Q & A with a Crime Scene Cleaner

2 a.m.- Suicide

6 a.m.- Homicide

1 p.m.- Unattended Death

7 p.m.- Unattended Death

12 a.m.- Suicide

That’s a typical day’s work for Certified Bio-Recovery Master, Scott Vogel, 32. He has witnessed the unthinkable, but somehow walks out of it all able to go home and play with his two kids. How does he face death everyday? What are death’s seasonal trends? I recently chatted with Vogel, the President of Emergi-Clean, a bio-recovery business in New Jersey, as he traveled from a site to his home.

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VICE: Working with Dead People Has Its Own Special Kind of Job Stress


Photo: Laura Hardin

Standing before a corpse, Laura Hardin, 29, began the embalming procedure as she had done hundreds of times over the past six years. One: Wash the body in disinfectant. Two: Create an incision in the artery. Three: Replace blood with chemicals. Four: Drain the organs. Five: Set the features; use two plastic “eye caps” to secure the eyelids in place.

But in March 2016, panic attacks began to interrupt Hardin’s methodical routine. Within a week, she was experiencing a panic attack every hour. “I felt like I was having a seizure,” Hardin recalls. “It was like I was in a dream. I was losing reality.”

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5 Facts about Mourning Jewelry

“Mourning Jewelry,” also known as memorial jewelry, started in the Victorian period as a way to remember deceased loved ones. While modern-day mourning jewelry no longer tends to incorporate the deceased loved ones’ hair, skeleton, nails, and teeth, a new type of mourning jewelry has evolved– cremation jewelry, which has been gaining popularity recently.

  1. Mourning Jewelry was worn by women AND men

While many women would wear the traditional rings, necklaces, and bracelets, men were not excluded from the tradition. Many men would wear cuff links or pocket watch fobs with strands of the deceased hair braided in it.

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I Attended Houdini’s Séance…

Table.JPGOn the ground floor of Harry Houdini’s childhood home on the Upper East Side, magicians and magic fans gathered around a table crowded with the legendary escape artist’s memorabilia.

Magician Harry Houdini captured the world’s attention as he consistently found his way out of straitjackets, torture chambers, and the strongest of locks and chains.

But even after his death on October 31, 1926, Houdini has continued to attract magic fans hoping to witness his greatest escape yet.

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Seven Famous Eulogies

How do you sum up someone’s life in a few paragraphs? How do you capture their lively spirit, their endearing smile, and their obnoxious laugh in just about 500 words?

With touching personal anecdotes and sincere tributes, these seven infamous eulogies do their best to commemorate the lives of some of the greats from the iconic peacemaker, Gandhi to the father of Apple, Steve Jobs.

  • Sonny_and_Chastity_Bono_1974Sonny Bono: 1935-1998
    • Presented by Cher
    • Line to remember: “When I was 16-years-old, I met Sonny — Salvatore Philip Bono. And the first time I ever saw him, he walked in this room. And I had never seen anything like him before in my life. Because he was Sonny way before we were Sonny and Cher.”

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Q&A with Mortician, Alexandra Mosca


Photo: Playboy

Alexandra Mosca has her share of stories to tell. Her hand was accidentally sewed into a corpse; she witnessed the funerals of former mayor Ed Koch and fashion icon, Joan Rivers; and experienced the backlash from her industry after posing for the 1986 April issue of Playboy.

On a less provocative note, she took the time to discuss with me some of the new funeral trends, some hyped, others the new reality.

First of all, how did you even get into the funeral industry?

In college, it actually was my after school job. After working at a funeral home daily, I developed an interest in it. In 1983, I established the Hellenic Funeral Home in Queens.

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Ghosts at the Merchant’s House Museum?

Next to an empty lot and a parking garage, the three-story, brick building looks out of place. The ornate metal railings and creamy white columns appear unaffected by the burgeoning metropolis right outside its door—a snapshot of a previous world.

Formerly known as the Old Merchant’s House, or the Seabury Tredwell House, the Merchant’s House Museum is New York City’s only 19th century family home preserved in its entirety. At 29 East 4th Street, the old house has become a museum for history buffs, NYU students, and curious New Yorkers.


Photo: Merchant’s House Museum

Built in 1832, the building was soon sold to a wealthy New York merchant, Seabury Tredwell. The family remained at the residence until Gertrude Tredwell, the youngest daughter of eight siblings, died in the house at the age of 93. The family had occupied the house for almost 100 years.

Shortly after Gertrude’s death, reports of paranormal activity began circulating around the neighborhood. But this did little to stop George Chapman, a cousin of the wealthy family, from memorializing the home as a museum in 1936. The museum holds hundreds of the family’s personal possessions, ranging from original furniture to the family’s perfectly intact closets.

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It’s a Period of Life, Not Death

While some doulas usher in the beginning of life, others choose to embrace the end. Greek for “woman who serves,” a 21st century doula assists with life’s most remarkable transitions: birth and death. For an end-of-life doula like Juliet Sternberg, facing death is her job. Sternberg, 54, has worked as a social worker for more than two decades, and three years ago became program manager at New York’s Doula Program to Accompany & Comfort. In both her own relationships and those of her volunteer staffers, she has discovered the joy in the bonds that can develop between the living and the dying.

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Who Wants to Live Forever?

a_guy_working_on_his_computer_by_retronator-d6bx6nrEver wondered what happens to your social media accounts after death? Will all the work you did for your 2K followers be for nothing? How will your 1,200 Facebook friends even know you’re gone?

New technology could be instrumental in creating your posthumous presence on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. While many are still in beta stages, these four startups are working to create attainable social immortality, changing the way we interact with the world after we leave it.

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