SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Embalmer's Nightmare, "He Ain't Dead"

By Bob Weaver 2024

As a mortician in West Virginia I head a few tortuous stories about bodies being brought to a funeral, turning out they were not dead.

These years later, I recall a chilling experience in Spencer WV.

For starters, funeral homes more often bury family members and friends. Such being the case with Delbert Batten, a good man and plumber who was in business with Sonny Truman.

Late at night we got a call for an ambulance, saying Delbert was having a heart attack. He was coding when we arrived at Roane General Hospital. We returned to the funeral home.

A short time later we received a call from the hospital to remove his body.

My assistant Allen Nicholas helped putting the body on the embalming table, positioning him for the process.

Shortly his eyelids began to flutter followed by his fingers moving. Then the apparent signs of life intensified, his fingers aggressively grasping and releasing.

We both frightfully ran from the embalming room to call the ER doctor Pedro Lo, he telling us that he was pumped full of adrenaline, causing the twitching.

The process then returned to normal.

I am unaware if we told his family, and hope that we have respectfully written this story - the life and times of a country embalmer.