'I'm a Coffin Confessor. I Tell People's Secrets From Beyond the Grave'

I am a private investigator based in Queensland, Australia, and my work involves going into big businesses undercover, as a security guard or a cleaner, for example, to find out who is stealing from the business. I tend to find out quite quickly who is responsible.

Then, around three years ago, one of my clients was being ripped off by someone within his business, but he was also terminally ill.

We started talking about death and what's on the other side and I suggested he do his own eulogy. But he said no, and that he wanted something more. As a joke, I told him that I could crash his funeral for him. Then, about three or four weeks later I received a message from that same client saying, "I'm going to take you up on that!"

He told me that he wanted me to crash his funeral and that he would pay me $7,300 (AUD$10,000) to do exactly what he asked. I was to interrupt the funeral when his best friend was reading the eulogy and to tell his best friend to sit down and shut up. Then I was to explain to everyone that I had something to say on the behalf of the deceased.

Anyone can attend a funeral, so I just went in as a mourner and sat amongst the family and friends. A couple of people asked if I knew the man who had died, and I said yes, as of course I did. Obviously I stood up at a certain point and introduced myself.

I then outed the best friend for trying to sleep with the deceased's wife, I asked three mourners who were also at the funeral to stand up and make themselves known, and then I had to tell them to get lost, because as far as my client had been concerned, they shouldn't have been at the funeral.

At first, people were confused and didn't know what was going on. But then, and at funerals since, the majority wanted to hear what their loved one had left unsaid. At that first funeral, the best mate just left straight away, along with some others. I had thought my client's wife would be more upset or emotional, but at the time she wasn't. Then, a few days later I got a beautiful email from her and one from the deceased man's daughter. The daughter had actually been told by her dad that someone was going to do something at the funeral, but she didn't know what.

It was daunting, but at the same time it made me feel really good. My client was knocking on death's door and he was not going to have the strength to say or do these things himself, but he really felt empowered through knowing I would be able to do what I did.

The most volatile funeral I have attended as a "coffin confessor" on behalf of a deceased client was a biker funeral. I had to expose that the deceased biker, who was a sergeant at arms and quite well known, was gay and his lover was in the funeral party. That was quite confronting, as I think at first they thought I had a vendetta against the man. But those who truly knew that man, also knew that he was gay.

People have found out about me from funeral to funeral. After the first funeral confession I delivered, someone there got in touch with their aunt who was in palliative care and she then contacted me and I did her funeral confession.

funerals, confessions, private investigator
Bill Edgar is a private investigator who has recently been working as a "coffin confessor." Edgar attends the funerals of recently deceased clients and reveals information they have requested him to share. Glenn Hampstead

Hers was beautiful because she had left messages for her husband but knew he would never have found them. So I had to go to their home and tell him that his wife had left messages for him and that he had to hunt for them. We found a couple while I was there and they were so beautiful and emotional. I know that they eventually led him all around the house and garden and the last one told him to let her go, that she would build a home for them where she was and she'd see him soon.

I have had a lot of people ask me if I will do, say, their mom's funeral confession. I'll say yes, but that I need to speak with their mom and get the information from her. I never do third party stuff. I need to record the conversation and I need a contract signed, because I need to protect myself. If someone wants to confess to a serious crime after they have passed, I have to suggest they write it down and seal it and I will open it after their death, because I do not want to be in a position of knowing something that should be reported to the police.

I have now done 22 funerals and "home sweeps" all together. My fee is still $7,300 (AUD$10,000) for a funeral confession and I charge $2,200 (AUD$3,000) for a "home sweep". An example of a "home sweep" would be if an elderly person had a fall, they go into hospital and think they may not get back home. They would engage me to go back to their house and clean it of items they don't want their family and friends to find. It could be anything from sex toys to money or guns. We've all got skeletons in our closets and we don't want family and friends finding that type of stuff.

There are some funeral confessions or requests that I have said no to. An elderly gentleman wanted me to kill his pet dog so the dog could go with him when he passed. I said no to that, but I did say that I would make sure the dog found a beautiful home.

After appearing on breakfast television in the U.K., I had to set up my "Coffin Confessions" website where people could upload their own confessions, eulogies and messages for loved ones. It's all secure, and when they pass, the next of kin receives the login and that person will get to read the deceased person's confession. I got 8,000 uploads in one week and it's just gone from there. There's some really funny stuff, but I would definitely contact the police if something was posted on the site that I felt was a serious crime that needed to be reported.

funerals, confessions, private investigator
Bill Edgar offers a service to attend funerals on behalf of the deceased and air their secrets. He also has a website where people can upload confessions for loved ones to read once they have passed. Glenn Hampstead

At the start I did encourage that first client to say the things he wanted to say himself. And he told me to imagine I was on my deathbed, at death's door with some relationships that had disintegrated and with some friends he hadn't seen for many months. He didn't have a chance to tell some of those people himself, and he really didn't have the strength. But, he did want to leave on his own terms. I even suggested we did a video but it could have been edited, turned off or the funeral director may have not allowed it.

I've actually had funeral directors tell me I have to leave, and I've told them that this is my client and if they don't let me do my job, I will take my client with me. Before they pass, I set my clients up with a separate funeral director in case, so we are ready to take the coffin and bury them elsewhere if their final wishes are not respected.

I have had a few requests from people in the U.S. One guy wanted me to put fireworks in his coffin so they went off during a parade, another guy wanted to be naked, lying on his front and for me to write "kiss this" on his a** for when he had an open casket viewing. So, the requests have been quite out there.

It's ridiculous how many people have said to me that they have been to funerals and out of respect to the living they keep quiet. When really, I think they should be getting up there and saying the person who has passed wasn't the way they're being described, or questioning why the deceased has been given a religious funeral if they weren't religious.

If you're at a funeral and you hear someone say something that isn't right, why not stand up and say something? Especially if it's your best mate or your dad in that coffin.

I'm not sure what the future holds. If I start to get a bit more well known I think it might work in my favour! When I rock up to a funeral people are just going to have to leave and I'm not going to have to do quite so much work getting rid of people who my clients don't want to be there.

But I also love the job I do now as a private investigator for big businesses. And with that my day-to-day work I'm not worried if I become more recognizable. When I'm doing that work, it's like those undercover shows, I wear a disguise so you would never even know it was me.

Bill Edgar is a private investigator and "the coffin confessor" based in Queensland, Australia. He founded coffinconfessions.com.au where anyone can log a confession to be read after they pass away.

All views expressed in this piece are the writer's own.

As told to Jenny Haward.