While most of us try to get on with our life ignoring the fact that one day we are definitely going to die at some point, in the US and Puerto Rico, a rising trend has made shuffling off these mortal coils look like an absolute riot.
This is all thanks to what’s been dubbed ‘extreme embalming’, whereby the deceased is injected with a chemical fluid to make them totally rigid, before being displayed in real-life positions as requested by their family.
And we’re not talking about the old hands across the chest kinda scenario. In Channel 5’s Extreme Embalmers documentary, about the trend for ‘lifelike’ funerals, corpses are shown to be in all sorts of positions, from drinking beer and playing poker to being posed up in superhero gear.
Marin Funeral Home in Puerto Rico has become a bit of a pit-stop shop for these unique memorial arrangements, which have included one particular motorist enthusiast propped up on his bike, as well as a cabbie who was given the send-off by being placed in front of the wheel (of a motionless car, obvs).
Although you might question this rather unusual craze, at least it gives the family and friends a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones in the way they’d want them to be remembered.
Although it will set you back – while it only costs around £500 to have a body embalmed, in these more specific instances, £2,000 is a more realistic bill.
Felix Cruz – an embalmer who arranged the poker-themed death scene – explained how he did it:
I injected different parts of the body with different formulas of embalming fluid.
For the hand I injected formaldehyde, put the fingers apart and inserted the cards.
I used a pipe to maintain the head and neck in position, inside the body.
Last year, Mickey Easterling’s family had her embalmed in a similar way when she passed, having her sat down in her feather boa, with a glass of champagne in one hand and a cig in the other – giving the famous socialite one last party.
Yes, it’s an unusual craze. But it definitely doesn’t trump this tribe’s methods in Indonesia, whereby the dead are dug up, dressed in smart outfits and pictured smoking in what can only be described as some seriously creepy family photos.