Top 10 Unusual Ways to Dispose of the Dead
Death and taxes may be two things in life you can be sure of, but when it comes to that last big sent off, customs can be as different as day and night. While every culture honors the memory of the departed in some way, just what those ways are tends to reflect that society’s lifestyle, beliefs, and superstitions. Burying the dead is seen as a respectful way of keeping the corpse away from animal scavengers while providing closure for the living. With that in mind, looking at the most bizarre burial customs will give us a unique look into the heart and soul of people around the world.
10. Space Burial
For those earthbound individuals whose imagination places them among the stars, there is a unique way to finally realize their dreams. Space burial is a futuristic way to meet eternity. A small portion of the cremated remains of the deceased are placed in a container and launched into space. The cost is approximately $1,000 to $45,000 depending on the type of space burial you prefer. You can have your cremated remains launched into space and returned to earth, launched into an earth orbit, launched to the moon, or launched into deep space. Among those who have opted for this type of burial are Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek and James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty in the Trek television show and movie.
9. Memorial Diamonds
Remember the slogan,” Diamonds are forever”. Well some people take it more seriously than others. Starting for around $2,700 and up you can have your deceased loved one or pet turned into synthetic diamonds. There is a growing number of funeral homes offering this service and a small number of companies performing the process. The remains of the deceased are cremated and the carbon extracted. It is then processed over a six to nine month period into a synthetic diamond, which can be worn in a ring, bracelet, pendant, or another type of jewelry. The diamonds come in yellow, blue, clear, red, and green. The jewelry is then sent back with a certificate of authenticity. For those who don’t want to turn their loved one into a diamond there is cremation jewelry that is basically a hollow piece of jewelry filled with the ashes of the deceased. As in ancient societies, this is a way to honor the memory of the dead… just don’t drop Uncle John down the kitchen sink!
This ecologically friendly way to dispose of human remains bring a new meaning to the concept of “going green”. Whether you are a hardcore environmentalist, a determined recycler, or just someone who likes the idea of leaving the planet a little greener, this may appeal to you. In resomation, the process of natural decomposition is added and sped up by placing the body in a silk bag and then submerging it in a water and alkali solution that is heated and kept under pressure. The process takes about three hours to complete. The results are a fine white ash and a greenish brown liquid. The liquid is composed of amino acids and peptides. That’s right, the very basic building blocks of life. This liquid is then returned to the biosphere by pouring it in a forest or garden. If you choose garden, I strongly suggest making it a flower garden; the idea of pouring grandma on the tomatoes is just plain creepy. The ash is returned to the family just as in cremation. The process is said to be healthier for the planet than cremation because it releases few greenhouse gases.
Ever wish you had a green thumb? Do your plants die no matter what you do for them? Well there is an eternal solution waiting for you. It’s called promession, as in promise. It is a promise from you to the earth to help the ecology of the planet when you die. This process dips the body into liquid nitrogen and freezes it solid. Ultrasound vibrations are then used to reduce it to powder in a matter of seconds. The remains are placed in a container made of cornstarch and buried in a shallow grave. Everything is biodegradable and ready to nourish your favorite bush or tree, which is planted on the grave. You could be a flowering tree or rosebush in no time.
6. Sky Burial
For those who want to get totally back to nature, Tibetan Sky burial may be just what you’re looking for. In Tibetan culture, vultures are called Dakinis which means”sky dancers” and are seen as a type of angel. They take the soul of the deceased into heaven where it waits to be reincarnated. In order for this to happen, the body is first taken to a mountaintop, usually near a monastery and fed to the vultures. This is all done with precise ritual and chants. The body is dismembered, the bones broken, and the flesh cut into pieces just right for the” sky dancers” to eat. The Tibetans believe the vultures should consume every bit and that will aid the soul in its flight to heaven.