What started as a joke for Bill Edgar a few years ago has turned into a lucrative line of work – the 53-year-old Australian believes he’s found his calling as a funeral crasher.
He gets paid to gatecrash funerals, will readings and wakes and reveal a secret the deceased took to their grave. Bill, who calls himself The Coffin Confessor, got his first gig in 2018 when he was asked to interrupt a funeral while the deceased’s best friend was delivering the eulogy to reveal that the deceased had known his friend had been trying to sleep with his wife.
"The first attempt started as a joke,” he recalls. “I told a dying man I’d crash his funeral for him after he said he had a few things he wanted said. Lo and behold, he took me up on the offer and I crashed his funeral while his best mate was performing the eulogy."
His big reveal didn't go down well – half the congregation walked out of the service that day. So began his career as The Coffin Confessor.
Bill, who lives on Australia's Gold Coast, works closely with his clients, many of whom are on their deathbed. The requests range from the jaw-dropping and salacious to touching such as conveying a message of love and peace.
At other times there’s no big secret to expose, just a simple request. “One gentleman requested that The Coffin Confessor makes sure he’s placed in his coffin naked and lying on his stomach so those who come to view his body can kiss his a**e!” Bill reveals.
He takes his job seriously, though. In his memoir, The Coffin Confessor, Bill explains how his tough upbringing – being sexually abused and neglected and later ending up on the streets and behind bars – had an impact on him. His traumatic background is one of the reasons he feels he needs to be a voice for the voiceless once they’ve passed away.
“I needed people to know I didn’t just decide to rock up and crash funerals,” says Bill, who also works as a private investigator. “It wasn’t like that. It was something within me that I’m capable of doing because of my upbringing.
“I went, 'You know what? I’m not the kind of man to hide from anything',” he continues. “To talk about abuse, I don’t find that a fear thing. It’s opening the door for other men to come forward. It’s not weak at all.”
Some people might find his part-time career rather outlandish but Bill is laughing all the way to the bank. In 2019 he made about R100 000 to crash one funeral, and it looks like business is booming.
"Since the news broke, thousands of people from across the globe have requested their funeral be crashed by The Coffin Confessor," he says.
SOURCES: LADBIBLE.COM, 7NEWS.COM.AU, MIRROR.CO.UK, ROARINGSTORIES.COM.AU, STARTSAT60.COM