We all want to be remembered after we die, but let's face a harsh reality here: Odds are nobody's going to be building any statues in your honor. But the good news is that, if you memorialize yourself in one of the following ways, people will have no choice but to remember you! Because who could possibly forget someone that batshit insane?
For a fee, you can ...
Quick! What's the one shortcoming of traditional cremation urns? If you said that it's sort of creepy to have the incinerated remains of your loved one awkwardly displayed on the mantle, with just a single bout of rom-com-caliber antics separating them from their eventual meeting with the bagless undertaker, we're right there with you. If, however, you answered, "Not enough dead eyes and judging stares," then you may be a potential customer for Cremation Solutions, a Vermont-based company spearheading the movement to make displaying your dead relatives even more terrifyingly awkward than it already is.
"I want it turned toward us while we're having sex. Hey, where are you going?"
Cremation Solutions has created a "new and exciting way to memorialize your loved one" by molding a year-round haunted house prop in his or her image. For just $2,600, Cremation Solutions will use their state-of-the-art 3-D imaging technique and photos of the deceased to create an incredibly detailed Personal Urn that is an unbelievably realistic representation of said dead person's domepiece.
The urn promises to hold all of the ashes of a full-sized adult, but if you're shopping for a relative whom you didn't love quite that much, for $600 they also offer a keepsake-sized urn that will hold "just a portion" of the ashes. Sadly, their website is currently lacking pricing for displaying the head on a wall plaque, hunting-lodge-style.
For prospective mantlepiece monsters with short hair, the company will add digital texture to complete the piece. However, if the subject had a totally bitchin' do, Cremation Solutions will gladly add a wig designed to your exact specifications (which, as you'd expect, looks completely normal and not out of place at all):
You'll have to decorate the entire rest of your home in rainbows and gumdrops to balance out this thing's qi.
If you're looking to go a completely different route, Cremation Solutions makes it clear that Personal Urns can be made to look like anyone. They advertise urns in the image of "your favorite celebrity, hero, or even President Obama!" We can only imagine two possible scenarios for which they would offer this option, both of them equally disturbing. The first is that someone is planning to display a loved one inside the head of a completely different (albeit famous ... hopefully) person for all eternity. The second is that the customer is plotting the brutal murder of a high-profile member of society and is saving the replica head to fill with his or her incinerated remains.
Either way, if you own (or are seriously considering purchasing) one of these, please get help and maintain a minimum 100-yard distance from us at all times.
Think of the countless hours you've spent on the Internet, keeping in touch with friends and family, building up your MMORPG stats or establishing yourself as a world-class furry porn artist. Well, good news! Now you don't have to let all that hard work go to waste just because you're six feet under -- you can use the power of technology to digitally haunt your loved ones long after you've turned into worm food.
"A constant reminder of my unfathomable loss, just what I need!"
With websites like Virtual Eternity and Lifenaut, you can create an avatar that looks like you, talks like you and knows your life history. Family, friends and even complete strangers can ask you questions, get your opinions on big decisions and be forced to listen to your stories about your awe-inspiring MMORPG antics for the thousandth time. Virtual Eternity calls it an "Intellitar," while Lifenaut refers to it as a "mind file," because how future is that shit?! Real words aren't good enough for something this high-tech.
If it sounds too good to be true, well, that's because it is. In theory, between your training and what it learns from conversations, your techno-ghost will become a near perfect stand-in for you. In practice ...
The eyes and mouth are digitally operated, so half of the people look like stroke victims.
Mere pictures can't capture the true horror of seeing them in action. Their empty eyes and gaping maws are mockeries of the humans they were meant to emulate. Their voices are colder than the grave you're feebly trying to escape. And their conversational skills are terrible -- though they do at least grasp the concept of the single most important component of any conversation:
The "your mom" joke.
Maybe one day the technology will catch up with the concept, but for now, the only thing these sites are good for is making your great-grandkids think you were a brain-damaged cyberdemon.
If you're still sold on the idea of achieving a bit of immortality via the Internet but aren't thrilled about having to look like that kid from Deliverance, consider using Dead Social, a service that sends out time-delayed messages over Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Send birthday wishes from beyond, insult your friends without fear of retaliation or, most likely, annoy the shit out of everyone with requests to play Words With Friends for all eternity.
"If only my family had some sort of malformed, macabre reminder of my life."
The ancient process of mummification is arguably the closest that anyone has ever come to truly immortalizing themselves. Hell, King Tut died over 3,300 years ago, and every day people travel thousands of miles and traipse through the desert to view his magnificent, gilded, fully torqued cock-beard. But for thousands of years, it seemed as though this ancient art form had become extinct.
Luckily for anyone who's ever dreamed of becoming a classic horror movie monster, former taxicab driver Alan Billis just wouldn't let the dream die. After responding to an advertisement in the paper, Billis gave the finger to future archaeologists everywhere and became the first person in thousands of years to be mummified like an Egyptian pharaoh. Little did the world know that this would stir up a real-life Return of the Mummy scenario.
Via Blink Films
"Just checking to make sure you're still here. I'm gonna go have sex and do drugs in a woodland cabin. Later!"
Enter Summum, a Utah-based company skilled in the art of modern mummification. Summum sees itself as the Rolls Royce of the funeral industry, and they assure us that becoming a mummy is the only form of permanent preservation available.
"Let's play a game of 'Guess Which Was Still Alive When We Put Them in There.' I promise you'll win."
There are two main processes involved in modern mummification. The first involves the creation of the Mummiform -- the highly recognizable and traditional Egyptian-style coffin. The Mummiform is first sculpted in clay and then cast in 1/4-inch bronze or stainless steel. The surface may be polished smooth, inscribed with text, or even inlaid with gold, ceramics, or jewels that some future adventurer can steal.
To complete the Mummiform, a "life mask" is created by performing what appears to be some sort of plaster waterboarding ritual that eventually produces a bronze mask that bears your resemblance.
Wait, that's not how you do cocaine.
See, kids, this is what happens when you don't know your dealer.
The second process involves the actual mummification. The organs are removed and the body is steeped in a special marinade for an extended period of time. Then they stuff the organs back into the body, which is subsequently cleansed and covered with anointing oil. Finally, several layers of gauze and silk are wrapped around the body, and you're ready to haunt the Scooby-Doo universe for all eternity.
Mummification begins at $67,000 and includes the Mummiform, the mummification and the mausoleum space. Oddly enough, even with that kind of cash flow, their website still looks like it was designed around the same time as the Great Pyramid of Giza.
We're actually pretty surprised that none of those things are animated.
Summum is also in the business of creating mummies from your beloved pets, and for some ungodly reason has decided to create an entire website directed at children (complete with a mummified teddy bear mascot, comic strip, poems and games). In addition to teaching kids the gory details of how little Spot can be turned into that monster from the nightmare they had last night, this site is where this whole thing crosses the line from just plain creepy into HOLY SHIT GET US OUT OF HERE territory:
The Mausoleum Sanctuary is a very sacred place. This is where the Mummiform goes after you have been mummified. It is a place where Forever lives. Forever watches over and takes care of you.
Even the cat is smart enough to be horrified.