believe or not. So – yeah – good on him,” Edgar said with a chuckle.
“At the end of the day, he was single, and he did what he wanted to do.
“There were a lot of items I had to remove and incinerate, and it was all because he didn’t want his three sons to find that kind of paraphernalia in his home.”
On the podcast, Edgar also recounts the time he was paid by a bikie to reveal that he was bisexual and in love with a man who was in the room, why he turned down a job for a man who wanted to die with his dog, and what he does when someone confesses to a crime.
Edgar, after releasing a book about his experiences in 2021, says his story has been picked up by Paramount for a movie release and he’s been contacted for TV shows.
He says he’d like to be played by Ryan Reynolds in a movie.
And would Bill Edgar like his own coffin confessor when his time comes? Obviously.
“But I’m going to leave me coughing up with heaps of fireworks when it goes into the furnace, I hope.” he said.
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