Back to Africa Check

No, sleeping morgue employee not ‘cremated by mistake’

A meme doing the rounds on Facebook claims a morgue employee was accidentally cremated “while taking a nap”.

The image shows a brick building and a news banner that reads “Breaking News Update: Funeral Home Investigation”.

The meme’s story is not new. The earliest version seems to have appeared online in March 2017. Several “news” articles have reported the incident since then.

The name of the ill-fated employee and location of the funeral home change with each report, but the basic storyline is the same – a sleeping morgue worker accidentally cremated.



Management of funeral home investigated


But there is no evidence that the incident ever took place. And while the photo is of a real funeral home in Memphis, Tennessee, no employee there was ever “cremated by mistake”.

A reverse image search shows the picture was first posted online in April 2016. It comes from a WREG-TV investigation that the TV station was conducting at the time, after viewers expressed concerns about management at the Hickory Hill funeral home.

Nowhere in the report is the accidental cremation of an employee mentioned. And the incident has not been reported by any reputable news agencies.

In its fact-check, Politifact called the story “ridiculous” and rated it “pants on fire”. We’re inclined to agree. - Africa Check (18/03/19)

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Further Reading

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters