Haruki Murakami said it best, “Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it,” and as many of us get older, we begin to make preparations for the day that is sure to come. While many leave instructions as to how they’d like their funeral to go, some go into specific detail and share everything from what they want to wear to where they’d like their final resting place to be. There are those who want to be buried on their property or scattered across an ocean, but there are also some people who leave bizarre requests. Here’s a list of the strangest burial requests that may inspire you to think bigger.
1. Sent to Space
Gordon Cooper was an Air Force pilot, aerospace engineer and the youngest of the seven astronauts in Project Mercury, America’s first human space program. He died in 2004, but not before expressing his wish to be scattered in space. His request would be honored but little did people know how difficult it would be to do so. In 2007, a portion of his ashes as well as a few other astronauts were sent to space on a suborbital flight, but it fell back to Earth and wasn’t found until many weeks had passed. In 2008, another portion was sent on a rocket but was destroyed when the rocket failed shortly after takeoff. In 2012, more ashes were sent to space, and this time, it was a success. They remained there for approximately one month before burning up when it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere.
2. Mixed Into Ink
Mark Gruenwald was a comic book writer who is best remembered for creating one of Marvel Comics’ most successful characters, Captain America. Much like his superhero, Gruenwald’s life came to an end in 1996 after he suffered a heart attack due to congenital heart defect. Before his death, Gruenwald left very clear instructions on what to do with him once he’d departed and his request would be fulfilled. The writer’s ashes were mixed into ink and used in the first paperback edition of Squadron Supreme. Only 4000 copies were printed and they’re worth a pretty penny today.
3. Poured Into a Can of Pringles
Fredric Baur was an organic chemist and food storage scientist who is best remembered for developing freeze-dried ice cream and creating the tubular container for Pringles potato chips. When he died in 2008, his children followed his wishes to be buried in an original flavor Pringles container, which would obviously be too small. The rest of his remains were put into an urn and buried alongside the can.
4. Used as a Prop
There are quite a few people who like their body to be donated to a cause like medical research or as organ donors, but Polish pianist Andre Tchaikovsky took things a step further. In his will, the composer requested that his body be donated to science and his skull be sent to the Royal Shakespeare Company in the hopes that it be used in a Hamlet production. Tchaikovsky died in 1982 but it wasn’t until 2008 that someone felt comfortable enough to use it, and that was David Tennant. Initially, the public was told that the pianist’s skull was switched for a fake, but it turned out to be false.
5. Shot Out of a Cannon
Hunter S. Thompson was an American journalist who spent a year with the notorious motorcycle gang, Hells Angels. His articles with the bikers skyrocketed him to stardom and after suffering several health conditions, Thompson took his life in 2005. The 67-year-old left a note expressing that he’d lived longer than he wanted. At a private funeral, paid for by friend Johnny Depp, and attended by Sean Penn, Jack Nicholson and Bill Murray, Thompson’s ashes were fired out of a cannon that he designed. Some were even mixed into the fireworks that went off during the funeral.
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