The truly cheap / eco-friendly amongst them can forego old standbys like embalming and wood boxes, and instead get popped right into a cardboard box, dropped in the ground, and marked by a freshly planted tree that will grow strong as it saps nutrients out of your decaying, pulpy, cardboardy grossness.
When Claire Wallerstein decided to have her father buried in an eco-friendly manner, she probably wanted all that stuff to occur. The fact that eco plots are hard to come by and thus her father got put to rest a couple of steps away from a pet cemetery was probably not in the brochure, however. She also didn't plan on her dad being stored in a freezer for a few days and then being unavailable for the planned viewing, since humans, much like a Fudgsicle, need to be put away if you want to enjoy them later.
It also turns out that if you want to use a tree as a grave marker, you need to let the earth settle for a while after the burial. So you have to come back a few months later and then plant it. This in turn means that if no one took the time to jam a stick in the ground to mark the grave in the meantime, you're going to spend your afternoon counting paces from the nearest parrot grave, trying to remember where you buried that box your dad was in.
Cremating The Wrong Body
While a missing body at a funeral is a pain in the ass, they generally tend to turn up, since they're usually right where you left them. Except when someone lights them on fire.
Like misplacing your keys and then finding out someone else in the house reduced them to ash, occasionally funeral home workers will mix up bodies and put one in a casket while they cremate another. It's like a hilariously morbid episode of Three's Company that haunts the nightmares of all involved. So like most episodes with the Ropers.
So how do you mix up bodies? How did Aurelie Germaine Tuccillo end up cremated when her family had been expecting to bury her, and someone else end up in her casket? Pop culture assures us that funeral homes, such as those in Six Feet Under and Phantasm, are nothing if not zany and full of homicidal dwarves. The funeral home in question only issued a statement of regret and condolences regarding the "incident," so we're forced to assume the workers got loaded the night before and played "Spin the Cadaver" and lost track of who was who in the fray.
There's some saying or other about beating dead horses, but I've been advised to avoid pissing PETA off. So instead let's focus on what happens when a random drifter happens upon a funeral and decides to duke it out with the dearly departed, in what would be a hilarious scene in a Will Ferrell movie, yet in real life was probably just horrifying. Really, there's no reason to laugh.
Back in 2007, Timothy Cleary, out for a stroll, made his way to the Harvest Baptist Church, where a funeral was taking place. I like to think he saw the open casket and thought something along the lines of "Holy shit, I'm insane!" then burst into a wind sprint and leapt on the corpse, raining down blows. Mourners, not fans of Ferrell-style comedy, then attacked Cleary and pulled him off the dead man before calling 911.
Turns out Cleary didn't know the deceased, and police weren't readily able to come up with a reason for the attack. The responding officers were likely too busy trying to decide whether Cleary was batshit insane or simply crazier than a shithouse rat.
Check out more from Fortey in The 8 Most Insulting Attempts to Raise Money for a Cause and 12 'Sexy' Ads That Will Give You Nightmares.
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Kathy Benjamin's Funerals to Die For: The Craziest, Creepiest, and Most Bizarre Funeral Traditions and Practices Ever unearths very true stories that put the, er, "fun" back into funerals!