7 Bizarre Alternatives to Burial or Cremation

Why opt for the regular burial or cremation these days when there are so many other creative options? With a little foresight, you can ensure that your body doesn’t miss out on some unique posthumous opportunities. Some of these alternatives to burial are eco-friendly, beneficial to science, or may be helpful in allowing others to celebrate your life rather than mourning your death. Likewise, it will give your relatives a unique story to tell for years to come, allowing your legacy to live on long after you’ve expired.

  1. Cryonics

    At Alcor, a cryonics organization, your body can be preserved through freezing methods in hopes that some future scientific breakthrough will enable your revival. Cryonics is for those who fear the permanence of death, and sounds more like a science fiction plot than a legitimate alternative to your average burial. Cryonics believers reason that their molecular structures can be preserved if kept at cold enough temperatures. That, combined with the ever-elusive “nanotechnology” will be the answer to self-preservation, if not immortality. Although it may seem wacky, more than 100 people have been cryogenically frozen since it first became available in 1967. Walt Disney himself is often thought to be a member of this elite cryogenic club, although some believe this to be largely an urban legend.

  2. Body Worlds

    Body Worlds is an exhibit created by Gunther von Hagens, who uses a process called “plastination” to preserve and study the body. In the exhibit, entire bodies have been stripped down to the muscle, and are often seen in regular, almost comical poses representing human life. For example, two human bodies, red muscle and some bones exposed, sit at a chess board amidst a tense game. Plastination works by embalming the body, cleansing it of all fats and water, and the impregnation of a reactive polymer before the body is positioned as it will be during the exhibit. It is then “cured” or hardened, retaining the plastic-like sheen you see in the exhibit. Most of the bodies in Body Worlds have been donated by deceased people from Hagan’s native Germany. However, the institution is always looking for more corpses to be donated to the cause.

  3. Space Orbit

    For those who always secretly wanted to be an astronaut but were unable to make it to outer space in their lifetime, fear not. The option is still available posthumously. A company called Celestis provides lunar burials for your loved ones, by taking the cremated remains aboard a spacecraft and ejecting them into deep space, scattering them on the surface of the moon, or simply inserting them into Earth’s orbit for an undisclosed length of time. You can also opt to have your remains tag along a spaceflight with return to earth after completion, in a sort of noncommittal fashion. Loved ones can even track the spacecraft in real time online to see if your remains have made it to the moon yet. The priciest of the services is the deep space launch, which has a starting price of $12,500.

  4. Eternal Reefs

    Eternal Reefs, Inc. allows people’s bodies to become embedded with reefs that are lowered down into the ocean in areas where the reef has been damaged. It is a more eco-friendly means of burial, giving one the option to quite literally become synonymous with nature. Over time, sea life will grow on the reef, helping the ocean’s ecosystem to flourish. To complete the process, cremated remains are cast with concrete into a reef structure. Family members may adorn the reef with a handprint or memorial plaque to their liking so that they may dive down and pay respects over time beneath the ocean’s surface. The Mariner Memorial Reef is the largest reef option, designed for families to be buried together, costing $6,995.

  5. Human Vinyl

    For “diehard” music lovers, And Vinyly has come up with a service that presses your ashy remains into a vinyl record, which serves as a testament to your life. The record can have customized music or simply the crackling noise produced by all records, as well as any other kind of audio. And Vinyly provides the option of having your music written and recorded for you by bands from House of Fix. Some of the ashes may be used to create a self-portrait, which will serve as the vinyl cover, and can be painted by National Portrait Gallery artist, James Hague, or street artist, Paul Insect. Lastly, the company will arrange for a FUNeral, in which your record will be played in a party celebrating your life. All in all, And Vinyly provides a very lighthearted take on death. The basic package costs around $5,000.

  6. Become a Diamond

    DNA2Diamonds provides the unique service of creating diamonds from the carbon found in your deceased loved one’s cremated remains or hair. As man-made diamonds, they are considerably less costly than diamonds found in nature. Customers can choose from a variety of cuts and colors to memorialize their loved one, and once created, will be able to wear the diamond jewelry, which will always represent the deceased. The service is also extended for pet remains, if you simply can’t let go of Fido and need a diamond to commemorate your devotion to him.

  7. Become Fireworks

    For upwards of $1,600, you can go out with a bang and have your ashes incorporated into a personalized fireworks display. The display is crafted to fit the deceased’s personality, from the average display seen at public events to a grande finale, sending off ashes in a colorful, bursting blaze. They usually last around five minutes in duration, although they can be customized to be lengthier. Music can be synchronized with the display to play the deceased’s favorite songs, or a champagne toast can be added on for an additional fee. The company also offers self-fired rockets, which are fireworks containing the cremated remains that can be used at home, in privacy, without a giant, fantastical show.