Welcome to Death in the Afternoon, a podcast about all things mortal, from The Order of the Good Death.

Season One is available on iTunes, Spotify, GooglePlay, and other podcast platforms. Transcripts are available for all Season One episodes. You can find them at the bottom of the page linked in each episode title.

What can I expect from Death in the Afternoon?

Our mission is to educate our audience about death in a unique, relatable, and entertaining way; to further open up conversations about death in a death phobic culture. And sometimes (ok, all the time) let things get delightfully bizarre.

From our podcast you can expect:

  • The surprisingly heartwarming tale of a woman who just couldn’t say goodbye to her dead family.
  • Baffling, chilling, and bizarre stories of when people die in a cult.
  • When embalming goes right, wrong, and WTF.

Plus many more stories plucked from current events, our favorite historical incidents, and death folklore. You can listen to our Season One trailer here. 

Death in the Afternoon is a podcast written, researched, and developed by Caitlin Doughty, Sarah Chavez, and Louise Hung of The Order of the Good Death. 

Caitlin Doughty is a mortician and funeral home owner in Los Angeles, CA. Along with Sarah and Louise she runs The Order of the Good Death and the Good Death Foundation, orgs that spread the death positive gospel around the world through video series like Ask a Mortician, blogs, bestselling books, and now, a gosh darn podcast!

Sarah Chavez is the executive director of The Order of the Good Death. As the child of parents in the entertainment industry, she was raised witnessing choreographed Hollywood deaths on soundstages. Her work has been influenced by her unique life and weaves together the relationship between death and food, feminism, Mexican-American death rituals, and the strange and wondrous history surrounding the culture of death itself.

Louise Hung is a writer, researcher, and community manager for The Order of the Good Death. While she can usually be found hunched over her computer working on video scripts for Ask a Mortician, Louise has also been known to tap out a few words about death in folklore, history, pop culture, and Asian or Asian American communities.

Editor and composer: Dory Bavarsky

Engineering: Paul Tavaner

Season One Episodes:

My Roommate, a Corpse!

In our first episode we take you on a magical (ok, not always so magical) journey of living with the dead. From an adorable 91 year old lady with a dark secret, to a rhinestone studded cult with resurrection ambitions, to a Japanese mummy collecting government assistance. Buckle up, and welcome to Death in the Afternoon! (CW: Sexual violence, child sex trafficking, child abuse).

Crematory Whoopsies

Mistakes happen. Cremations happen. But few things capture our morbid imagination like cremation mistakes happening. Whether it’s the horror of cremating your coworker, a misplaced corpse on the way to America’s first modern cremation, or plumes of “human remains particulate” interrupting your Best Buy shopping experience, nothing fans the flames of our phobias like a cremation blunder. This week we talk about things that can go right, wrong, and sideways when you’re in the business of cremating corpses. 

Is That a…Foot? 

Generally speaking, we like our limbs in context. “The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone.” But what about when we encounter limbs that aren’t connected to anybody? Just out there, free and unattached? This week we talk about rogue and extra limbs that have been found by the sea, in the smoker, and in the grave as we answer the question: is that a…foot?

Don’t Drink the KoolAid! 

Unfortunately, being in a cult doesn’t always end well. Beyond promises of salvation and immortality, one thing many cults have in common are dead bodies. This week, as we discuss the disturbing world of cults, we confront the questions: Why shouldn’t we drink the Kool-Aid? How many puppies does it take to resurrect a teen queen? And, what shouldn’t you bring into a doomsday cave? (Spoiler: corpses) (CW: Death by suicide, murder, child death, abuse, at the top of the episode audio from the Jonestown Massacre)

It’s OK to Not Decay

Ah, to die, to decompose, to become one with the earth. Most of us accept this as our fate. But what happens when that whole “decomposition thing” doesn’t go as planned? This week we discuss incorrupt corpses that inspire devotion, grant miracles, and just might help you to become a karate champion. (CW: Child death)

Embalmed Alive

Embalming. It sounds like the stuff of horror movies: pump a dead body full of chemicals to make it look alive – ALIVE! Whose idea was this? Is there really such a thing as “extreme embalming”? And what about when embalming (allegedly) goes horribly, horribly wrong? We discuss these and other questions on this week’s episode of Death in the Afternoon.

Or Maybe, it’s a Ghost?

A wisp of white. A voice in the dark. A toilet mysteriously flushes by itself. Few things capture our imagination like a good ghost story. But is there more to a spooky tale than thrills and chills? What do our ghosts say about our cultural values? Are we more afraid of who haunts us, or what we’ve done to deserve that haunting? We discuss these questions this week on a very SPIRITED Death in the Afternoon. (CW: Slavery, racial violence, police violence, violence against women). 

Ring Ring, Corpse Phone 

Ring ring. Hello? Who’s there? IT’S YOUR MORTALITY CALLING. In life, phones make everything easier– just “reach out and touch someone.” But in death, reaching out can be a little more complicated. This week we talk about accessing a dead man’s cell phone, texting from beyond the grave, and the grim origins of a certain red handset.

Bonus Mini-episode: The Haunting of Hill House- Mortuary Madness!

A bonus episode on the mortuary and embalming scenes in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. Are they accurate? A hot mess? Is my job really filled with ghosts? All that and more in today’s mini-episode with Caitlin.

Season Two Episodes:

Fantastic Funerary Failures

Cremation and burial are all well and good, but why aren’t our dead bodies electroplated or cemented? In our first episode of Death in the Afternoon– Season Two, we’re talking about the ridiculous funerary innovations that succeeded (see: the death-defying green parks of Hollywood) and the ridiculous funerary innovations that… didn’t (see: coffin torpedoes.) Welcome back, deathlings.

The Least Worst Death 

Two Manhattan tragedies, two miles and ninety years apart, that changed government policy forever.  But the victims couldn’t afford to step back and take this long historical view. They were caught in a horrific struggle between two paths, both leading to unimaginable death. (CW: Discussion of suicide, 9/11)

Dude, Where’s My Monument?
We know who gets fancy monuments: politicians, military heroes, and so many men on horses. In cemeteries the playing field may be leveling, with faces and names showing up that have never been represented in public sculpture before. But in other areas, monuments are business as usual, the dead forgotten, the Lizard People left unhonored. (That’s right… the Lizard People.) Note: Special thanks to Allison Meier our guest writer for this episode!

Maggots Holding High Carnival

The American Civil War left roughly 700,000 men dead and an entire nation devastated. With millions of pounds of rotting human flesh on the battlefields, burying the dead was a daunting, sometimes insurmountable task for the survivors. Bad when it was burying your fallen brethren, worse when it was burying the bodies of your enemy, unimaginable when it was burying the men who fought to keep you enslaved.

Get Your Sh*it Together 

Wills, advanced directives, emergency savings accounts – what’s not to love?  Ok, we get it, facing your mortality through piles of bureaucracy is about the least inspiring task on your to-do list. But paradoxically, these are the exact tasks that once you tackle them head on, put you on a one way train to chill town. In today’s episode, Caitlin, with help from her friend Chanel Reynolds, takes us on a journey to clean up her own end of life messes.

What’s in Your Head, Zombie? 

Before zombies became the brain-eating pop culture phenomenon of the Walking (or Living) Dead, they represented something more complicated. From the procession of the Chinese dead, to hungry ghosts, to the enslaved people of Haiti, zombies say a great deal about a the country or culture where they appear. Perhaps our modern obsession with zombie films and video games also says a great deal about us? Louise and Sarah explain.