What happens after death? Where do we go? What happens to our bodies? Most people wonder what actually happens to a body when they’re cremated.
Some people prefer burials since it leaves the body intact and it means there’s somewhere you can visit your loved one. Others prefer to be cremated since it’s cheaper and it takes up less land.
But what actually happens to a human body after death and how does it get ‘restored’ for the viewing process?
Let’s find out…
Cremation is a method in which the body remains are taken care of. It’s a process where the human remains are reduced to ash. The cremation process can be dangerous, even after death because if the deceased has a pacemaker it can cause an explosion inside the cremator and some implants can cause the release of hazardous gases so those need to be removed or acknowledged.
The cremation chambers have a temperature of between 1,400 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The outer layer is made of industrial brick which can withstand high temperatures.
The chambers hold one body at a time with few exceptions. For example, deceased mothers with a stillborn child. In most cases though, it is illegal to burn multiple bodies at the same time in the same cremator.
The body is placed inside a combustible coffin which will then be placed inside the cremation chamber. The door only opens slightly to fit the coffin and also as a method of maintaining its internal temperature. Although the cremator was once fuelled by coal, it is now fueled by natural gas, propane or diesel. Once in the chamber, a massive column of flames will engulf the coffin.
First, the coffin catches on fire, then the body itself. The skin and hair are burned off first followed by the muscles. Finally, the soft tissues are vaporised and the bones begin to calcify.
Water leaves the body rapidly in the form of steam once the body enters the chamber. Once the body has been burned to just the skeleton, an employee will manually crush the now brittle bones with a tool that resembles a farmer’s hoe.
Some crematoriums have additional afterburners that can assist in reducing emissions, odours and smoke. The process can last up to three hours with several factors playing a vital role. Some of these include the weight of the body, the type of casket and also the average temperature of the cremation chamber.
Once the body is reduced to skeletal remains and dust, it’s taken out onto a tray and cooled. A magnet like below is then employed to extract any metal pieces such as surgical screws or fillings.
One of the last steps is to use the cremulator. A cremulator is a blender-like machine that grinds down any remaining bones into fine dust. The remains are then placed into an urn and given to the family/loved ones. This is usually done the day of or day after the funeral.
We all know that one day our time will be up, and now we have an insight into how it will happen if we are to choose to go down the cremation route. Not many people find it comfortable even thinking about death and how they would like to be remembered and how their money should be spent.
There have been though, in the past some extremely strange funeral requests. Some people have actually opted to attend their own funeral, not in the casket. I mean, how mad would that be, if you was to turn around at a funeral, and see the person, full clothed, who’s funeral you are attending. Creepy.
One fitting example of this was Miriam Burbank. The 53 year old passed away and their daughters did not want a standard sad funeral. They wanted a party like atmosphere to represent the way their mother was.
They positioned Miriam at a table, with a beer, some cigarettes and a whisky. Her nails were painted in the colours of her New Orleans football team.
In 2012 jazz musician Lionel Batiste sadly passed away, and again his wish was to attend his own funeral outside of the casket, dressed as he usually would. This was again in New Orleans USA.
Lionels reasoning for this was that he did not want people looking down on him, so he was stood, leant up against a lamp post. Holding his walking cain with his hat stylishly to the side. Although this is a strange request, it was the mans own wish, so that it was respected is a good thing!
Other strange requests after death come in the form of a will. A standard will is usually just used to determine what will happen with the person who has passed away in terms of their money and assets.
They are usually quite formal and are written professionally by will writers or solicitors. This ensures that nothing is left under any ambiguity to avoid arguments between family members and friends who are beneficiaries to the will.
However there have again been some bizarre requests left on peoples wills, which then must legally be followed. Some of these are great! For example legendary US comedian Jack Benny left a touching instruction on his will.
His widow Mary Livingstone, as part of his will, receives a single red rose every single day from their local florist from Jacks money. This is such a great gesture.
Another strange but brilliant gesture was that of Roger Brown who passed away when he was 67 years of age. Roger passed away from prostate cancer and in his will he left behind £3,500 to be split between his 7 closest friends.
You may think this is a fairly standard request. And it would be, if he hadn’t left the money with an instruction for them. The friends were to go away on a boozy European city break with the money. Ensuring that his best pals were giving him the proper send off he deserved. Good man!
The legendary William Shakespeare is another who made a weird request in the form of his will. His wife Anne Hathaway was quite famously snubbed as the famous poet and playwright left the majority of his estate to his daughter Susanna.
His wife Anne Hathaway was left with quite strangely “his second best bed”. Although I imagine she had enough money from her time with William Shakespeare not to be financially worried, that is a bit insulting.
In 2004 billionaire hotelliere Leona Helmsley left the majority of her fortunes to help look after dogs. Which is extremely nice and understandable. She had a lot of money so to be able to give something back to dogs, which she was clearly passionate about it great.
However her nine year old Maltese Trouble, received whopping 12 million dollar inheritance. This was later cut by a judge as Leona had left out some of her family members in order to compensate this dog so greatly. Unbelievably the dog had to go into hiding due to death and kidnap threats.
However the best story from a will comes from Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos De Noronha Cabral Da Camara. This legend had a clause in his will which was truly unbelievable.
He requested that his estate and money would be split between 70 people picked at random by using a Lisbon phone directory. Imagine getting that phone call. People who had never heard of the man were splitting his wealth after he passed away. What a tremendous but crazy gesture. Imagine what his friends must have thought though!
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