Mortuary Worker Explains How Long Cremation Takes and What's Left Behind

A mortuary worker has revealed all about cremation, including what's left behind and how long it takes.

Autumn shares her insights on her TikTok page, @autumnsmortuaryeducation, where she explains: "Mortuary Worker providing educational content: Death doesn't have to be scary."

She shares numerous videos covering the various processes which happen after someone dies, with her most popular video amassing more than six million views. It can be seen here.

In it she reveals everything that's left behind after a cremation, including metals from surgeries.

The on-screen caption on the viral video, shared last month, says: "Metal from remains kept from people who have passed."

"This is our crematory, this is where we cremate the bodies, and of course some people have had surgeries and such, where they have metal in their body," Autumn says in the video.

"Like for example someone who got a hip replacement, or a surgery for their spine, they'll have a metal rod. If it's made out of titanium, that won't melt in the machine.

"So after the cremation is done on a body, we'll open this hatch up, it goes up, and we basically scrape out all the remains.

"And those will be bones, and those will be ground up into ashes. And sometimes we'll find pieces of metal within the bones and remains. And of course that metal needs to be separated from the remains and we put it in a big bucket.

"So we basically have this giant bucket full of metal parts that people had."

She films the bucket of "parts," with joint and ball sockets, among other pieces, clearly visible.

"And all of these parts were once inside a body of a living person, and I think that's super crazy to think about," Autumn said.

In her next video she expanded on that, saying: "So after the actual cremation process is over, we'll scrape out everything that's left, which is usually just bones. So we'll scoop the bones into a tin, then we usually put them in the cooler and let it cool down.

"After that they sift through the bones, I think to see if there's anything left in there, then they grind it up into ashes."

Autumn, thought to be based in Georgia, also explained cremations vary depending on the size of the person, but said on average they take between an hour-and-a-half and two hours.

After being asked about the work environment in another video, shared earlier in January, she claimed "cremation usually just smells like burning wood to me."

Autumn said: "I never really noticed a crazy smell, even when I would go in while the machine's running. If anything it just smells like burning wood, but that's just what I notice." She added it can also smell "dusty."

And after giving it some thought, she added she thought she would eventually like to be created.

Numerous people commented on her most viral video, as Mikayla wrote: "Death is so taboo in our society and it shouldn't be. People should know these things."

Tiffany Stephenson wrote: "There should be more education around death it happens to us all. I'm sure people would feel a lot better if they knew about how everything works."

Laura Abbott commented: "I find this fascinating!"

Snebba Bella admitted: "Why did I think that it just burned them into dust??"

And Shivani Chengan575 said: "Wow... awesome video... really wanted to know what happens with metal."

Despite being thanked for explaining the process, Autumn claimed she got let go after posting the viral clip.

"Y'all I got fired for posting this," she said, without disclosing the name of the company.

But in another video she updated followers, saying: "They fired me then immediately offered the job back but I rejected their offer and I got my job back for another company instead."

Explaining more about the process, The Cremation Association of North America said: "Cremation is the mechanical, thermal, or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments.

"Cremation also includes processing and pulverization of the bone fragments into pieces that are usually no more than one-eighth in size."

Newsweek reached out to Autumn for comment.

File photo of a coffin.
File photo of a coffin. A funeral worker has shared all about the process of cremation, including how long it usually takes. studioportosabbia/Getty Images