Cremations on the rise, but embalmers in new survey reported strange blood clots

by WorldTribune Staff, January 23, 2024

The American funeral industry reports a continuing national trend favoring cremation. But two surveys of professional embalmers in the past two years have revealed phenomena that most people would rather not talk about.

In a new survey, more than 70 percent of embalmers reported finding strange fibrous white blood clots in significant percentages of corpses in 2023, a report said.

The clots were not being found prior to the Covid pandemic, a recent survey of 269 embalmers across four major countries and three continents found, The Defender reported on Jan. 22.

Embalmers said they rarely encountered they types of blood clots they are finding today prior to Covid and the vaccine rollout. / Richard Hirschman photo

“A similar survey conducted in late 2022 revealed that 66 percent of embalmers began finding the unusual clots in mid-2021, suggesting a temporal link to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, which began earlier that year,” John-Michael Dumais wrote for The Defender.

A report by the National Funeral Directors Association’s (NFDA) said the U.S. cremation rate is expected to increase from 60.5% in 2023 to 81.4% by 2045, according to its 2023 Cremation and Burial Report. According to the report:

The rise in cremation is due to cost considerations, environmental concerns, an increasingly transient population, changing consumer preferences and fewer religious prohibitions against the practice.

The creator of the surveys, former Air Force Maj. Thomas Haviland, told The Defender he conceived of the project after he watched the documentary “Died Suddenly”, where embalmers reported observing unprecedented fibrous masses clogging arteries.

Richard Hirschman, one of the embalmers featured in the documentary, told The Defender: “In my first 20 years of experience, I’d never seen clots like these. And we’re seeing them in arteries as well as veins.”

Haviland said of the latest survey results: “I know correlation is not necessarily causation, but man, there’s an awful lot of correlation going on here.”

The 2022 and 2023 embalmer surveys demonstrate largely consistent findings of strange blood-clotting phenomena beginning in the middle of 2021 and continuing through today.

In Haviland’s 2023 survey polling 269 embalmers globally, more than 70 percent reported seeing white fibrous clots.

Hirschman said he began seeing clots early in 2021, and to this day continues to see them in about half of the bodies he embalms. “The older the person is, the more I see.”

Nearly 80 percent of survey respondents indicated microclotting in about 25 percent of cadavers on average as demonstrated by “coffee grounds”-like material in blood drainage. Some embalmers saw these clots in a much higher percentage of corpses.

Microclotting was seen very rarely (less than 5 percent) in corpses prior to Covid and the vaccine rollouts, according to survey respondents.

Embalmers reported an overall increase in all types of clotting in all age groups — but especially ages 36 and up — echoing real-world data from insurance industry trends showing increased death benefit payouts for younger people, Haviland said.

“I’ve been an embalmer for 23 years, and in my first 20 years of experience, I’d never seen clots like these,” Hirschman said.

On Jan. 9, Haviland sent his survey results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health. He has not yet received a response.

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