confined and stimulated

A while back my mother sent me a copy of  Cowgirls, Cockroaches and Celebrity Lingerie which is about unusual museums. Reading about museums that specialise in funeral history made me think about curious coffins and rituals pertaining to death.

if you like the feeling of being enveloped, then perhaps the cocoon is for you. It has “noble lining and is a real unicum” I don’t know what that means but it sounds cosy doesn’t it?


Most people don’t want to think about their own death, or the death of someone they love. Ease yourself into this delicate subject by contemplating a final resting place for the next spider you clout with a hammer. Perhaps your conscience would be eased if you give him a decent burial?


we’ve talked about the fear of being buried alive before on the gimcrack but not with as much detail as this article from Snopes

“In 1995 a $5000.00 Italian casket equipped with call-for-help ability and survival kit went on sale. akin to the beeping devices which alert others to the plight of an elderly person who has fallen and can’t get up, this casket is equipped with a beeper which will sound a similar emergency signal. The coffins are also fitted with a two way microphone/speaker to enable communication between the occupant and someone outside, and a kit which includes a torch, an oxygen tank and a heart stimulator.”

I don’t have an image of that state of the art receptacle but instead here’s one of my favourite works by Rene Magritte (found here)


Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 8:10 am  Comments (28)  

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28 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s a great painting!

    If I have an extra $5,000 when I go I’ll definitely opt for that Italian job (just in case).

  2. I usually give the household livestock a decent burial at sea. Or the toilet, whichever is nearer.

  3. I leave spider splats – legs and all – stuck to the wall a few days. Warns away their nasty little friends…

  4. Daisyfae – I like your style of housekeeping 🙂

  5. I lurve Magritte – full of really interesting ideas. His paintings don’t stand up to too close a scrutiny though – always more interested in the concept than the execution which I thoroughly approve of ……

  6. I remember reading that Magritte was violently traumatized while still five or six by the death of his depressed and chronically suicidal mother who threw herself in the Seine one night — I gather it wasn’t the first time — he arrived at the scene as she was fished out dead. It gives a whole extra dimension to that image.

    • It was actually the River Sambre. And he was actually 13. Magritte was Belgian, not French. But we get the idea.

  7. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Premature Burial and Fall of the House of Usher thoroughly creeped me out when I was a wee lad. What’s interesting is that the fear of being buried alive was actually very common in Poe’s day; so much so that waiting mortuaries were fairly widespread. To me, the image of a large hall full of rotting corpses with bells attached to them to alert attendants of any motion is much, much creepier than any fiction about being buried alive, probably because I can’t help imagining myself as being one of the attendants! >(

  8. I prefer cremation. Either that or just dump my body in the woods and let the wolves take care of it.

  9. I defy anyone to read this article and not prefer either cremation or being devoured by wolves!

    Really interesting article Toby.

  10. Hello? Tony? I’d like a large Pepperoni, hold the onions, and couple of beers. What? You don’t deliver to cemeteries? Damn you to hell!

  11. I’ve never understood the need for a coffin. The worms git ya anyway. On the Body Farm they just leave them to rot out in the open for all the little CSI’s to see what happens.

  12. In much of North America, there are many places where laws exist requiring coffins for burial and catafalques (a sort of backless coffin) for cremation. In Florida, I believe, it was until recently illegal to cremate an uncoffined corpse. These laws exist because of the astounding lobbying power of the mortuary industry.

    Me, I’m with C. Fraser. Though it’s untidy. Perhaps just burying me as I arrived in this world is too much to hope for?

    In that case, I want my cremains to be moulded into a 3-inch-diameter suppository and administered to Rush Limbaugh or other repellant goon daily until I wear entirely away.

    Or possibly, and far more pleasantly, I could be snuggled into the cleavage of whichever movie star catches my attention just prior to the final event.

  13. Metro, have you seen Sean Henry’s Catafalque?

  14. I’m not sure Pabst is a good enough beer to be on a custom coffin.

  15. Just cover me in vodka and cremate me please

  16. Seriously, as much as I love Monsieur Magritte, I do not want to be buried sitting up. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t even want to be cremated sitting up.

  17. But what if you could be cremated sitting up at a mah jong table?

  18. This would be wonderful to put the inlaws in and then set a small TV just outside of it with their favorite show on…

  19. It would be nice to be buried in a position of lounging.

  20. I hope my death leaves no doubt in anyone mind’s that I am truly and utterly deceased, that when people find my body (or what’s left of it) they say “Yup, no chance in hell are we burying this guy alive.”

    That or I want to die during sex.

  21. Okay, that’s creepy in every way, shape, and form. Funeral parlor owners are especially creepy to me.

    Enough said.

    Thomas 🙂

  22. So I guess you aren’t a fan of “6 Feet Under”?

  23. Hi Ya N.M!

    Lets see- one of the oddest caskets I’ve seen had a leather look finish and the Harley Davidson Logo stamped on the lid in metal work and it’s a shame it’s going to wind up in the ground because somebody somewhere puts alot of fine work into that detailing.

    Oddest looking urn for cremains goes to the little brass golf bag.

    Tell your friend Thomas I was a Funeral Director- and I’m quite the little sunbeam on my better days

  24. AM – you’ll always be a little sunbeam to me 🙂

  25. >>But what if you could be cremated sitting up at a mah jong table?

    Only if I had three good players go with me.

  26. 🙂

  27. I’m with Toby, definitely either cremation or being eaten by wolves. No use taking up space when you’re dead. And I love “Six Feet Under.” Since I don’t have cable TV, I had to get it from Netflix.

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