The 5 Strangest Ways People Dispose of Their Bodies After They Die

March 27th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Death may be inevitable, but how you actually dispose of your body isn't, and there are quite a few creative options out there for you. Some alternatives to traditional burials boast positive environmental effects, while others allow you to creatively think beyond the ho-hum traditional burial or cremation.

These five death care options put the "fun" in funeral.

1. Natural burial

The natural burial movement began in 1998, when an all-natural cemetery opened in South Carolina, Mark Harris, the author of "Grave Matters: A Journey through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial," told Live Science.

Natural burials involve wrapping a body in a shroud or biodegradable casket, Live Science reported. Bodies buried naturally are not embalmed, and grave sites often serve as nature preserves and lack the concrete vaults found in conventional cemeteries.

"Most people, when they find out what happens in the embalming room, they're pretty horrified," Harris told Live Science. "They can't believe the cost, which is outrageous, and then there is this growing concern about the environmental effects of all of these procedures and of all of the goods and resources devoted to this modern method."

2. Eternal reefs

If you long to be under the sea, eternal reefs may be an attractive option for your final resting place. Your cremated remains are mixed with concrete and molded into a hollow, perforated "reef ball," which is then submerged in an area where coral reefs need restoration, Garry Rogers, a former homicide detective and forensic coroner, wrote on the Huffington Post.

The ball becomes the basis of new reef growth, attracting fish and aquatic wildlife and helping to restore a depleted marine habitat.

"Brilliantly designed, the balls are made of Ph-neutral concrete and are round, hollow, and perforated to allow the flow of water and population by marine life," Rogers wrote.

3. Plastination

Plastination preserves and hardens human tissue in silicone, epoxy, and polyester, the International Society for Plastination explained. The technique was developed by German anatomist Gunther von Hagens in 1977.

"When, as an anatomy assistant, I saw my first specimen embedded in a polymer block, I wondered why the polymer had been poured around the outside of the specimen, as having the polymer within the specimen would stabilize it from the inside out," von Hagens wrote. He began experimenting with plastinating kidneys, and fine-tuned the process in which a body or organ is immersed in three silicone baths and then cured in a laboratory kiln.

Plastinated bodies can either be donated for education or displayed in museums. Today, plastination is also used to preserve organs in medical schools, according to Live Science.

4. Fireworks

Prefer to go out with a bang? The British company Heavenly Stars Fireworks creates fireworks that scatter your ashes "to the heavens" in what the website describes as "the finest explosions." Heavenly Stars Fireworks offers single rockets and higher-end packages in a variety of opulent colors, "incorporating gold tails to green peonies, crackling dragon eggs and red and blue chrysanthemum bursts."

You can read reviews from satisfied customers — survivors of the deceased — on the company's testimonials page. They capture the solemnity of loss and the coolness of a fireworks display in somewhat equal measure.

"We cannot begin to tell you how epic the whole thing was," Sue and Kate wrote. "The firework has been all anyone has talked about since. Thank you so much for helping us choose our special tribute to a wonderful man."

5. A vinyl record

This jam sesh we call life must eventually come to an end. Thanks to a company called And Vinyly, you can keep rocking long after you've danced off your mortal coil. The company presses your ashes into a vinyl record, onto which you can memorialize an original song, a recording of yourself speaking or reading your will, or a three-minute sample of any music you like, from reggae to ambient.

Album art is also available from James Hague and Paul Insect, who use your ashes to create a rendering of yourself. You can even take part in the process antemortem by attending a record mastering session and by offering input on the songs and cover art before you hit the permanent pause button.