I started doing the undertaking when I turned 18 and did it for 5 years in my home town in Australia. In that time I attended the scenes of countless murders, suicides and decomps. I think I have seen every type of suicide and have a great knowledge of death and it's various stages.

Proof - verified confidentially by the mods. There are no photos due to the nature of work we did and the confidentiality agreements we signed.

Comments: 106 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

mdcsd33 karma

You're 24 years old. How are you an Ex-anything AND a lawyer?

Jameskii6 karma


I explained the timeline above, I work hard and the undertaking paid the rent whilst I was studying full time.

I finished school in 2008 at 17, started Uni straight away, Law in AU is a 4 year course so i finished at 21 and then did my practical legal training course which normally takes 1 year and condensed it to 6 months. I got admitted in 2013 at 23. My study debt to the government is about $60,000AU and is paid back interest free (only CPI) at 4% of your taxable income.

lightsisqueen13 karma

Hi Undertaker, how did you feel after losing to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania?

Jameskii2 karma

I never followed wresting. My friends who did made countless references to this

mxtrav13 karma

Are you a fan of The Undertaker?

Jameskii2 karma

I never followed wrestling sorry

CoffeeInTheSummer7 karma


About the kinds of suicides you saw, what kinds of suicides did you see?

Jameskii7 karma

by kinds, I mean the number of different ways people actually killed themselves. You name it, i couldn't list it all...hanging, OD, firearms, electrocution

Qlinkenstein2 karma

This one was a sucide too, WTF is going on down there?

Jameskii3 karma

"The death was not considered suspicious." this means suicide.

Mate, I can tell you there are some crazy people out there. Some people do it for the attention I think, but I am no psychologist.

CoffeeInTheSummer2 karma


From the scenes you attended, how old was the youngest person who committed suicide and how'd they do it?

Jameskii10 karma

13 Years, low socioeconomic background, hung herself from ceiling fan with an extension cord.

CoffeeInTheSummer9 karma

Excuse my language, but fuck.

Jameskii9 karma

Usually my first reaction too. Nearly all teenage suicides revolve around relationships ending

addisonclark5 karma

ugh. that's incredibly heartbreaking to think a young kid feels like their whole life is over because of a failed whirlwind childhood romance.

Jameskii4 karma

Yes, if anything took a toll on me, it was this. The fact that someone could emotionally harm you to the point you kill yourself, how fucked up is that!

richardhero6 karma

What is the strangest death you have had to look at?

Jameskii18 karma

once we went to pickup a guy who had died whilst walking over a small drain. supposedly drunk and walking home from the pub 100m away, the guy had tripped, impaled his ankle on the drain spikes that stop rubbish passing through the drain and then drowned in the water face down with this spike through his foot.

richardhero6 karma

Sounds like a horrible way to go, another quick question: Do you feel like you have been de-sensitised to seeing gruesome/heartbreaking events happen due to your line of work?

Jameskii19 karma

yes absolutely,

after the first 2 years I was confident that I could see/do anything without being adversely affected. Its been over 5 years and I have never had a nightmare. Its just in the way you deal with it, you are doing the dead person a favor by removing them from their tragic situation. The family shouldn't see them in the tragic circumstance.

Daricthebear6 karma

What is the most GLORIOUS death you have ever seen? Take that however you will.

Jameskii4 karma

Haha oh man let me think for a second...2 years ago a guy decided he wanted to kill himself in front of someone he knew. We didn't know the backstory or who the witness was to him. So he got his hunting crossbow, walked upstairs in the unit complex, knocked on the door of the person, and when they opened the door, he shot the crossbow into his head from under his chin! Glorious compared to topping yourself I guess

NeedleandThread4 karma

Whats the worst child suicide you have ever seen? Had the parents tried to get invovled before yall showed up? Have you ever witness a parent trying to "cover up" anything about their child's suicide before?

Jameskii3 karma

I've never seen of a child under 13 years committing suicide in the last 5 years, but I guess the age for anything will get younger and younger. There has been many murders of children through, they get investigated heavily

NonsenseShogunate4 karma

How are you only an ex-coroner by night? Wouldn't you be an ex-coroner all the time now if you are a lawyer?

Jameskii2 karma

I did both for a few years, now I focus on being a lawyer.

bmb97623 karma

If a city leader, such as a newly elected Mayor, were to make it a policy to show up at certain crime scenes, such as murders- in an effort to show leadership and solidarity with the police... BUT, they never actually saw a murdered body, or gruesome crime scene before; what should they expect to occur within themselves? I mean what emotion would they go through?

Jameskii3 karma

Death is such a taboo now, people are scared to see the person in the coffin done up, let alone sprawled naked on the kitchen floor in a pool of vomit and piss.

The world is getting more sensitive and if people were allowed to do this, the next thing they will be suing for emotional injury.

bmb9762-1 karma

Didn't really answer the question, but okay.

Jameskii2 karma

I don't really know how to answer the question. City leaders are just ordinary people...

slipperylips3 karma

So, you bury people day and night, eh?

Jameskii3 karma

Haha. I am a property lawyer so most of the work we do is fixed fee, people know what they are getting into!

VibSharma3 karma

What is the nastiest decomp you've had to deal with?

Jameskii5 karma

A guy lived on a small yacht in the harbor and was dead for 3 weeks. the compartment of the yacht was 2m x 3m and the hatch was 50cmx50cm. The insects where so bad that we had to leave the hatch open for 10 minutes so you could see inside and then we found the guy had decomposed to the point he had absorbed into his shitty mattress. We ended up rolling the mattress into the body bag and heaving the bag out the hatch but due to the hatch being near the roof, the body just sloshed to the end the bag. Even with 3 bags on the boat we couldn't get rid of the smell and the Morgue had to deep freeze him.

Lus_2 karma

This is sick, is true that water and humidity speed decomp?

Jameskii2 karma

Yes they speed things up incredibly, more than double.

malay47853 karma

how did you get into Undertaking?

Jameskii4 karma

My father worked for the funeral home at the time. Believe it or not, it is near impossible to retain staff in what we do due to the stigma and emotional stress. My dad knew I would be OK and put me up to it. I'll never forget what he said - "Son this will be good for you and your ability to deal with people and their emotions, but let me warn you, the things you will see, you will never forget for the rest of your life."

bobhteorange3 karma

Are there any attempted suicide cases in which you were able to save a life?

Jameskii3 karma

Negative, this is the usual order of affairs:

1.Person is found by family or others 2.Police and Ambulance are called 3.Police investigate while Ambos see if the person is dead 4. If any chance of survival/its a child and they pretend to the family they will take the person to the hospital/morgue themselves and we dont get called. 5. If dead, Ambos leave and we get called. We have a service time of 1 hours to get our shit and get to the scene

thejpn2 karma

I have an administration of criminal justice exam at 1 today. Any last minute advice? My professor likes to emphasize that the theory we learn in class isn't always how it works in real life; were you shocked or surprised by anything in real world practice being different than what you learned?

Jameskii4 karma

In Uni you learn how to learn and how to find the answers you need for the real world.

99% of the time, clients don't want to pay for your review of some case 10 year ago, they want an advice about what exactly we should do in their dispute and why. Lawyers and problem solvers.

GenericJeans2 karma

What and how would you talk about death to kids (10 & 11 yo)? We're atheist so I've explained scientifically as best I can, but it's a common topic given the news and tv. What do you wish more parents would talk about?

Great AMA. Thanks

Jameskii3 karma

that's a tough one. When people ask me why death doesn't bother me, my answer is that we all need to accept that death is part of life. Everybody you know will die in the next 70 years. People make loss harder by not acknowledging that it's coming. I'm not saying join a death cult, but just because you're scared of something, avoiding talking/being exposed to it doesn't help when it expectantly happens.

cda5552 karma

Do you believe in ghosts?

Jameskii5 karma

I'm an atheist through and through. But i have witnessed and seen things in the early hours at the funeral home when there alone....There is something out there

Duchock2 karma

What kind of skills does one need to be a coroner? I'm considering a change in profession after reading this...

Jameskii2 karma

There is no formal training or qualifications, you just need to get the right job. In Australia it would be advertised as a 'Funeral Director's Assistant' and you just need to see if that funeral home has the Contract with the Justice Department to convey the deceased for the Police.

BaconOpinion2 karma

How difficult was it being a coroner and going to law school at the same time?

Jameskii3 karma

I did fall asleep every now and again......but I'd say that was just Constitutional law.

nah but really, if I got called out, I would be out of bed and back to bed in about 2 hours, unless it was a big job which could take 3-4 hours.

digger_ex_pat2 karma

How did you manage to be an undertaker and cop and get a lawdegree by 24 years old? At that age, I was just learning to do my laundry and shop for my self.

Jameskii2 karma

A soon as I finished school in 2008, i have studied and worked full-time. I have explained in detail above. It wasn't easy but I didn't know any different

HeKnee2 karma

In a DUI class I was legally required to take, the person kept talking about how terrible DUI accident cases smelled on the scene. She said that you could smell the alcohol in their blood so it was worse than normal accident victims decomposing smell. Is there any truth to that?

I feel like .2 or even a crazy death inducing .4% blood alcohol concentration would be undetectable by the human nose what with all the other smells involved with death (bowels, even iron in blood smell would be more pronounced). Your take please!

Jameskii5 karma


A body won't have an usually have an oder for a a few hours after death, where I live the climate is tropical so nature moves quicker. You can't smell the alcohol, but violent deaths smell like fresh roadkill

Jameskii4 karma

I was going to say that you can't usually smell how someone has died. But then again, you can with Cancer. If someone has had Cancer, we can tell straight away. I cannot explain the smell, but every time I did, I checked on the death certification to make sure i was right. This is confirmed with other undertakers too

menamejmaw2 karma

My Dad was a former police officer and he shared some crazy stories over the years. One of the things that sticks out is that at times, he'd have to go to the coroner's for certain cases and the description of different smells that are encountered. I give you lots of credit for what you do because I have this gag reflex that sometimes kicks in when I'm brushing my teeth. Anyway, are you allowed to play music in the background while doing your work? If so, what do listen to/what's your playlist?

Jameskii3 karma

Negative. When we are at the job there is a very tense environment so we must act professional.

Ima_PenGuinn2 karma

Have you ever arrived at a scene and questioned why you do this work? What was the scene like? Is there an in particular that have stuck with you over the years?

Jameskii3 karma

Yes definitely. We used to get paid around $100 per hour when you divided the work by the hours, but we normally only got paid 2 hours at a time per night if we got called out.

A few times we would get called out to death where the person had not been found for 2-3 weeks. The smell is so rancid that you need to throw out your uniforms. I would say to myself, what the fuck am I doing this?? You get used to it and you know the job is not forever. I've scaled back in the last year to focus on my career

snorlz2 karma

how do you have time for that? Every 24 year old lawyer I know is working like 70+ hour weeks

Jameskii2 karma

I work around 50 hours a week in a firm of around 10 people, I only do the undertaking a night time on a 1 week on, 2 weeks of roster

Sirpotatoix2 karma

Can you explain the difference between vigilantism and undertaking?

Jameskii1 karma

I don't understand your question sorry

Marzipwn2 karma

What is the creepiest thing you have ever seen on and off the job respectively?

Jameskii2 karma

We see weird shit all the time, but nothing i'd describe as creepy.

No paranormal activity murders!

PicklesOfDethklok2 karma

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Jameskii6 karma

I had 2 dogs, a German Shepard and a Golden Retriever. There are 2 cats in my house but just do their own thing.

IslamicShibe2 karma

What is the quickest and least painful way to commit suicide? What common suicide option is the worst?

Jameskii2 karma

In my opinion, sleeping tablets i think...Hanging can't be pleasant

IslamicShibe2 karma

Do you ever see signs of struggle as if the person changed their mind but it was to late?

Jameskii2 karma

yes only with hangings. the majority of the time people hang themselves where at any point they can put their feet down and live. ie like a rope over the back of a door, anchored to the handle.

Other time people do the traditional hanging where once you step off, that's it.

Angharaz1 karma

What was the most gruesome, most horrific death/suicide you've ever seen?

Jameskii3 karma

A guy took a shotgun to the mouth and blew his head apart. Its like an exploding can of baked beans. I scooped up his brains and what was left of his introverted head with my bare gloved hands.

rblue1 karma

You ever encounter a guy hanging by his neck in the closet, pants around his ankles and half a boner?

Jameskii5 karma

Yes once, but erections don't last that long once you die.

every other time has been a guy watching some hardcore with a penis pump on and a smile on his face, or an old guy in the shower with his hand around his gear

rblue2 karma

an old guy in the shower with his hand around his gear

I'd give anything to go out this way.

Jameskii4 karma

Yes, compared to the other ways to die, pretty good!

thenarrrowpath1 karma

How are you a Lawyer at 24 years old? I don't know how it works in Austria but in the US if you were to graduate with your undergrad it typically takes 4 years making you 22 at the earliest. Law school is 3 years so 25 would be the earliest someone could become an attorney.

Even if you say graduated undergrad a year earlier and immediately went to law school you would have just started practicing if not waiting on bar results. Plus law school isn't a cake walk, most people don't work and study 12 hours a day. So unless you didn't sleep for the past 6 years I don't see how you could have visited murder scenes on the fly all while attending undergrad and law school.

Jameskii1 karma

Hey man,

I finished school in 2008 at 17, started Uni straight away, Law in AU is a 4 year course so i finished at 21 and then did my practical legal training course which normally takes 1 year and condensed it to 6 months. I got admitted in 2013 at 23. My study debt to the government is about $60,000AU and is paid back interest free (only CPI) at 4% of your taxable income.

mannyv0 karma

Have you read "The Corpse had a Familiar Face?"

Jameskii2 karma

No, but I have arrived at scenes where I have known the person who has died. You never realise at first because dead people are hard to recognise because of their facial expressions.


What kind of facial expressions do people make?

Jameskii2 karma

Hard to explain in words. the main thing in older people is usually their jaw will drop as there is no muscle control anymore.