The 6 Coolest Things You Can Do With Your Dead Body
Once you're dead - and you will be, before you know it - do you really want to spend the rest of eternity occupying a tiny plot of perfectly good land? Why? So your loved ones can lay flowers on it and dogs can come by and relieve themselves on your headstone later?
Screw that. These days, there are all sorts of cool things you can get done with your remains, if you know where to shop. You can...
Get Loaded Into Some Bullets
When the husband of South London's Joanna Booth died, she did what we hope our loved ones do for us: she loaded his ashes into shotgun shells and killed every non-human thing in sight.
Her husband, James, was an expert on vintage shotguns before he slipped into a food poison-induced coma for 18 months, subsequently passing away at the age of 50. "It was not his dying wish," said Joanna, "but I remembered that he had read somewhere that someone had had their ashes loaded into cartridges and he thought it was very funny."
Taking the joke several thousand steps too far, she went to a shotgun cartridge maker and had a little bit of James crammed into 275 12-gauge shotgun shells. Joanna then had the bullets blessed by Rev. Alistair Donald (a local Church of Scotland minister who, in the process, proved the church is awesome).
With the newly minted, newly blessed James-filled bullets, Joanna and 20 close friends took to an estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland where they proceeded to shoot every animal they saw. By day's end, the bullets were spent and Mother Nature had finally learned not to fuck with the gun-totting tag team of James and Joanna Booth: 70 partridges, 23 pheasants, 7 ducks and a fox fell that day.
"James would've wanted me to do this."
You die at the hands of a brutal street gang. Your best friend/brother/father takes to the streets in the name of vigilante revenge. Finally he confronts the gang leader on a rooftop and says, "When you get to Hell, tell 'em Bobby sent you." Then he shoots him with a shotgun shell made from your ashes.
(Your name is Bobby).
Be a Fireworks Display
We've all had this same conversation at one point or another: If you can choose your death, what would it be? Most people would probably say quick and painless. The next most popular answer would most likely be, "In a blaze of explosive fucking glory!" And while most of us probably won't get to bite the big one action movie-style, we can now ensure that our already dead bodies will.
British company Heavens Above Fireworks and the cult sounding, California-based Angel's Flight give you the option of treating your death like a Chinese New Year by mixing your ashes with combustible powder -- giving you the spectacular send off you may or may not deserve.
There are various packages you can choose from, allowing you to tailor your display to best suit your personality. Heavens Above's "Simple Farewell" and "Gentle Farewell" packages offer a classy, solemn and subdued display of mortars launching rockets into the air and exploding gloriously, a fitting way to honor someone that lived their entire life in constant fear of being silently labeled as "Showy" and "A big-fat attention whore."
If that isn't befitting of the recently deceased, then customers can do a total 180 and go for an all out, balls to the wall, explosiapalooza with the "Grand Finale" and "Spectacular Goodbye" packages. With these you'll be able to show the world that you over-compensated in every aspect of your life as a cavalcade of star shells, aerial mines, rockets and roman candles blast your dusty ass in a five-minute cacophony that will make God himself hold his ears.
Included in the "Spectacular Goodbye" and "Grand Finale" packages are the options to include the music of your choosing and, as the Heavens Above website states, to spell out "a name or message in fireworks."
Got a final "fuck you" you want to deliver? You can spell that out in the sky and have a family member upload that shit to YouTube. All of which is, of course, will be set to a totally awesome Nickelback megamix.
Get Turned Into a Pencil
For those of you who prefer something less violent but more subtly creepy, Nadine Jarvis has a solution. She is an English product designer who designs things that never should be designed.
But when it comes to thinking-up alternative ways to dispose of a dead body she makes mafiosos around the globe envious of her artistry. Jarvis has embarked on a project to dispose of ashes in a way that will "lengthen death ceremony [sic] to give more time to come to terms with loss." And by that, she means things like making pencils out of your ashes.
Using the cremated remains, or "Cremains," one dead body can produce 240 pencils -- all but guaranteeing that you'll be dead long before you and your grieving family gets the chance to break them all in the most morbidly epic pencil fight ever recorded.
The box of pencils comes with a built-in sharpener, so that the pencil shavings fall back into the box, leaving your family with an urn that has more in common with the floors near the trash bin of every elementary school classroom than a human body.
Make plans to have your corpse pencils donated to the local library. Or, even better, an elementary school. You know you'll wind up haunting that shit. You'll be poltergeisting books and desks all around the room, while one priest cowers in the corner and screams "THE PENCILS! WE HAVE TO DESTROY THE PENCILS! ITS HIS BODY! HIS BODYYYYY!!!"
Become the Strongest Material on Earth
The jewelry industry doesn't want you to know this, but diamonds can be made in the lab. It's not even all that hard. You start with carbon and apply heat, pressure and time. Wait a second! Human ashes have carbon in them! You know what that means!
Yes, if you died right now your family could cremate and wear your dead body as a rather morbid article of high end bling-bling within 6 to 9 months. This is the promise of Illinois-based, dead-human-to-pretty-diamond converters LifeGem.
Once a body has been cremated (or a lock of hair is obtained) LifeGem scientists perform science all over it, first placing the separated ash carbons into an evil looking crucible that may as well have been a terrifying artifact found on the floors of Auschwitz, foreboding serial number and all.
This crucible is then heated to around 3,000 degrees Celsius, converting the carbon into pure graphite. This graphite is then placed into a diamond press that replicates the heat and pressure generated by the earth in order to form a diamond.
These are molecularly identical to naturally occurring diamonds, and contain all of the same traits. This will help tremendously when your family inevitably pawns the fucker for beer money.
But don't just take our word for how valuable these things can get. Apparently, LifeGem borrowed 10 strands of hair off the head of Ludwig van Beethoven from a celebrity hair collector, and pressed it into a diamond that was valued at $1,000,000.
A diamond is the strongest substance on earth and, when sharpened correctly, can also be one of the deadliest. Have them take your diamond to designer Tobias Wong so he can sharpen your freshly forged visage into a wearable implement of carnage and mayhem. A diamond so sharp it can slice right down to bone. Man, get that for your son after you've been (again) brutally slain by a crime boss... he'll be 90% of the way to a superhero.
Power a City
If you've ever seen The Matrix then you may have overheard Morpheus explain to Neo that "the human body generates more bioelectricity than a 120V battery, and more than 25000 BTU's of body heat." As retarded as the science behind their human power plant was, some European crematoriums are making the idea real.
Dukinfield Crematorium in England was having a problem when it came to burning their fresh crop of bodies: They couldn't afford to perform their creamationary duties while simultaneously keeping the mourners of the dead warm within the chapel. Their solution was a controversial one as they proposed that the energy given off should be recycled to power the chapel's boiler and lighting system. The system would capture the heat released by both the furnaces and the dead, then pass them through heat exchangers which would then be pumped into radiators.
No effort was made to NOT make it look like a place that burns humans.
But if you can power one little building, why don't you go all out and power a whole town? Three Swedish cities (Boras, Helsingborg and Racksta) are doing just that. Using the same basic ideas stated above, these crematoria have all cut deals with their local power companies and are contributing up to 10% of their respective towns' energy.
If you lived in an apartment with shoddy wiring you can now rest assured knowing that, in a roundabout way, your body will continue to shock the genitals of anyone using a plug-in vibrator.
Be a Science Exhibit Via Plastination
Old school style mummies are played out. Now, we have a far more elegant way to keep people around way, way longer then they need to be. This new process is called "Plastination" and, just as the name suggests, it involves cramming a dead body so full of plastic that it essentially turns it into the giant action figure Jeffery Dahmer wanted as a child.
Plastination was developed in 1978 by Dr. Gunther von Hagens and is used today as a learning tool for medical students of all types. You may have even caught a traveling exhibit showcasing a collection of the bodies posed in positions that suggest that it's totally alright to play a game of football with your dick meat fully exposed.
Or, hey, basketball, too.
The process of plastination can be broken down into five steps, all of which kind of sound like hunting process of a serial rapist:
1) Fixation: Where decay is halted by the injection of formalin, a bacteria fighting agent, into the arteries of the body.
2) Dehydration: After the doctors slice-and-dice whichever organs they wish to set aside for later, the body is placed in an acetone bath where all of its fats are dissolved away and its water sucked into the body's cells.
3) Forced Impregnation: The body is placed in a vacuum chamber with a polymer such as silicone rubber. As the acetone leaves the cells it swiftly draws in the liquid polymer behind it, leaving the cell filled with plastic.
4) Posing: Once every cell is loaded with plastic the body can be maneuvered around to strike any pose the scientists wish. It is also in this step where the scientists must resist their primal urges to place the bodies in lewd sexual positions while their hands perform obscene gestures.
5) Hardening: The body gets hard and just, kinda, you know, stays that way. There really isn't a whole lot of science involved in this step.
The process takes just over a year to complete with the end result being a mannequin-like figure that serves as a diorama for the internal workings of the human body. The Institute for Plastination - located in Heidelberg, Germany - is always accepting bodies, but keep in mind that they will not, under any circumstances, except bodies that were thrown at their front doors from speeding cars. All bodies used are willing participants in the project... sort of.
"Gee, I hope my friends don't freeze my dead body in this position and put me on display for douchebag med students."
The Institute of Plastination has this thing for arranging the bodies in action oriented posses to accentuate the dramatic features of a specimen in motion; they also plastinate non-human creatures such as giraffes, camels and gorillas.
That's right: They can set you up so that you're wrestling a bear for eternity. Or arrange to have your body scoring a point during what people can only assume is a wicked awesome 1-on-1 tetherball match with a gorilla. Let your imagination run wild!
We're gonna be immortalized like this - forever watching internet pornography.
To read about what kind of batshit stuff people will do with their bodies while living, check out The 6 Most Badass Stunts Ever Pulled in the Name of Science. Or get in the holiday spirit and find out what Santa really thinks about your kids' letters in Letters FROM Santa.
And don't forget to visit Cracked.com's Top Picks, because that's what your grandmother would want you to do.