From grief to decay to funerary traditions, Caitlin Doughty’s popular web video series tackles the tough questions about death.
In the series’ inaugural video, Doughty explains the cause and length of rigor mortis and dispels several ghoulish myths about cremation.
In four words, Doughty reveals what she wants done with her own remains. The Meow, her retired-from-competition Siamese cat, makes her first cameo.
Doughty explains the primary differences between today’s traditional burial and natural burial, which for centuries was just called burial. She also shrouds the cat.
Addressing other people’s grief is hard. In this video, Doughty reviews some of the tacky, saccharine, and awkward ways we try; advises that silence is worst of all; and offers three things that are always safe to say to the grieving.
With oxygen, the “magic of decomposition” leads to dehydration, Doughty explains. Without it, the body becomes a gaseous bog—thus the grisly, explosive downside to putting a protective casket in a mausoleum.
In a video outside the Ask a Mortician series, Doughty and friends provide a historical overview of the changing ways Americans have managed death.