In case you think I’m joking or my title was only meant to get you to read this blog post, I really do have a dead body in my garage.
It’s Uncle Cecil.
Cecil Trantham was my husband’s great uncle who passed away last fall. He was one of our favorites in Peter’s family and we miss him greatly. (Although having him in our garage has made him feel closer. 🙂 ) Uncle Cecil was a lead mechanic for many race cars over the years and his garage was something anyone who’s turned that way would envy. When we had to say goodbye to him, we wanted to honor his passion and his amazing career so a special container was made for his remains out of a muffler.
When my husband and son went to New Mexico over the Thanksgiving holiday, they were given Uncle Cecil to bring back to Texas to bury next to his sister. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of our best laid plans and Uncle Cecil has spent the last five months with us in our garage. My boys pull him out to have a place of honor whenever they work on the ATVs or trucks. In a weird way, I know this would have tickled Uncle Cecil pink. He always wanted to come visit, but his health wouldn’t allow it.
He was a wonderful man with a wicked sense of humor. To honor him (as we’re finally bringing him to his final place of rest), I present you with unusual facts about burial practices!
– Cryonic science is alive and well. Currently, it’s only legal to do on people who are legally dead. There are those that have lobbied to be put on ice before their time!
– While most Western funerals are a somber affair, the Hindus in Bali make it to be a carnival like atmosphere. The body is paraded down the street along with other floats and paper made structures. Once at the burn site, the body is transferred into a large bull and it’s all set on fire. Afterwards, there’s a feast and party to celebrate the life.
– In Tibet, they do it quite differently. the body is brought to a mountain top and placed on a raised structure to be closer to Heaven. It’s left there for the vultures and other birds to eat, some remains are even mixed with flour and water to make it tastier for the winged creatures. This insures all tidbits are devoured and flown high.
– A Swedish firm will now pulverize your body and put it in a cornstarch urn to be completely eco-friendly.
– An American firm will take your remains and turn it into a diamond for jewelry for your loved ones to wear. One body can make up to 50 1-carat diamonds and cost around $14,000 each. In 2007, the company used carbon from strands of Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair to make three diamonds. Two are in private collections and the third was sold on e-bay for charity for $210,000.
– Thomas Edison’s dying breath was captured in a bottle. Henry Ford who was a close friend of Edison, convinced his son to fill a bottle with his final breaths. Edison also had a death mask made.
– If you were a beggar in early Scotland, you might have been employed to be a “sin-eater”. A loaf of bread was place on the dying person’s chest along with a mug of ale while prayers were said. This transferred the person’s sins outs of his body and into the food and drink. It was then given to the poor hungry soul who ate all of the dying person’s transgressions. This practice was done for hundreds of years.
– Some people turn into soap after they die. (No, I’m not drinking!) Apparently, the fatty tissue along with a variety of other liquids during decomposing, slowly form into adipocere. (grave wax) It doesn’t matter whether you were embalmed or not! Of course, the heavier you are, the more soap you make. In fact, there is a “Soap Lady” in a museum who is entirely composed of grave wax. Sometimes, these deposits can be seen leaking from caskets and tombs.