Tuesday, June 5, 2007

7 Bizarre Things to Do After You’re Dead

Some of us just can't let go. Even after we've assumed room temperature. If this sounds like you, call up your lawyer and have him sharpen his quill. Put one of these burial rituals into your last request, and keep the conversation interesting at the wake.
  1. Have your body stuffed like artist Jeremy Bentham. As requested in his will, his body was preserved and stored in a wooden cabinet, termed his "Auto-Icon". Originally kept by his disciple Dr. Southwood Smith, it was acquired by University College London in 1850. The Auto-Icon is kept on public display at the end of the South Cloisters in the main building of the College. The Auto-Icon has always had a wax head, as Bentham's head was badly damaged in the preservation process. The real head was displayed in the same case for many years, but became the target of repeated student pranks including being stolen on more than one occasion. It is now locked away securely. (Side note: you may have to truly befriend a taxidermist whilst you're still alive to make this first one happen. It's not really a "walk-in" sort of job.)
  2. Launch yourself into space at Space Services, Inc. You can, "touch the cosmos… Space Services makes it possible to honor the dream and memory of your departed loved one by launching a symbolic portion of cremated remains into Earth orbit, onto the lunar surface or into deep space." $495 gets you into low Earth orbit. A cool $13k can get a bit of you-flavored cool-aid mix shot into the heart of our galaxy.
  3. Make yourself into the hardest thing on the planet with Life Gem. I always wanted to be really shiny, and now, when I die, I can be. Life gem extracts pure carbon from your remains and forges a diamond. Man of steel my foot, I'd rather be the most sought after rarest most well-marketed gem on the planet.
  4. You and your body could always "go green". You might be turning that shade after a few days anyway, but now it can be good thing for the environment. Maybe you've got concerns about the effects on the environment of traditional burial or cremation. You can choose to be buried in a coffin made of cardboard or other easily-biodegradable materials. Furthermore, you could choose to have your final resting place in a park or woodland, known as an eco-cemetery, and you can have a tree planted over your grave as a contribution to the environment and a remembrance. Get more info at ForestofMemories.org
  5. You could go online. Everyone's doing it these days. You don't even have to have a pulse, just a modem. A quick visit to Online-Funeral.com (I couldn't make this up if I wanted to) and you're on your way to stiff cyberspace. Just make sure your will clearly spells out the difference between a Night Elf Hunter's garb and a Night Elf Druid's garb for your embalmer. Everyone knows druids are pussies and you wouldn't want to look silly on the big day.
  6. Have someone eat your sins , if you've got six-pence. (I would imagine, this is handy solution for those without religion, but insecure in their lack of belief.) This was common practice in the 19th century in Wales. A sin eater was hired to place a cube of salt on the dead body and then place a loaf of bread on top of that. The eater would mutter an incantation and then consume the bread with a bowl of beer or milk. It was then understood that he had taken all the deceased sins upon himself. Sin eaters were generally despised in their communities and considered Pariah: irredeemable souls. (And underpaid ones, if you ask me.) references
  7. Maybe you're not going quietly into that good night at all. Perhaps you would be best served by U.S. patent #81,437, the coffin escape hatch. ""The nature of this invention consists in placing on the lid of the coffin, and directly over the face of the body laid therein, a square tube, which extends from the coffin up through and over the surface of the grave, said tube containing a ladder and a cord, one end of said cord being placed in the hand of the person laid in the coffin, and the other end of said cord being attached to a bell on the top of the square tube, so that, should a person be interred ere life is extinct, he can, on recovery to consciousness, ascend from the grave and the coffin by the ladder; or, if not able to ascend by said ladder, ring the bell, thereby giving an alarm, and thus save himself from premature burial and death" [pic] I would imagine this was much more useful back then when medicine was a more horrifying less precise science.

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