Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Little Halloween Humor : )

Do your own conveyancing...Do it yourself plumbing and heating...Embalm your own relatives.
Found here

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Crab Casket... Wonder if the person was from Maryland?

An eye-opening look at American funeral customs is graphically presented at the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston. From icebox caskets, which kept the body 'fresh' in pre-embalming days; to bizarre caskets, such as the casket built for three; to the ostentatious, like the all-glass casket which proved too heavy for even ten pallbearers to lift, the museum is a fascinating look at the history of burial customs. Mourning attire, jewelry made from the deceased's hair, memorabilia of the funerals of the rich and famous, death wagons and hearses, along with a video on the Value of the Funeral, make this a memorable place to spend a few hours dealing with the inevitable. The entrance to the museum has a 'Find a Famous Grave' kiosk that leads you electronically to the remains of the previously famous. A recent addition is the collection of fantasy coffins from Ghana, where elaborate versions are designed to capture the essence of the dead they contain. On display are coffins depicting a KLM airplane, a Mercedes car, various boats, animals and even an outboard motor. You can pass the time on the next leg of your journey trying to imagine what would happen if this custom caught on here.

National Museum of Funeral History, 415 Barren Springs Dr, Houston, TX 77090; [281 876 3063] web: www.nmfh.org. Open Mon-Fri 10:00am-4:00pm, Sat-Sun 12:00noon-4:00pm.

Houdini - A Magician Among the Spirits

What better time to remember Houdini than Halloween? This is a really, really nice site:
Harry Houdini is still considered today as one of the greatest illusionists and magicians in history. In addition to his fantastic escapes and stunts, he was also well known in the 1920’s for his debunking of fraudulent Spiritualist mediums. In this, modern information about Houdini tends to be skewed. Today, many skeptic organizations have claimed Houdini as one of their own, but this is far from the truth. Unlike these groups, Houdini did not start out attacking fake mediums because he did not believe in the supernatural. In fact, he had gone to them in an attempt to try and contact his dead mother, but found that the mediums he met were often frauds. This was when he turned to exposing them, still searching for the truth.
Before his death, Houdini stated that should it be possible to contact the living from the other side, he would do so. The question remains as to whether or not he actually succeeded. Read more here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Laurence Hutton Death Mask Exhibit


Laurence Hutton Collection
Life and Death Masks

20 Things You Didn't Know About . . . Death

20 Things You Didn't Know About... Death
Newsflash: we're all going to die. But here are 20 things you didn't know
about kicking the bucket.
1 The practice of burying the dead may date back 350,000 years, as evidenced by a 45-foot-deep pit in Atapuerca, Spain, filled with the fossils of 27 hominids of the species Homo heidelbergensis, a possible ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.
2 Never say die: There are at least 200 euphemisms for death, including "to be in Abraham's bosom," "just add maggots," and "sleep with the Tribbles" (a Star Trek favorite).
3 No American has died of old age since 1951.
4 That was the year the government eliminated that classification on death certificates.
5 The trigger of death, in all cases, is lack of oxygen. Its decline may prompt muscle spasms, or the "agonal phase," from the Greek word agon, or contest.
6 Within three days of death, the enzymes that once digested your dinner begin to eat you. Ruptured cells become food for living bacteria in the gut, which release enough noxious gas to bloat the body and force the eyes to bulge outward.
7 So much for recycling: Burials in America deposit 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid—formaldehyde, methanol, and ethanol—into the soil each year. Cremation pumps dioxins, hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide into the air.
8 Alternatively . . . A Swedish company, Promessa, will freeze-dry your body in liquid nitrogen, pulverize it with high-frequency vibrations, and seal the resulting powder in a cornstarch coffin. They claim this "ecological burial" will decompose in 6 to 12 months.
9 Zoroastrians in India leave out the bodies of the dead to be consumed by vultures.
10 The vultures are now dying off after eating cattle carcasses dosed with diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory used to relieve fever in livestock.
11 Queen Victoria insisted on being buried with the bathrobe of her long-dead husband, Prince Albert, and a plaster cast of his hand.
12 If this doesn't work, we're trying in vitro! In Madagascar, families dig up the bones of dead relatives and parade them around the village in a ceremony called famadihana. The remains are then wrapped in a new shroud and reburied. The old shroud is given to a newly married, childless couple to cover the connubial bed.
13(*) During a railway expansion in Egypt in the 19th century, construction companies unearthed so many mummies that they used them as fuel for locomotives.
14 Well, yeah, there's a slight chance this could backfire: English philosopher Francis Bacon, a founder of the scientific method, died in 1626 of pneumonia after stuffing a chicken with snow to see if cold would preserve it.
15 For organs to form during embryonic development, some cells must commit suicide. Without such programmed cell death, we would all be born with webbed feet, like ducks.
16 Waiting to exhale: In 1907 a Massachusetts doctor conducted an experiment with a specially designed deathbed and reported that the human body lost 21 grams upon dying. This has been widely held as fact ever since. It's not.
17 Buried alive: In 19th-century Europe there was so much anecdotal evidence that living people were mistakenly declared dead that cadavers were laid out in "hospitals for the dead" while attendants awaited signs of putrefaction.
18 Eighty percent of people in the United States die in a hospital.
19 If you can't make it here . . . More people commit suicide in New York City than are murdered.
20 It is estimated that 100 billion people have died since humans began.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Haunted Boy of Cottage City ... The Boy of the Exorcist

Okay, there is no way I can even attempt to rewrite this.... I am familiar with the area ... and actually the town of Cottage City is not far from Mt. Rainier..... At any rate, I am taking this from the guy's website which is located here: Click here .... because it is a great article!

The Exorcist is truly a modern-day cultural phenomenon. A best-selling novel, one of the highest grossing movies of all time, and today a household word that instantly generates dark images of uncontrollable horror, The Exorcist has fostered an underground cult following that continues to embrace—and attempts to trace—the story’s macabre origins. There have been dozens of newspaper and magazine articles that have tried to tell the “true” story. Books, television specials, and video documentaries on the subject have appeared, with the most recent offerings being the 1993 book Possessed: The True Story Of An Exorcism by Thomas B. Allen and the 1997 Henninger Media video In The Grip Of Evil. Most of the published works on this subject are poorly referenced and offer contradictory and even erroneous material. So much has been embellished and fabricated that it has become nearly impossible to differentiate fact and fiction. There is only one constant that seems to unite the biased writers who have tried to revise this story to suit their own agendas—none have ever actually talked with the possessed boy and none have ever interviewed anyone who grew up close to the family in question. I always felt the real story could only come from them.

Who Was This Possessed Kid and Where Did He Really Live? Inquiring Minds Want to Know...
My interest in The Exorcist tale gradually escalated during the 1992 to 1996 time period. Most of my spare hours were spent during those years conducting research for my book Capitol Rock (Riverdale: Fort Center Books, 1997). Consequently, for a lengthy chapter on blues-rock guitar great Roy Buchanan, I spent a great deal of time canvassing the city of Mount Rainier, Maryland—a smallish working-class community of approximately 8,000 residents quietly tucked away in Victorian homes and bungalows on the D.C. line. The town was known for two things: the home of the great Roy Buchanan—and the alleged site of the story behind The Exorcist.

Indeed, ever since the early ’80s local high school teens had been flocking to what was then a vacant lot at the corner of Bunker Hill Road and 33rd Street right in the residential heart of Mount Rainier. Believing it to be the former site of the house where the possessed boy lived, these Prince George’s County teens delighted in roaming the lot at all hours of the night, drinking beer on the premises, erecting wooden crosses on the property, and yelling and screaming until local police had to come and chase them away. Several local newspaper accounts had set the tale in motion and an urban legend was born.

As I logged hundreds of hours in Mount Rainier chatting with the town’s oldest residents, one unsettling aspect of the Exorcist tale continuously reared its head. Without exception, the old-timers insisted that although their beloved town was given credit for being the home of the Exorcist story, the boy in question never actually lived in Mount Rainier. I found this to be very strange, since all of the sensational material printed on the subject placed him in Mount Rainier. Having spoken with members of Mount Rainier’s largest, oldest, and most prominent families, I found it very odd that not one person knew either the boy’s name or the names of any of his family members. Several told me that they had heard rumors that the boy in question was really from Cottage City, a small semi-isolated community just a short distance away. I felt I had hit paydirt when one lifelong Mount Rainier resident, Dean Landolt (today 70 years old), candidly told me, “I was very good friends with Father Hughes, the priest involved in that case, as was my brother Herbert. Father Hughes told me two things—one was that the boy lived in Cottage City, and the other is that he went on to graduate from Gonzaga High and turned out fine.” If Mr. Landolt’s information was accurate it would explain why nobody in Mount Rainier knew the boy’s name. I felt that a serious, thorough investigation into this case was required to patch up the growing holes that were now so evident.

I went back and examined my files on this local subject. The various published writings on the 1949 possession case contained a great deal of conflicting and confusing information. Still, I felt it would be a tremendous personal challenge to conduct this investigation from an entirely different viewpoint and in October 1997 I began my pursuit. Unlike those who had tackled this case before me, I decided that I would present a completely objective and unbiased factual report on the case. In setting my investigative goals it was understood that proving whether or not the boy in this case was actually possessed was not on the agenda. I sought to explore new territories: I would examine the critical elements of the case and create a factual framework from which to work, determine who the boy was and where he actually grew up, attempt to talk with him about his experiences, and interview friends from his hometown who grew up with him or knew his family. None of this had ever been done before.

Breaking the Story of the Haunted Boy . . . Want more? Visit Strange Mag's Site

"Born To Ride" Gas Tank Cremation Urn . . .

From Ever Memories . . . A Gas Tank "Born to Ride" Motorcycle Cremation Urn is charcoal with a white flame. This unique urn is made of tough cold cast polymers, measures 12" x 9 1/2" x 9 1/4".

The winged base has a 3-1/4" X 5/8" brass name plate that you may request to have engraved. Approximately 212 cubic inchesYou will find a matching Gas Tank "Born to Ride" Keepsake Urn listed in the "Keepsake Urn" category of our website.
Okay, now here is the question I have to ask. When you are dead, aren't you "out of gas?" : )
Isn't this a dichotomy?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Who is Buried Under Grant's Tomb?

The last resting place of the 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant, and his wife on Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side has been the subject of NYC's most infamous, and silliest, riddle over the years. The correct answer is that nobody is buried under the monument...Grant and his wife are, however, entombed here and are not six feet under. (That's why it's Grant's Tomb, not Grant's Grave.)

If you take a short walk up Riverside Drive, you will find a grave here. It's a small monument surrounded by an iron fence. The story goes that St.Clair was playing on the rocks overlooking the Hudson River on the Pollock property, and fell to his death on July 15, 1797. He was five years old. When the Pollocks later sold the property, his uncle made the request that St. Clair's grave,which was on the property, would always be respected. Though this part of NYC has been through many hands since then, St. Clair's grave has always been marked. (Story found here)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Eco Friendly Cardboard Coffins

When a arranging a funeral for a close relative or friend, or just making funeral plans for the future, the thought of spending a significant sum on a traditional coffin may seem to be at odds with ‘the way they lived their life’ or to be incompatible with the environmental ethics that they tried to uphold.

A Cardboard Coffin may be the ideal solution to the problem and can be bought for use in Woodland cemeteries, Green burials, environmentally friendly funerals, or for an alternative funeral where an individual request may include a painted coffin. And, they can be purchased online . . .

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Eternal Reefs . . . Dust to Dust, Ashes to Water . . .

Eternal Reefs, Inc. creates permanent living legacies that memorialize the passing of a loved one. For families and individuals that choose cremation, Eternal Reefs offers a new memorial choice that replaces cremation urns and ash scattering with a permanent environmental living legacy.Families and friends are invited and encouraged to participate in the creation of their loved ones memorial reef. From placing your handprint in the damp concrete during the casting, making a rubbing of the bronze plaque during the viewing ceremony or placing a flag on your loved ones memorial reef during our military honors ceremony, all Eternal Reefs activities provide peace of mind for everyone involved.

As one of our family members stated, "I didn't know what to expect when burying my mother in an Eternal Reef, but the process has given me such closure. Her grandchildren helped create her memorial reef, we all took photos with her reef and wrote personal messages, some of her childhood friends even attended the dedication ceremony. She loved the ocean and now we have a place to visit her. Way to go Mom!"

Just in time for the Holidays

White oak toe-pincher with natural finish and hand-painted details, it sits in Santa's living room where he hides gifts for his wife. For more info on where to get this coffin . . . click here ; )

Beginings and Endings

You know the old sayind, "You are born to die." Cold hard fact. But there is also the saying, "You should celebrate death, and weep at a birth." Whoever "they" is, says this all the time. At any rate, this is a blog about celebrating life and death. Since I am in the "death" industry, funerals, I look at it a little different. And in doing so, this blog is for you. It's all the latest trends, where to go, how to go, and how you can choose to go. I hope you find it informative, educational and calming : )