One day, perhaps soon, friends and family will gather to farewell a brilliant businessman but at some point a stranger will abruptly interrupt them to reveal a shocking secret.
The stranger is Bill Edgar, the self-styled Coffin Confessor, and he will tell mourners the deceased never had a career in business but instead was a lucky lotto winner.
The man kept this great good fortune a secret to avoid being hassled for money but invested the jackpot well enough to never have to work again – except at the pretense of being a businessman.
Coffin Confessor Bill Edgar’s job is to interrupt funerals and reveal secrets that the deceased could share during their lives
‘He’s a fraudster,’ Mr Edgar says chortling.
‘His family thought he was the best businessman on the planet and that he did all this stuff and was good at what he did.
‘They would go to him for advice and he’d f**king Google the answer that he’d go back to them with.
‘He did something that everybody on the planet thinks they could do, but they don’t when they win lotto, and that’s not tell anyone.’
Mr Edgar, 53, said the man was not far ‘from being taken’ and had another surprise lined up for family members attending his funeral.
‘I have six envelopes with me and in those six envelopes is an amount for each person I give it to,’ Mr Edgar told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr Edgar has some secrets ready to reveal, including a man who won the lotto but pretended his wealth came from being a successful businessman
As the ‘Coffin Confessor’ Mr Edgar is hired to tell the secrets or confess the longings people dared not divulge but didn’t want to take quite to their grave.
Mr Edgar has an especially scandalous secret up his sleeve for a future funeral.
‘One lady said that she had been having an affair for about eight years,’ he said.
‘I have to disclose that to her husband at the funeral but at the same time I am also going to disclose that she knows he was having an affair with her sister for those eight years.
‘That’s the karma.’
Mr Edgar said infidelity was the most common confession people wanted to make.
However, another all too poignant confession was to reveal the true ‘forbidden’ loves that people harboured.
Mr Edgar’s new book tells the story of his life and how he came up with his unique job description
In his new book, The Coffin Confessor, Mr Edgar describes ‘crashing’ a funeral of a feared bikie to publicly declare the hard man was bisexual.
He also told the stunned crowd the male love of the dead man’s life was in the crowd of assembled gang members.
Mr Edgar obviously had concerns for his safety, but walked away unscathed with the bikies still reeling in shock.
He has also revealed during the funeral of a married wife and mother who was a leading member of a conservative Christian community that the deceased’s lifelong love was another woman.
‘How bad is it?’ Mr Edgar says of these cases.
‘How bad is it that people still can’t live the way they want to live and we are in 2022. It’s just f**king terrible that we have to hide those secrets.’
When reading out something that is likely to get an unwelcome reception Mr Edgar advised ‘you’ve got to get the crowd on your side as quick as you can’.
Mr Edgar has been tasked with telling a husband his wife had an affair but also that she knew he was sleeping with her sister
‘I just say “this your loved one in the coffin”,’ he said.
‘They’ve left something unsaid. I am here to say it.
‘If you want to hear what it is sit down, shut up and listen, otherwise bugger off because I have got to say it anyway.
‘Half the crowd – or more than half the crowd are going “holy sh*t, we want to know what he said, what’s in the letter?”.
‘So they all tell other people to sit down and shut up.’
Mr Edgar explained how he gets hired to crash a client’s own funeral.
After being contacted he will talk to a prospective client on the phone or by video conferencing but prefers if it is face-to-face.
‘I will fly all over Australia and New Zealand if I need to in order to meet with people,’ Mr Edgar said.
‘I will record our conversation and I will give them a contract and the contract is binding between us.
‘You write out exactly what the person wants said at their funeral. Then they sign that letter, which is left on the top of their coffin when I leave the funeral.
‘It’s the ultimate mike drop. Whether the funeral continues I don’t know, I have no idea. I just leave.’
Mr Edgar charges clients between $2000 and $10,000 for his coffin confessing services
Mr Edgar said he charges between $2,000 and $10,000 a client.
‘They don’t need the money where they are going and I never get a complaint,’ he said.
‘And obviously it can be very funny or heartbreaking as well because when you crash a funeral you are sitting among family members, mourners and I know I am going to stand up and tell certain people to sit down, shut up or f**k off.
‘That’s what my client wants and that’s what they get.’
Mr Edgar tells his clients that if they committed a crime they want to confess they should send it to him in an envelope to read at their funeral
Mr Edgar said he wouldn’t liken his role to a priest taking a confession, or a professional sworn to secrecy such as a doctor or lawyer.
‘I liken myself to a confidante,’ he said.
‘I have the luxury and privilege of holding those secrets.
‘It’s quite a humbling experience to sit with somebody and I get to know all their secrets, their desires, their fantasies, everything in such a short time and it’s quite beautiful in a way.’
There is one type of confession that Mr Edgar only finds out himself on the day of a funeral.
Marlon Wayans is set to be the leading man in a Hollywood adaptation inspired by Mr Edgar’s work
‘I say to people if they tell me they have committed a crime, a serious crime, I have to report it,’ he said.
‘So, what we do is they write it down, they put it a self-posted envelope and they mail it to me and I don’t open it until the funeral. I have one of those.
‘It could be a hoax, it could be a full-on tragedy for the person or it could solve a crime.
‘Sometimes I wonder should I open it but that’s not what the Coffin Confessor is about, I’m going to do what I get paid to do.’
Mr Edgar said, perhaps suprisingly, that the people who objected the most to what he does are undertakers and funeral directors.
‘They think it is disrespectful to stand up on behalf of the deceased. They think that that funerals are for the living, not the dead,’ Mr Edgar said.
‘They can all f**k off, I don’t care.
‘I have job to do and I do it. If we think funerals are only for the living then we are disrespecting the dead aren’t we?’
The item that he had heard many deathbed pleas from people for ‘God to forgive them’
As an experienced private investigator Mr Edgar will try to verify what he is told by a client.
However, he believes most people don’t want to waste their last message on being deceitful or malicious.
‘People are not going to pay $10,000 for a revenge on your death bed and if you do you are going to hell, if there’s a hell. People aren’t like that,’ Mr Edgar said.
‘People are going to do the right thing and they always do on their death bed.
‘It doesn’t matter who you are. I have been with a lot of people who have died now and the most common thing they say is “God help me. God forgive me”, even if they are not believers.
‘I don’t know if a fear of dying or a fear of leaving loved ones behind is the most traumatic, but the fear of the unknown is what we are all sort of worried about.’
There is another side to Mr Edgar’s business, where he will clean out a dying person’s possessions of anything they don’t want relatives to find or do final requests a client deceased trusts no one else with.
The surprising item that most asked to be buried with is their mobile phones, Mr Edgar says
One of the most disturbing such cases was his brother-in-law’s request that Mr Edgar push a pin all the way into his big toe to make sure he was dead.
Mr Edgar duly did this after asking a mortician to give him a moment alone with the body.
He said this side of ‘clean-up’ side of his occupation kept him busy.
‘There’s just so many of late, going into people’s homes and cleaning them out and taking the will back to the hospital bed,’ he said.
‘As for what I’m getting rid of – it could be lingerie, sex toys but also drugs, money and drug paraphernalia they don’t want anybody to find.’
Mr Edgar is also sometimes instructed to place items in coffins, and he revealed the most common request.
Mr Edgar says he has thousands of prospective clients around the world wanting to engage his services
‘Now it is mobile phones,’ he said.
‘I thought it was because they might wake up and they’ve got to contact people but its not that at all.
‘They don’t want people knowing what’s on their phones.’
Mr Edgar readily admits his unique job started ‘as a joke’.
A man said he wanted someone to reveal at his funeral that his best friend was sleazily propositioning his wife.
‘I just said “I will crash your funeral for you” and he took me up on it,’ Mr Edgar said.
‘I’m happy I did it.’
Mr Edgar duly did shame the wannabe lothario straight after the man gave the ‘heart-felt’ eulogy for his friend.
Mr Edgar said he was having a Zoom meeting with the creators of hit sitcom Schitt’s Creek (pictured)
From those humble beginnings Mr Edgar’s fame has gone global.
‘Since the media grabbed hold of it I’ve probably got 14,500 people in the UK who want to engage my services and 26,000 in the US,’ he said.
‘I get requests every night. Every morning I wake up there’s emails and requests.
‘I get a lot of letters from prison, from prisons throughout the world now, even in China.’
Mr Edgar, who lives in the Gold Coast hinterland is about to take his coffin confessing to the US.
He plans to go to Chicago in November, where producers want him to assist on a Coffin Confessor reality show.
‘I’m actually advising, which is really cool, as an executive producer on the show,’ he said.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg of media and other offers, with Hollywood calling as well.
Comedian and actor Marlon Wayans has been tapped to play Mr Edgar’s role in the upcoming Coffin Confessor movie.
Mr Edgar says he has even had a peep at the script.
‘It’s very funny, think of the Wedding Crashers, except a different tone – it’s quite remarkable,’ he said.
Mr Edgar believes the fear of the unknown is what we all share when it comes to the final curtain
The film will be ‘inspired’ by Mr Edgar’s work but won’t use his stories directly.
There’s also plans for a TV drama along similar lines.
‘I am actually doing a Zoom next week with the people who created Schitt’s Creek and CSI in England,’ Mr Edgar said.
‘There’s a lot going on. It’s full-on it’s taken over my life doing all that but in a good way too.’
Mr Edgar said despite all the attention he would keep his feet on the ground.
‘If I was in my 30s it would probably go to my head,’ he said.
‘But now I am in my 50s. I have just got four grandchildren under three. I am pretty settled.
‘My wife and I have come from living in a tent and having nothing to owning properties and cars and we are quite comfortable.
‘So whatever comes, I am just going to take it. I’m going to sit back and enjoy it.’