Tag Archives | Cremation

Company Offers Outer Space Burials

Want to spend eternity orbiting the stars? For $1,990, the San Francisco-based startup Elysium Space will include the cremated remains of you or a loved one on a capsule being shot into space several months from now:

Elysium Space offers awe-inspiring memorial spaceflights to have a symbolic portion of a departed’s ashes launched into space. Elysium Space is a unique team of space and funeral experts, combining experience from major NASA space missions and deep-rooted funeral profession knowledge. Launches take place in the United States at the Cape Canaveral launch facility in Florida.

You receive a kit containing a custom ash capsule to collect a cremated remains sample. After you ship it back to us, we place your capsule in the Elysium spacecraft that will be launched into space. Our specially designed memorial spacecraft respectfully and peacefully orbits the Earth for several months. Our next launch is scheduled for summer 2014.

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How The Occult Brought Cremation To America

cremationVia the Huffington Post, Mitch Horowitz reveals how the practice of cremating the dead came to the United States – partially as an anti-vampire measure – and kindled anti-pagan riots and panic in New York City:

Cremation was introduced to America in the 1870s by a retired Civil War colonel, Henry Steel Olcott, with a deep interest in the esoteric and paranormal. Since leaving the military, he had become an investigator of ghostly phenomena and a globetrotting advocate for the rights of Hindus and Buddhists.

While cremation possessed ancient roots, it was little known among Americans. Indeed, to most late nineteenth-century Westerners, the concept of cremation seemed otherworldly and even un-Christian.

But Olcott saw cremation (mostly) as a social reform: more sanitary than burial, a deterrent to disease, and a help in freeing up land and labor from inefficient burials. And then there was the deterrence of vampirism, which Olcott took seriously: “…there are no vampires save countries where the dead are buried.”

To promote the practice, Olcott organized the nation’s first public cremation service — or “pagan funeral,” as the press called it — at New York’s Masonic Hall on the westside of Manhattan.

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Hastings Family Member Says ‘Unauthorized Cremation’ Story Untrue

MichaelHastingsWhoWhatWhy’s Russ Baker has done some sleuthing into the story that the body of the late Michael Hastings was cremated without the permission of his family. His conclusion is that this isn’t true.

WhoWhatWhy:

A recent count showed 475,000 results for “Hastings cremated” and 357,000 for “Hastings cremation.” The top results all reported that the family did not want the cremation. The clear implication was that this was proof of a cover-up – that “the authorities” had rushed to dispose of the body in a way that would make further inquiries, such as an autopsy, impossible.

But a family member told WhoWhatWhy, “It was our wish to have Michael’s remains cremated.” In fact, this family member said the cremation came about at the family’s specific request—and only after an autopsy and toxicology tests, whose results are pending.

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Relatives Of Michael Hastings Hire Private Investigator After His Remains Were Cremated Without Permission

Further fuel for conspiracy theories? San Diego 6 News reports that the body of journalist Michael Hastings, who died last month in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles, was cremated against his family’s wishes, destroying any evidence (of sobriety, of drug or alcohol use, or otherwise) in his body at the time of death, as the circumstances of the accident that killed him remain unclear:

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Turn Deceased Loved Ones’ Ashes Into Bullets

The smokeAlabama-based company Holy Smoke will do just this, loading cremated remains into live shotgun rounds — allowing for numerous possibilities of sweetly perfect, Tarantino-esque posthumous vengeance:

My friend smiled and said “You know I’ve thought about this for some time and I want to be cremated. Then I want my ashes put into some turkey load shotgun shells and have someone that knows how to turkey hunt use the shotgun shells with my ashes to shoot a turkey. That way I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second.”

I realized that my friend was describing almost exactly how I wanted my ashes to be spread. How perfect to have my family and friends honor me by using shotgun shells with a little bit of my ash in each one. Whether my shells get shot at sporting clays or live birds or put on the shelf, even in death I could be ecologically sound and useful.

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Dead People Power: UK Crematorium to Sell Power for National Grid

CrematoriumJasper Copping reports in the Telegraph:

Durham Crematorium wants to install turbines in two of its burners, which would use the heat generated during the cremation process to provide the same amount of electricity as would power 1,500 televisions.

A third burner is to be used to provide heating for the site’s chapel and its offices. The scheme would be the first of its kind in the UK but industry experts say that it could be followed by other similar projects.

Many crematoria are currently replacing their furnaces, to meet government targets on preventing mercury emissions from escaping into the atmosphere. Up to 16 per cent of all mercury emitted in the UK comes from crematoria because of fillings in teeth. Left unchecked, that figure is predicted to rise to 25 per cent by 2020.

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Florida Funeral Home Unveils New Body ‘Liquefaction’ Unit

resomatorThere are many things to consider when taking care of funeral arrangements: did the person want to be buried, cremated, or liquidated? This ‘alkaline hydrolysis” unit is thought to be more environmentally friendly than the traditional cremation process. BBC News reports:

A Glasgow-based company has installed its first commercial “alkaline hydrolysis” unit at a Florida funeral home.

The unit by Resomation Ltd is billed as a green alternative to cremation and works by dissolving the body in heated alkaline water.

The facility has been installed at the Anderson-McQueen funeral home in St Petersburg, and will be used for the first time in the coming weeks. It is hoped other units will follow in the US, Canada and Europe.

The makers claim the process produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy, and allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal.

Mercury from amalgam vaporised in crematoria is blamed for up to 16% of UK airborne mercury emissions, and many UK crematoria are currently fitting mercury filtration systems to meet reduced emission targets.

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Turn Your Remains Into Vinyl When You Die

1152164572_78f5b5b60bA British company called And Vinyly promises to do just that for a fee of £3,000. Pets and body parts accepted. After your passing, rotate forever on your relatives’ turntables, preferably in the form of ‘Kokomo’ or something else similarly cheery:

When the album that is life finally reaches the end wouldn’t it be nice to keep that record spinning for eternity? We offer you the chance to press your ashes in a vinyl recording your loved ones will cherish for generations. Record a personal message, your last will & testament, your own soundtrack or simply press your ashes to hear your pops & crackles for the minimal approach.

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Ohio Bans Liquefication Of The Dead

1300895381990What is the simplest, cheapest, and most environmentally friendly option for dealing with a cadaver? Easy: turn it into a coffee-colored liquid which “can safely be poured down the drain.” Ohio has ordered a funeral parlor to cease liquefying corpses, however, though there is no law against it, Associated Press reports:

An Ohio funeral home that is the first in the nation to use a cremation alternative that dissolves bodies with lye and heat has effectively been blocked from using the procedure by state regulators.

Edwards Funeral Service in Columbus is the only U.S. funeral business offering the procedure called alkaline hydrolysis to the public, according to Jessica Koth, a spokeswoman for the National Funeral Directors Association. The process is touted by proponents as being better for the environment than cremation. While funeral homes in other states are moving toward the method, Edwards’ owner, Jeff Edwards, told the Columbus Dispatch that he has used the method on 19 bodies since January.

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