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The Country Where Burying Someone Can Take Months Or Even Years

In most countries, people are buried within a few days of their death, but in the African country of Ghana, burials are complicated affairs that can take months or even years to prepare. In some communities, speedy burials are considered downright sacrilegious, so despite the wishes of the deceased and their immediate family, bodies spend months frozen at the morgue before finally being laid to rest.

Ghana’s lengthy funerals are closely related to the notion of family in the African country. During one’s life, their children, spouse and parents are considered immediate family, but once they are dead, their body belongs to the extended family in which they were born. In many cases this includes distant relatives that the deceased hand’t even spoken to in decades, but that makes no difference. They get a say in how, where and when the deceased is buried, and whatever instructions they left regarding this aspect, or whatever they asked their close family to do, is meaningless unless the extended family agrees to the terms.

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“Funeral Crasher” Has Been Been Attending Strangers’ Funerals at Her Church for 14 Years, to Eat Free Food

It’s an odd day when you have to question an old, devout Catholic woman’s morals for attending too many funerals. And yet, that’s the position many have been placed in by 65-year-old Theresa Doyle, from Slough, in the UK, who has been attending every wake at her church for over 14 years now. That would probably be considered commendable on her part, if not for the many accusations that she’s been doing it just to raid the free buffet. 

Theresa Doyle’s funeral crashing habit recently made news headlines in the UK, with several of her neighbors and family members of deceased people whose wakes and funeral services she has attended over the years, claiming that she intrudes on people in their time of grief just so she can fill her stomach. She just shows up, pretends to have known the deceased and sometimes even chats with their friends and family, before grazing the buffet “like there’s no tomorrow”. Sometimes, she allegedly even takes some of the food to go.

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You Can Rest in Peace on the Moon for $12,000

You might not make it to heaven in the afterlife, but you sure can go as far as the moon. Celestial funerals are now a possibility, thanks to San Francisco startup Elysium Space. For a ginormous fee of about $12,000, the company will privately transport your cremated remains to the moon!

Founded by former NASA engineer Thomas Civeit, Elysium boasts of bringing space and funeral experts together to provide the unique service. “Families now have the historic opportunity to commemorate their departed loved ones every night through the everlasting splendour and soft illumination of the Earth’s closest companion: the moon,” they stated in a press release.

Although the company was founded in 2013, the service only offered in August of this year, after Elysium managed to seal a deal with space logistics company Astrobotic Technology. They’re currently taking orders, and the first batch of ashes will travel to the moon on Griffin Lander spacecraft – Astrobotic’s inaugural lunar mission – in 2017.

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Try Before You Die – Macabre Festival Lets Japanese Try Out Coffins and Funeral Makeup

Trying out a coffin while you’re still alive can be a rather unnerving experience. But the Japanese seem to love it!  They even have a creepy ‘try-before-you-die’ festival where people can lay down in coffins, try out funeral garments and even get a morbid makeover.

Called ‘Shukatsu Festa’, the unique event has become very popular in recent years. In fact the whole ‘shukatsu’ trend, which translates as preparing for one’s end, has become really big in Japan. Apparently, people no longer think it’s bad luck to prepare for their death. Participants can choose their funeral outfit, put it on, slip into the flower-filled casket they like and have a picture taken. That way, they get to know exactly what they’ll look like on the day of their funeral. They can even have funeral make-up applied on their faces for a deathly pallor. They can also choose to be covered with white blankets have have the attendants softly close the lid. Read More »

Rest Among the Stars – Company Will Send Your Pet’s Remains into Outer Space

Starting this fall, a Texas company called Celestis Inc, is offering a new, one-of-a-kind pet funeral service – they will send the cremated remains of people’s pets into outer space. The new initiative is called ‘Celestis Pets’, and according to the company, it’s all about helping owners ‘celebrate the life of their pet’.

Since 1997, Celestis Inc. has been in the business of taking human remains into outer space and bringing them back, including the ashes of ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry. This is the first time they’re extending their services to pets, in collaboration with San Diego-based ‘Into the Sunset Pet Transition Center’ to handle the remains.

“I think we’re also creating some new cultural norms,” said Steve Eisele, Director of Houston-based Celestis Pets. “Humanity has a lot of different rituals. We think we take our rituals with us when we end up traveling to different places whether they’re on this planet or off the planet,” he explained.

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Chinese Student Staged Her Own Funeral So She Could Enjoy It

Zeng Jia, a 22-year-old student from Wuhan, China, shocked family and friends when she invited them to a rehearsal of her own funeral so she could take part in the festivities while she is still alive.

The young student told members of the press that she got the idea for the morbid event after realizing that people spend a lot of time and effort on someone when they’re gone, and they never get the chance to appreciate and enjoy it. Determined not to let that happen to her, Zeng Jia used up all her saving to arrange an elaborate funeral service complete with a coffin, flowers and origami birds, as well as photographers and a crowd of mourners. She then invited her family and friends to take part in the unusual festivities. Believe it or not, some of them actually attended, and got the chance to look at the young girl as she lay in her coffin, with a Hello Kitty doll on her chest. To make the whole thing look and feel realistic, Zeng even hired makeup artists who specialize in working on dead bodies to give her that coveted past-away look. She spent an hour playing dead, as all her relatives and friends passed by her coffin to say their final goodbyes, after which she jumped out to attend the wake and even delivered a eulogy in her honor. Read More »

Weeping for Strangers – The Professional Mourners of Taiwan

In Taiwan, staging a dramatic funeral for relatives who have passed away is of the utmost importance. So, to create the proper atmosphere, wealthy families hire professional mourners who cry, sing and crawl on the ground to show their grief.

Taiwan’s “filial daughter” phenomenon emerged during the 1970s, when sons and daughters left their families to work in the city. Transport was limited, so if one of their parents died and they couldn’t make it back in time for the funeral, they would hire a filial daughter to take their place and lead the family in mourning. For some Taiwanese, showing grief in a dramatic fashion is the highest reverence for relatives who have passed away, because funerals are considered the most important times to honor one’s family. But not everyone has it in them to shed tears and show their pain in public, so to help create a grieving atmosphere, they hire professional mourning daughters. They chant, dance and wail, warming the hearts of the audience and helping them release their emotions. Crying on command isn’t easy, but professional mourners, like 30-year-old Liu Jun Lin, say it helps to really get involved in the event and consider the family that hired them their own. “I just imagine that I am part of the family and I fuse myself into the occasion,” she says.

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Taiwan’s Funeral Strippers Dance for the Dead

Ok, what’s the last thing you’d expect to see at a funeral? So maybe stripper isn’t the first thing that pops into your head, but you have to admit it’s pretty darn strange. Apparently, in Taiwan, bringing a stripper to the funeral is an important part of the grieving process.

Taiwan’s funeral strippers would have probably remained a mystery to the western world, if not for the efforts of anthropologist Mark L. Moskowitz, who wanted to show US audiences what real culture is. His 40-minute documentary, Dancing for the Dead: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan, sheds light on the bizarre practice through interviews with strippers, government officials and common folk.

Funeral strippers are apparently a pretty big part of Taiwanese culture, especially in rural areas. Up to the mid 1980s, this kind of raunchy performances took place all over the island, even in the capital city of Taipei, but after authorities passed laws against it, it disappeared from urban settlements and moved to the country. The laws aren’t as easy to enforce there and people seem to enjoy going to a funeral knowing they’ll get some adult entertainment. Strippers usually arrive on the back of diesel trucks known as Electric Flower Cars, and perform in front of the dead and his mourners. The scantly-dressed girls do pole dancing, sing, and some even come down  from their stage to interact with the audience (sit on their laps, give lap dances, shove their heads into their breasts, etc.).

According to Nury Vittachi, funeral stripping was born around 25 years ago, when the Taiwanese mafia who ran the country’s nightclub scene, took over an important part of the country’s mortuary business. At one point, the mafia bosses decided to somehow combine the two businesses and increase their incomes. From then on, anyone who booked a funeral through one of their parlors also got a stripper at discount price. At first, people were a bit confused, but after they were told this would attract more mourners to the funeral, thus honoring the dead even more, they were sold.

While Moskowitz didn’t see complete nudity while filming his documentary, he claims all the people he spoke with had seen Electric Flower Car girls perform in the nude. He suspects the girls didn’t want to do it in front of the camera because they were afraid they would get in trouble with the law. And for good reason, since funeral stripping is heavily criticized by those in power. Still he did see girl dressed in very short skirts, revealing tops and bikinis performing in rural Taiwan, for modest fees.

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Dead Man Riding to Heaven

What looks like a bike rider waiting for the green light, in a motorcycle race, is actually a dead man at a wake, in Puerto Rico.

22-year-old David Morales Colon was shot to death, last Thursday, and his family wanted people to remember him doing what he liked most. As the young man had received a brand new Honda CBR600 F4 motorcycle, which he loved, his family asked the funeral home to embalm David and set him in riding position.

The guys at the funeral home did a great job, and David looks like he’s about to drive away any second, but this gesture caused a media stir, at an international level. Apparently this paves the way for other funeral firms to come up with original ideas for this kind of events.

As a guy living in a country where dead people are kept on the living room table, for three days, before being buried, I see this as just a cool way of honoring a person.

Photos by Vanessa Cerra via PrimaHora Read More »

Tibetan Sky Burials Are Super-Creepy

All funerals are sad and creepy, but they’re way better than feeding the corpse to a bunch of hungry eagles.

Sky burials are often practiced in the mountains of Tibet, both for religious and practical reasons. Basically, the corpse is placed on a mountain top and sliced open in various places, to attract the birds of prey circling above. They’d probably feast on it anyway, but an invitation like that doesn’t hurt.

Most Tibetans are Buddhists and believe in rebirth. Once a person dies, their body is considered nothing more than an empty vessels that needs to disposed of. Since the ground is often as hard as rock and wood and fire are precious resources, feeding nature’s creatures is a practical choice. I know it looks grotesque, but to Buddhists this is a last sign of generosity by the deceased, offering his body as nourishment for other living creatures.

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Clown Funeral – Tragically Hilarious

Seemed like a catchy title, but there’s really nothing hilarious about it, just tragic and bizarre.

These photos were taken at the Fairview Cemetery, in Springfield, where 79-year-old Norman Thompson, member of the Antioch Shrine Funster Clown Unit, was buried, on May 29. His clown-friends dressed up for the occasion and honored Norman, for the last time.

It looks bizarre, I know, but I was reading about this on the web, and found out that this is a tradition for clowns and magicians. Apparently this is the way they show their respect to their fallen colleagues.

via Springfield News Sun

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