In this special edition from Top10Archive, we are teaming up with our friends over at TopTen – Top 10 Lists and are going to highlight some of the most bizarre forms of burial and remembrance that are growing in popularity. From being reborn into a tree, to turning into energy to give back to the power grid, we can assure you, this is one installment of Top10Archive you’re never going to forget.
Frozen in Time
Cryogenics is the study of how materials act when they are exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Cryonics on the other-hand is the process so often shown in science fiction films in which humans are frozen only to come back to life at a later time when they have been thawed. Cryonics Institute is one of the better known companies that specialize in keeping bodies preserved in a cold storage ‘tank’ after death. For a fee in the ballpark of $30,000, often times more, they will attempt to immediately put you into a cryonic state at the moment the heart stops beating. At this point, you are considered legally dead, but the brain still has some function. Cryonics Institute then follows a specific process which involves replacing water from the cells with chemicals to slow molecules down and put the person in a state of ‘suspended animation’ as one source adds. It is there hope that the individual may one day be resurrected because of medical advances with the evolution of technology.
Getting Under Your Skin
When a family member dies, it’s common to keep a token to remember them by. Something like this may be along the lines of their favorite watch, or a tie they always wore, but having that persons ashes tattooed into your skin reaches a whole other level. Although this practice has been around for some time, it is only now gaining notoriety. Tattoo artists willing to do the procedure mix a small amount of the ashes in with typical ink and use it to make a number of designs, some of which are portraits of the deceased or special things to remember them by. It is best to have the ashes sterilized, and one source even suggests pouring them in a blender with a little vodka and blending for an hour. Some health officials worry about the implications of injecting such things into the skin. Although reports are rare, one customer claimed the tattoo was much itchier than others he had. Like we said before, there truly is something for everyone, and as a source pointed out, this is just a new way for people to ‘get under your skin.’
It can be invaluable to the scientific community and crime scene investigators when they get a chance to study cadavers which have been donated to the cause by that individual. One of the main areas for such research involves studying decomposition rates and patterns. Such data collected can help medical examiners and coroners determine the time and matter of someone’s death. At Forensic Anthropology Centers, better known as body centers, researchers test a number of different conditions on the cadaver and see how the rate of decomposition is affected. This all is carefully studied and the information extracted can be used to help put together criminal cases.
Infinity Burial Project
Most common practices used today to deal with the deceased can be harmful to the environment. Burying the dead inside coffins can poison surrounding sediment and overall damage plant life in the area because of the hazardous materials some are built with. On the other hand, cremation releases toxins into the air and as you should already know, uses a good deal of valuable energy. Because of this evident problem, researcher Jae Rhim Lee created something known as the Infinity Burial Project. This is better known as the mushroom death suit, a contraption that uses organic cotton and non-toxic liquid with mushroom spores interwoven to speed up the decomposition process of the human body. This suit makes for a perfect habitat to grow fungi and effectively remove pollutants while the carcass is in the state of decomposition.
A Ship Set Sail
Now that you’ve heard about the ‘record urn,’ there must be no doubt in your mind that there truly is something for everyone. The online site, “Scattering Ashes” is no different. Because simply releasing cremains into the ocean or off of a famous location may seem impersonal to some, this company saw the need to create keepsakes for loved ones to keep. They specialize in making all sorts of urns such as miniature Viking ships, which can be used to give the individual a traditional funeral at sea, and also make candles and jewelry that incorporate the deceased ashes. Maybe the most unique thing in their inventory is the garden ornaments section. These items allow for the cremains to be kept out doors while being protected by sculpted stones and other structures. This is a way to provide peace of mind to families; it gives them a chance to visit their beloved in a beautiful environment, while at the same time it’s not too flashy.
A Tune We Can All Enjoy
“And Vinyly” is a UK based company that takes it upon themselves to compress your ashes into an old-school style vinyl record. They give you the option to record a special message for your loved ones or even your last will and testament. And Vinyly advertises how comforting it must be for your friends and family to hear the pops and crackles that are produced as a result of your cremains. For around $4,000 in total, all of this can be done and an average of thirty records can be printed, resulting in only 24 or so minutes playing time.
Spirit in the Sky
A number of services allow family members ashes to be transformed into ammunition that can actually be fired. The deceased can be shot out of nearly every firearm imaginable, even shotguns. One such specialist company is ‘Holy Smoke.’ They offer 250 shell casings for every pound or .45 kilograms of cremains for somewhere around $1,250. Another similar way some choose to be remembered is in the form of being set off in fireworks. Hunter S. Thompson, an American author and journalist best known for “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, chose this method of remembrance, orchestrated by close friend Johnny Depp, who portrayed him in the Hollywood film. The private funeral boasted some 280 attendees, which included actors Bill Murray, Sean Penn, Benicio del Toro, Jack Nicholson and John Cusack, amongst many others.
Some crematoriums in Sweden and Denmark are now using the intense heat exerted upon the dead bodies to produce electricity that is fed back into the power grid. Local officials in Hamsted, Sweden first proposed this idea, one source notes. This concept became increasingly popular and is now being used much more commonly in the heart of Scandinavia. Such a process has several benefits; for one, it wastes little to no energy because of the amount put back into the grid. Along with this, crematoriums no longer have to buy excess water and other cleanup supplies to clear the facility of toxic smoke. Sweden has been doing something much like this for years. They have been using the bodies of dead rabbits, which are a major problem in the country due to overpopulation, to power machinery after the remains have been turned into biofuels.
Designer Nadine Jarvis has created mementos for the family members of deceased authors and illustrators. There is no better sanctuary for these gifted people than a sturdy wooden box of pencils. That’s right, Jarvis uses the cremains of an individual to transform them into a set of 240 pencils, which is about the average number someone can produce depending on their body mass index. Only one pencil is to be withdrawn at a time, and upon becoming dull, it would be wise to sharpen it on the side of the box which stores the sharpening’s. Slowly over time, the box becomes an urn which holds the remaining ashes of your loved one.
Life after Life
If you have ever watched Stephen King’s hit show, ‘Under the Dome,’ you’d know a thing or two about being turned into a snow globe. What you may not have been aware of is that there is an actual company called “bullworks.net” who takes it upon themselves to turn your loved ones ashes into a wintery scene of sorts. Each model globe contains a photograph of the deceased along with a stand to put it on display. There are also special themes depending on the individuals former job and personality including: the fisherman, the soldier, the doctor, the lawyer, and of course, the farmer. Bullwork’s also offers several other keepsakes such as an hourglass made with your loved ones cremains, or a music box add on to the snow globe for the more talented deceased.