REDDIT: My experiences as a crime scene cleaner

To start out, you need a little back story to show how i got into this situation…

When i got out of high school around 2003, finding a job was difficult so i took whatever horrible jobs i could to get by. when i found a job cleaning fire and water damage full time, i was excited to have steady income and start saving, but this quickly turned into a nightmare that i had to endure for almost 2 years. the company i worked for put me on my first job which was a water damage claim where a basement flooded with sewage, so after a few days of work we finished and it was on to the next job.

my boss then called me into his office the next morning and told me about a special crew that he was setting up and asked if i would be the crew leader supervising 3 other guys that were just hired. i found this strange as i had only been working there a total of around 3 days, but figured my work ethic was already paying off and i would get a raise, i only made 10 a hour to start. not only did i not get the raise, but i got no training in the new position other than a work van with cleaning material, and the phone numbers for the 3 new guys that also were hired in to do fire/water damage cleanup.

The boss told me what tools were best to use and what cleaning products to use to sanitize along with where everything was located in the van, with hazmat suits and respirators, but he was vague about what kind of things i would clean up, he just said the situations were always different and i would get detailed instructions each job. he called my position CSC crew leader… the boss told me that i would never have to see the deceased as the coroner would have the remains gone by the time my crew got there, and to use my logic to determine what needed to be removed from the homes and what could be cleaned.

The first job i had in my new position which the boss told me about when i got to the office was cleaning up the remains of a elderly man or woman who died in their house and had been laying in chair. when we arrived, the coroner had me come inside to show me a few things that were considered hazardous material and needed to be removed due to the risk of disease, i guess my boss knew a few people from the county coroners office and much of the work came from their recommendations.

not only was the deceased still in the house, but was fully visible to me and the other guy and you could smell the rot through the masks as the house had no AC and this was mid June. the coroner was backed up and waiting on additional people to show up to load the body as it was falling apart, and i call the body it because i honestly couldn’t tell if it was male or female and was trying not to look too long as it was disturbing.

the other 3 guys i worked with handled it well but 2 got sick from the smell and has to go outside to puke. we all waited outside after the coroner showed us the chair, the fluids that leaked into the carpet, and the basement where the fluids went through the sub floor and puddled on some boxes in the basement. the coroners support arrived and took the deceased out and me and the crew started working. after about 5 minutes weird things started to happen, the first of which was when i began to disassemble the chair.

i had removed the back of the chair and was putting it into the special hazmat bags that i was given and the base started to rock when i was about 10 feet away putting the bag with the back of the chair by the front door. nobody else was in the same room as the other guys were in the basement dealing with moving boxes. i brushed it off and took apart the base of the chair as much as i could and when i got it into the bag i got a chill up my back and then began feeling sick, i just figured it was the shock of what i was cleaning hitting me and pushed on, even though the chill was strange as i was very hot in full hazmat in June.

next was removing the carpet and assessing the floor to see if it would be able to be cleaned or if i had to remove a section of the floor, so i called the boss to ask him and he told me just to pour the special cleaner on the area to soak into the floor boards and it would be fine, so i got it out of the truck where he said it was and brought it inside. when i got inside all 3 of the guys in the basement were scrambling to get out of the basement, tripping over each other, and all 3 ran outside. when i asked them what was up all 3 said there was someone in the cluttered basement and they assumed it was a homeless person or junky, Detroit has many issues with these kinds of things.

i listened at one of the open windows to the basement, its kind of the first thing we did when we started working, open any window possible, prop the doors open, so maybe someone got inside then or possibly before we got there and was hiding. after listening a few minutes and hearing nothing, me and another of the workers went inside, armed with a mag light and a piece of metal fence post and searched the basement. nothing was down there but the footprints of the shoe covers we used, but when we started up the stairs, we heard a horrible hacking cough from somewhere in the basement. when we looked for it, there was nothing, but the corner of the basement had a bunch of dust stirred up like someone was moving things very recently that weirded us both out.

we called the guys back in and they got back to the boxes, but all of them kept feeling like they were being touched while throwing away material from the boxes that got fluids on them. i went back to my upstairs job but found that the cleaner i put next to the floor boards was gone, and i started getting frustrated as it was the only jug i had of this cleaner and i clearly remember it being set next to the area before the guys ran up the stairs and my attention was redirected.

i began to take out trash figuring i would find it eventually or the basement guys took it for the floor, and i found it on its side, behind the bag that had the back of the chair.

this is impossible, there were like 6 other bags in front of this one near the front door, and this was a gallon bottle of cleaner, again i got a chill but this one was brought on by what sounded like a whisper that i could not make out the words to. cleaned the floor boards and moved out trash, job complete. that night each member of my crew had a dream about a older man telling us that we are not welcome in his home, touching his belongings and we need to leave.

in my dream i was alone in his house, the old man cried and told me i was destroying his things and he couldn’t replace anything. he was trying to push me out of his house, but it was like i was ignoring him, even when he would push me and scream at me, no reaction from me. he then threw my cleaner into the garbage pile i had made by the front door, exactly where i found it. 2 of the 3 guys in the crew told me their dreams about the old man pushing them as they went through boxes of ruined pictures and other old stuff that needed to be thrown out due to the risk of disease from his fluids.

they also said it was like they had no control and were on autopilot, they said they were so sad but couldn’t do anything. the thing that got me about the dreams of the other 2 guys, was they both said the man was getting so upset that he began violently coughing, and that the man kept grabbing their arms when they would touch boxes or throw things into the trash.

neither of the guys were in the house when me and the other guy heard the coughing from the basement. the guy that went into the basement with me said he had a dream but all he remembered was waking up sad like he did something wrong, and had a horrible coughing fit, which might just be a coincidence, but i connected it in my mind as relating to the other dreams.

we all talked about it and came to the conclusion that we were all just having a reaction to a situation and it was nothing more than our brains coping with what we had to do. im very into psychology so i rationalized it the best i could and we hoped for better assignments the next day.

next few jobs were not so bad, cleaning up blood at a home invasion, no casualty, but huge mess, then there was a few other bloody crime scenes with casualties but nothing notable happened. About a 2 weeks into the job we began to learn the tricks of the trade and were split into 2 different groups that i was responsible to manage as crew leader, so i would have to go to different sites if the other 2 guys had an issue or didnt know what to do. i thought i was getting used to the job as well as the other guys as we had no other experiences like the first job, but i was wrong…

the next job that there was activity was a suicide of a man that was middle aged, the coroner had already removed the body, but it was a mess. the guy had shot himself with what i think was a large caliber handgun or shotgun, as the spray was everywhere in the basement in like a second living room. there were skull fragments lodged in drywall, brain matter all over, and again he was not found for a bit so the smell was horrible.

first step in cleaning this was using our backpack vacuum cleaner to suck up all the bio material. the coroner told us when we went in that he and his partner were extremely uneasy in the house and it felt strange and we immediately started getting a claustrophobic suffocating feeling when we went into the basement as well.

to make matters worse, the family of the man had came over and were crying upstairs, but the vacuum noise helped to cancel out that. while i was cleaning, the power to the lights went out and it was completely pitch black. this was strange because my vacuum was still powered. my crew mate started screaming at this point so i turned off my vacuum and climbed off my ladder, i thought maybe he touched a wire to the lights but when my vacuum unit was turned off he was still screaming and i could hear things being knocked over.

i started fumbling around for my flashlight on my tool belt and yelled for my friend asking what was going on but all i got back was panicked screaming, then i saw in the pitch black, something darker that was moving in my direction and i will admit, i freaked out. i slipped trying to backup still looking in my belt for the flashlight and found it when my back hit the basement wall, i turned on the light aimed at the blackest shape i have ever seen and when the light turned on, i saw the shape of a man wearing a flannel shirt, beard, and an expression like he was about to attack me, then it was just gone.

my crew mate was behind where the entity was, sitting on the floor rocking with his hands on his head, when i approached, he picked up his flashlight off the ground and turned it on, then ran up the stairs and outside and threw up.

i followed behind him, asking if he was OK and why he was screaming, i thought i just imagined the entity and the man because his screaming scared me, but he told me that he was scrubbing the wall and felt something pulling on something in his tool belt and he thought it was me, but when he turned around, the lights went out and he was engulfed by what he said was like dark smoke and he immediately could not breathe and was struggling to move.

he managed to pull his flashlight out but it was knocked out of his hand like his wrist was grabbed with force and he managed to scream. when he screamed, trinkets started falling off a entertainment center that was about 3 feet to his side and the black smoke moved back, but he was close to passing out from exertion.

he also said he lost hearing and didn’t know that any noise came out when he started screaming and that the stuff falling off the shelves was landing on him and that’s why he was covering his head. he said it felt like a weight was lifted off him when the dark smoke backed up but he felt sick right away, and the light from my flashlight made the sick feeling increase.

we took an early lunch where he just sat there, pale as ever and didn’t say much other than he said he breathed in that smoke and didn’t feel right. i got him some gator aid and his color started to come back, i never told him i saw a man when i turned on my light because we still needed to finish and i didn’t want to put that in his head since he never mentioned seeing it.

when we went back, the lights in the basement were on again, half the things that fell from the shelves were back on the entertainment center, and the TV was on baseball, there was also a different smell in the room, similar to burnt hair. my worker, stayed a half hour, got sick again and went home for the day, leaving me alone to finish, which i didn’t want to do but had to as the other guys had their own job.

after cleaning up everything with my vacuum, i began scrubbing the old blood, which is hard after it congeals, mix in brain matter and it is like glue, even with cleaner. while i was finishing up i kept seeing the shape of a person always in the side of my vision, each time i would smell that strange burnt hair scent and a few times, i also felt like a force was pulling at items on my belt, not sure what item as there were several things in my belt.

when i finished the job, i went to use the bathroom upstairs, and in the hallway along the way i heard like muffled crying or moaning, i froze up and stayed still thinking maybe a family member had came back and when i panned around, there was nothing, but i saw a picture on the wall of a man with a beard wearing a flannel, several other pictures in the hallway of other scenarios of the same man, different flannels with deer or fish or family. i had not seen a picture of that man as i had not been anywhere else in the house with a bathroom, nor did i use the bathroom downstairs because pulling off the hazmat stuff is a pain.

as i was securing the house, closing all windows, locking doors and shutting down every light but the front porch light, i saw the front curtain move and again saw the darker than black form in the front window.

the last experience i will share in this thread happened mid July in a very bad area in Detroit. there had been a incident where a guy supposedly tried to abduct a child, was stopped by people in the neighborhood who beat the man very bad and he escaped to his house where the neighborhood people quickly called police and civilians surrounded the mans house to prevent escape.

the police response time in this area is horrible and the people were throwing rocks through the mans window and damaged his car. the man was hurt bad by the mob and was hurt by a rock or glass and died in the home (this is assumption by dpd) from what the police officer told me, it was a misunderstanding and the man picked up a girl that was injured riding her bike and some kids that knew her told their parents that the man was kidnapping her and people over reacted and the man was brutally beaten.

the cleanup was pretty simple to do, we secured windows, cleaned up blood and bodily fluid, but as soon as i entered the house, i just felt wave after wave of fear and sadness, like i have never felt this before and it hit in waves that made my legs weak. my working buddy who was there showed up late and didn’t get the story from the cop like i did, but experienced the same feelings i had. the whole time we were there, we saw a form darting around corners, like it was watching us, then hiding, it was similar to like a small bit of fog or mist.

we also heard very slight cries for help coming from several areas in the house and also what sounded like “please stop” and long “noooooo” a few times the crowd came back and yelled at the house also, and when this was going on the activity in the house increased and we could hear running footsteps go up the stairs, a door slam, and it sounded like the front door would open and close but we never saw any of the doors move.

the path of the footsteps sounded like from the front door,through living room, to the bathroom, to stairs to the upstairs bungalow room. the part that really got me, was i could feel the floor impacts that felt like the vibrations of someone running past me when i was cleaning the areas. and each time i would be hit by one of those waves of fear and sadness.

when we left the house there were a few people on porches hanging out like is usual during summer and the people were still hostile and yelling random things, but directed at us as we loaded the van and took off hazmat suits. we ignored this, but before we had loaded all the material from the house into the van and locked the house, the front door slammed hard enough to sound like a gunshot, which scared me and my crew member, along with the people on the front porch to the point where they went inside. the front door deadbolt was somehow locked and we could not get it open, i think it was a different key than the knob, so we ended up leaving several boards in the house that were left over from boarding a few of the windows.

the feeling of relief when i left the house was like night and day, inside i was, anxious, scared, paranoid, and just really down, which could be due to knowing the story, but when i got outside, it was like flipping a light switch, i immediately felt better and me and the other guy in my crew were joking and laughing about dumb stuff and normal 19 and 20 year old shenanigans.

i have many of these stories written down in detail in a journal i started after the first 3 months of working at this job. i talked to the guys on the crews and got other strange stories from them too. i know that some of this could very well be formed by my subconscious mind to cope with traumatic situations, but some of it has no explanation and when i hear other members of my crew tell me their stories when they haven’t been influenced by mine, that is a horse of a different color…

when i have time, i will pull out the journal and give more of my experiences, the job got way worse when i started the journal after 3 months in, several experiences with what i think was paranormal, many situations that stressed my mental state to the point where my mask of sanity started to slip. in the end i worked at this place for almost 2 years, and of my crew, all died, 2 from suicides, one from drug overdose that could have been intentional but we will never know.

i just know that when these 3 guys, my age, around 19 and 20, started this job, all were normal well adjusted guys with no cares in the world other than girls, parties, and working. i watched each one of them slowly drain their joys and passion for life, and i know this sounds bad, but each one that died was considerate enough to die in a clean way, most likely so another person wouldn’t have to see the horrible thing that we all saw so often…

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