It's Not the Destination, It's the Trip


Cork Coffin Display with a Difference

Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.

- George Carlin

Born again?

A collection of unique personalised coffins featuring a canal boat, a sledge, a skateboard and a box kite is to go on display in Ireland.  The exhibition of coffins designed especially for their living owners is to be launched tomorrow at a gallery in Cork city.  A coffin in the shape of a cork complete with corkscrew is marking the location of display, which is making an appearance in Ireland for the first time.

The caskets, made by UK-based coffin-makers Vic Fearns & Co Ltd, are designed on request by individuals and cost up to £3,000 (€4,600).  One canal boat design is currently used by its owner as a coffee table, said director David Crampton of Fearns & Co, who have been designing coffins since 1860.  "It's spectacular really," said Mr Crampton.  "We get requests all the time for all sorts of coffins.  People are very curious about the display.  There might be one or two people who think it's not for them but generally it generates a lot of interest."  He said there had been increasing interest in the Nottingham-based business since it introduced the personalised designs around a decade ago.

Cork Vision Centre Director John Miller described the display - which has already been shown in the UK - as "an eye catching" exhibition with a difference.  The Crazy Coffins exhibition at Cork Vision Centre is being launched by a number of guests, including Nottingham town-crier Michael Woods, who will show off his own bell-shaped coffin.  It will be officially opened by John Kennedy, Director of the Cork European Capital of Culture, before opening to the public from Wednesday January 7 until January 30.

Couldn't stay awake any longer                                                                         He lived a wicket life...              

Source: 1 June 2003

Things to Do When You’re Dead

  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".  It was acquired by University College London in 1850 and is still kept on public display at the end of the South Cloisters in the main building.  It has always had a wax head as Bentham’s head was badly damaged in the preservation process, but the real head was displayed in the same case for many years.  However, it became the target of repeated student pranks including being stolen on more than one occasion, so it is now locked securely away.  See: Jeremy Bentham (an external site) and Dead Wife as a Coffee Table (further on in this section).
  2. Launch yourself into space.  (See Space Services, Inc - an external site - or Your Ashes in Orbit in the section on Flying).  You can launch a symbolic portion of cremated remains into earth orbit, onto the lunar surface, or into deep space.  $495 gets you into low earth orbit (the orbit decays and the sample eventually burns up).  A cool $13k can get a bit shot into the heart of the galaxy.
  3. Become a yellow diamond, an artificial reef, a mummy, or an exhibit.  (See Being Dead and in a Good Mood further on in this section). 
  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 Forest of Memories (an external site) or Let's Be Practical (further in this section) to see refrigerated and collapsible coffins, coffins at Costco, composting, "natural" burial (requiring only a blanket and a shovel), and pub burial (where you can stay among your friends).  There is also Common Garden Burial (with "California Woman Helps Bring Funerals to the Home" near the bottom of that page.
  5. You could go online.  You don’t have to have a pulse, just a connection.  A quick visit to Online-Funeral (an external site) 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 wimps and you wouldn’t want to look silly on the big day.)  Or you could visit US Website Allows Messages to Be Passed to Afterlife or Email from the Grave, both in the Information/Technology section.
  6. You could be frozen (your whole body, or just your head if that's all you can afford) in hopes of future revival - or you could invest money toward future time travel so that compound interest will be sufficient to pay for expenses of some future being coming back to pick you up before you die - see Relatively Dead further along in this section.
  7. Have someone eat your sins (an external site), 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, no doubt).
  8. Donate your body to the Body Farm (see Bones, Bugs and Batescille further in this section or Johnny's Rotten in the section on Working) or to Science (see Death Wish further in this section).
  9. Sell ads on your tombstone (see Game Publicity Plan Raises Grave Concerns further along in this section).
  10. Maybe you’re not going quietly into that good night at all.  Perhaps you would be best served by US 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."  Of course, if you're embalmed, it isn't a problem.  Burials in America deposit 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid — formaldehyde, methanol, and ethanol (see Historical Preservation in the Environment section for a recipe for embalming fluid) — into the soil each year.  But then cremation pumps dioxins, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide into the air (see Modern Cremation further on in this section).

Source: Parts excerpted from Wade Meredith 8 May 2007

Honey, I Didn't Get You Flowers, but I Did Arranged Your Funeral...


For articles related to ageing, including feats that can be accomplished, and a non-spiritual look at what happens after death - funerals, jerky, popsicles, fertiliser, ashes, orbit or dust - click the "Up" button below to take you to the Index page for this Older and Under section.

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