Embalming a body involves replacing the blood with chemical solutions to preserve it and slow decomposition.
Some embalmers say that starting in 2021, they suddenly began seeing an "anomaly" during that process—a phenomenon of long, rubbery, white masses inside the blood vessels.
Others say they have seen nothing new.
The Epoch Times contacted embalmers and funeral directors from around the world to understand the disparity.
An Oklahoma mortician responded, saying, "Yes, the embalmers at this funeral location have all encountered this phenomenon, each multiple times during embalming in the last two years." A funeral director in Pennsylvania told The Epoch Times: "We've seen this stuff—absolutely. We've seen it enough to discuss it within the company."
The mortician said his company thought the white, fibrous clots were just an anomaly.
"What do I attribute it to? I don't know. I've never seen anything like it previously," he said.
"As far as numbers, it's hard to say. When we first started noticing it in 2021, it was like, 'Oh, wow, I wonder if their cholesterol was off the charts.'
On the other hand, many of the respondents to The Epoch Times' survey said that not only had they not seen the fibrous masses in the bodies they embalmed, but they considered the reports from other embalmers and funeral directors to be "nonsense."
"It's all nonsense, COVID vaccine conspiracy-theory [expletive]," a Canadian embalmer told The Epoch Times in an email. "We embalm over 400 bodies yearly and have never seen [this]."
Several respondents from Canada, Australia, and the UK said they haven't seen any of the white, fibrous clots, with one calling it "ridiculous claptrap."
However, responses from 11 embalmers in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand tell a similar story of white fibrin masses clogging the circulatory systems of the newly deceased since 2021.
Some speculate that the obstructions have something to do with COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccines, although no research exists to substantiate such a connection.
Dr. Ryan Cole, an Idaho pathologist who said he's conducted "a lot" of autopsies in his career, said normal post-mortem blood clots are red and jelly-like.
Grassroots SurveyWhen retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Thomas Haviland began hearing about the strange phenomenon in various media, he conducted his own international email survey this year of funeral homes.
Mr. Haviland sent questionnaires via Survey Monkey to funeral homes in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Of the 179 active embalmers who responded to the survey, 119 confirmed having seen the clots.
Mr. Haviland said that he designed the survey to be as unbiased as possible. Nowhere in the survey instructions nor in the survey questions are the words "Covid" or "Covid vaccines" ever mentioned.
Mr. Haviland said he only asked the embalmers if they saw the white fibrous clots, when they saw them, where on the body, and in what percentage of the bodies they embalmed.
Despite the fact that the survey never mentions the COVID vaccines, many of the 42 U.S. embalmers and 12 Canadian embalmers who responded to an optional "Comments" box at the end of the survey either implicated the COVID vaccines as the cause of the white fibrous clots, or they defended the vaccines while denying the existence of these unusual clots.
"The main consensus of embalmers is that these white, fibrous clots first appeared in the year 2021 and continue still to date. Embalmers see these clots in a significant percentage of corpses—up to 50 percent or more in some cases," Mr. Haviland said.
The Epoch Times independently contacted the 1,700 embalmers and funeral directors surveyed by Mr. Haviland to corroborate the findings. Nine responded, saying they've encountered the white, fibrous masses, and five responded saying they haven't.
Embalmers ResponsesCanadian embalmer Laura Jeffrey thought it bizarre to be pulling long, rubbery, white masses from the veins and arteries of the deceased at the beginning of 2021.
"I knew from the get-go something was wrong," Mrs. Jeffrey said.
In one case, she found a white, stringy mass literally "hanging out" of a deceased woman's artery—"like eight inches long—all branched," she told The Epoch Times.
"You could see the pathologist's cut in it. So you can't tell me it wasn't there when they did the autopsy. I had to pull it out as the embalmer."
Mrs. Jeffrey said her job became increasingly tricky trying to work around the obstructions. She decided to consult with her colleagues, but came up against an inexplicable "code of silence."
More than 8,000 miles away from Mrs. Jeffrey's home in Ontario, a New Zealand embalmer confirmed similar findings.
"For obvious reasons, I am most reluctant for my colleagues to know I am responding," the embalmer said, on condition of anonymity, in an email to The Epoch Times.
"My workplace feels this is a conspiracy theory and is unwilling to engage in conversation. To say I was shut down when I tried to bring it up is an understatement."
A funeral director in Colorado told The Epoch Times: "We are finding these white, fibrous blood clots in decedents of all ages.
"For example, one case was autopsied in their late 20s. The death was not related to clots (no family history), and this person was healthy and took care of themselves. I found two large white clumps in their lower arteries. These should not have been there, especially with the manner of death."
The funeral director said before the embalming process, they've begun asking if the person had been vaccinated and boosted.
"Depending on the case, we are not finding these clots in non-vaccinated decedents, just normal blood clots and good drainage," the director said.
"For the vaccinated ones, we are finding larger clots that are changing the consistency of the blood itself. We have never seen so much stringy blood before that really disrupts the drainage."
The embalmer at New Zealand funeral home who was among the survey recipients and who reached out to The Epoch Times described how six months into his training, he saw his first "fibrin clot."
The supervisor he had at the time said she "didn't know what it was."
"She has been an embalmer for about 20 years. I then asked my manager, who is also an embalmer, and he said he had seen them prior to COVID, and there was no link," the embalmer said. Since the first discovery, he says he still sees the strange white masses "fairly regularly—in various sizes, with and without the fatty clots, and normal red blood clots."
"I am not privy to the vaccination status of the deceased or their recent health issues beyond [the] cause of death, so I cannot say if there is a link between a recent COVID infection or vaccination," the embalmer said.
He said he tried to discuss his findings with other colleagues—not to "stir up trouble," but to learn what they were looking at.
However, "just like with any other unusual presentation on my table ... there is a definable 'don't ask, don't tell' feeling around the topic," he said.
A funeral director at a high-volume mortuary in Texas said she has seen the clots in several embalming cases but needs to know more about them before commenting further.
A New York City-based mortician told The Epoch Times, "We have seen several cases of fibrous clots."
In Utah, a funeral home director confirmed seeing the clots "in our middle-age cases."
Another Utah embalmer who's been in the business for more than 30 years told The Epoch Times, "If embalmers are seeing an increase in this, they need to figure out why."
The embalmer said he believes further study is necessary, especially because of the odd nature of the anecdotal evidence.
"It is sporadic. That’s why it’s odd," he said. "You can be in one area and find it more common. Other embalmers aren’t seeing it at all—they don’t want to talk about it and consider it a conspiracy."
An Oklahoma mortician told The Epoch Times, "Yes, the embalmers at this funeral location have all encountered this phenomenon, each multiple times during embalming in the last two years."
A Kentucky funeral home director said he's been in the profession for 37 years and has started to see "abnormal clots."
But an Ohio embalmer said: "This is absolutely false. There are no white, fibrous blood clots. We embalm over 1,800 cases per year."
Of the three funeral parlors from Australia that responded to The Epoch Times, two said they hadn't seen an increase in clots or the "white, fibrous blood clots."
The third said, "Please refrain from continually sending this ridiculous claptrap to busy funeral directors."
A Canadian respondent said, "I have not seen any [fibrin clots]."
A funeral director in the UK said he intends to report The Epoch Times' email as spam and won't respond to the questions, as the "only aim is to push rubbish propaganda."
Official OrganizationsThe Epoch Times contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for comment on the fibrous clots.
"We don't have any information to share about embalming or contact with funeral directors," the CDC said in an email. It referred the reporter to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).
An FDA spokeswoman responded that "cadavers being prepared/cared for under funeral proceedings ... falls outside of the FDA's regulatory purview."
"The FDA regulates human cell, tissue, and cellular and tissue-based product ... intended for implantation, infusion, or transfer into a human recipient," she wrote in an email.
The National Institutes of Health, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, didn't respond to an email from The Epoch Times asking whether it had received reports of the fibrinogenic clots from embalmers and funeral directors.
NFDA spokeswoman Jessica Koth said she wasn’t familiar with the survey that was conducted by Mr. Haviland and that the association hadn't received any calls about such clots.
"Funeral directors and embalmers are in no way qualified to draw any conclusions about COVID vaccines and blood clots and whether they are linked to an individual's cause of death," Ms. Koth told The Epoch Times in an email.
"Funeral directors do not have access to an individual's medical or vaccine history and are not trained to draw conclusions about an individual's cause of death—that responsibility falls to medical examiners, coroners, and physicians."
Ms. Koth added that funeral directors and embalmers routinely encounter clots when embalming an individual who has died "regardless of the cause of death—and any number of factors can cause clots."
A long-term effect of COVID-19 is the formation of clots, which occurs in vaccinated and unvaccinated people, according to the blog post from Sept. 21, 2022.
"In addition to COVID-19, the Mayo Clinic lists the following common causes of clotting that include arteriosclerosis, smoking, obesity, heart attack, heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, and a family history of blood clots, in addition to more rare conditions," Mr. Schmidt wrote.
"Postmortem clots can form quickly as long as the blood is still in a liquid state, causing the plasma to separate from the formed elements. These are common sights to embalmers of all levels of training."
The author further states that there’s no database to reference trends in postmortem clots, "so we have no idea what the scale and frequency of certain types of clots are."
In a follow-up email, Ms. Koth said that if embalmers have concerns about their findings, "it would be most prudent to report them to local health officials" for systematic tracking.
"As an association, we do not necessarily have the expertise to track and study such reports," she wrote.
The Epoch Times contacted several pathologists and a pediatric cardiologist to comment on the fibrin structures, although none responded.
Hematology is the study of blood and blood-related diseases.