A History of Cremations
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A History of Cremations
The history of cremation, throughout the ages.
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Celebrities who Chose Cremation

Celebrities who Chose Cremation | A History of Cremations | Scoop.it

Cremation is not only becoming popular locally and religiously. The process has been very popular amongst some of the world’s most popular people; our celebrities! Here’s a list of five of some of the world’s most famous people who were cremated.

 

 

Albert Einstein was cremated. He passed away in 1955 at the age of 76. His wish was to be cremated and have his ashes scattered. That wish was granted. His ashes were scattered in an unspecified river that was located in New Jersey. However, his entire body wasn’t cremated. Before his cremation, Dr. Thomas Harvey removed his brain for scientific study. Apparently, no permission was given by Einstein or his family to remove the brain. Dr. Harvey was a pathologist at Princeton Hospital and was fired from his position once he refused to return the brain. Nobody could track down the missing brain after that, until 1978. A reporter named Steven Levy decided to track down the brain. He discovered that Dr. Harvey still had the genius brain and kept it in two mason jars in his home in Wichita, Kansas. In 1998, Harvey returned the brain back to the Princeton Hospital.

 

John F. Kennedy JR. was cremated. Kennedy passed away in 1999 in a horrific plane crash. The plane was destroyed in a collision with water. The plane hit the water on at an 80 degree angle at a rate of descent that exceeded 4,700 feet per minute. The next day, the plane was located under about 116 feet of water. At around 4:30 PM on July 20, 1999 John’s body was pulled out of the collision. His body was cremated on July 21, in the Mayflower Cemetery crematorium. The following morning, his ashes were spread from a warship, the Navy Destroyer USS Briscoe, off of the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Janis Joplin was cremated. She was known for her breathtaking voice and innovative sound. She passed away at the age of 27, due to a drug overdose. She didn’t show up to Sunset Sound Recorders one day for a recording session, which worried her producer. Apparently, this type of behavior was not like her. On October 4, 1970, her manager John Cooke drove to the hotel Janis was staying at, the Landmark Hotel. He found her body lying on the floor beside her bed. Her death was officially caused by an overdose of heroin. On October 10th, Joplin was cremated at Westwood Memorial Park. Her ashes were scattered at Stinson Beach, which is located in Marin County.

 

The John Lennon, famous for being a member of the Beatles and later being an antiwar activist, was cremated. Lennon passed away on December 8th, 1980 in the presence of his wife Yoko. On the day he passed away, Lennon and Yoko were returning back into their home in The Dakota, which was an apartment building located in Manhattan. They were nearing the entrance when a man, Mark David Chapman, called his name. Lennon turned as Chapman fired five shots. Lennon was shot. Lennon rushed into the building yelling that he was shot. Two police cars arrived and one took Lennon the Roosevelt Hospital. He passed away during transit. He was 40 years old when he passed away. He was cremated on December 10th and his ashes were then given back to his wife, Yoko.

 

Heath Ledger, a famous actor known for starring in various movies, was cremated. He passed away at the age of 28 due to the abuse of prescription drugs. He was found unconscious in his bed, in his home at around 2:45 on January 22, 2008 by house housekeeper. Emergency medical technicians arrived at the scene at around 3:30, but they were not able to revive him. A few minutes later, he was pronounced dead and was removed from his apartment. The cause of death was concluded to be an accidental abuse of over 6 kinds of prescription medicines. After two funeral services, first a public funeral and then a private funeral, his body was cremated at the Fremantle Cemetery in his homeland of Perth, Australia. His ashes were scattered on the family plot at Karrakatta Cemetery next to both of his grandparents.

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Cremation Laws In South Korea

Cremation Laws In South Korea. In 2000, South Korea passed a law saying that any deceased person buried in any year after 2000 was to be dug up 60 years after their burial date.
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Christian Views on Cremation

Christian Views on Cremation | A History of Cremations | Scoop.it

Cremation is no new practice. It has been around for thousands of years. However, acceptance of the practice has only recently occurred. Throughout the ages there are a multitude of beliefs held about cremation, all within the Christian community. Some beliefs are strictly biblically based while other beliefs seem to be more culturally based. No matter where the belief comes from, in Christian history the practice was completely condemned. Burial was absolutely the preferred method of disposal of bodies after death. Christians strongly believe in resurrection after death leading to an after-life. They believed that cremation hindered the body’s pathway to resurrection which is why Christian’s were so concerned with the proper method for burial. They believed that because every human was created by God, each body was made in his image. To honor their God meant they needed to honor their bodies. They saw bodies as vessels of honor because the Holy Sprit dwelt within the body. So burning a body in which the Holy Spirit dwelt within was seen as an ultimate disrespect.

 

This is why the belief in burial as the proper way to dispose of the body was held throughout Christian branches in these days. Even Christ himself was buried after death. Burying the dead was a staple of the Christian community for years because they found that burying the dead was a more loving way to dispose of the body, honoring both the body and God. Cremation was reserved as a form of punishment, used for criminals, or enemies. It was also used to rid those of evil. Those suffering from contagious diseases were burned to rid of the disease. For example, in Leviticus 21:9 it says that if a priest’s daughter becomes a prostitute then she “must be burned in the fire.” It is seen in this scripture that burning a body to its ashes was used as punishment and to rid of an evil. This scripture clearly shows that burning would be used as a punishment, which is why to honor a body after death they would never use cremation. Cremation as part of a funeral service was actually banned. However, this scripture referred to burning a body that was still alive. It does not talk of burning a body that had already reached death. That means that there is no conclusive biblical evidence that states that cremation should not be used as a burial method.

 

In fact, nowhere in the Bible does it say exactly what the proper method for burial would be after someone has already reached death. It does not say that cremation is sin or that it should not be practiced. Because of this lack of hard biblical evidence supporting the belief that cremation was unreligious, as time changed so did the belief about cremation. Crematories began coming about in the 1800’s. The very first church in the Christian community to allow cremation was a Protestant church. While this branch of Christianity took the leap into the future, other branches were slowly dipping their toes. This was because funeral services were part of Christian tradition. It wasn’t until 1963 that cremation became “permitted” in the religion. In 1963, the Holy Office lifted the ban on cremation. However, they only approved of the practice after a traditional funeral service. In 1983, a revision in the Code of Canon Law stated that while the traditional burial service was favored, the Church did not forbid cremation under certain circumstances. Up until 1997 in the United States, remains of a cremated person were not to be brought into the church for the funeral mass. In 1997, permission was granted by the Holy See to U.S. bishops to allow the presence of cremated remains in funeral Masses.

 

Since 1997, there has been a larger movement for acceptance of cremation in the Christian community. The strong belief that cremation was sin wasn’t backed behind strong biblical evidence. The truth is that natural processes would eventually turn the body into ash and mineral compounds anyways. Cremation only speeds up that process. Not to mention, God is almighty and is more than capable to resurrect a person from any substance. The change in perspective on cremation throughout different religions has allowed cremation to make its presence in our culture. Currently, there are thousands of cremation services worldwide. While cremation is now accepted in Christianity, it is no secret that traditional funeral services are still preferred. Traditional funeral services are a part of the Christian culture. However, cremation is slowly making its way into that culture.

 

Modern Christians now view cremation as an ecological, therapeutic and economical option. Cremations cost a fraction of what traditional funeral services charge, which makes the services less materialistic. With cremation services, they are no longer confined to seeing their loved one in one particular space. Cremation saves up land usage while creating a portable gravesite. Cremation is spreading and Christians are slowly catching onto the flow. It is important for all Christians to remember that God is almighty and cremation does not stand in the way of his power nor it is against his wishes. Cremation has been around for thousands of years. The difference between now and then is that now most parts of Christianity now permit cremation in funeral masses.

 

Credited Resources:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/may21/27.66.html?start=1
http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1097.asp
http://www.equip.org/articles/is-cremation-christian/

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5 Wild Things That Can be Done with Cremated Ashes

5 Wild Things That Can be Done with Cremated Ashes | A History of Cremations | Scoop.it

Out of all the things you can read about on the Internet, prepare yourself to read some of the strangest, wackiest and interesting options for cremation. At one point, the practice of cremation itself was seen as crazy and wild. Nowadays, its popularity is rising and it is becoming part of our culture. Because of that, the definition of wild has been changed. Here are 5 wild things you can do with the ashes of a loved one that are all truly memorable.

1) Baby, you’re a firework! Literally…. We’re not just talking about a Katy Perry song here. Your loved one can be actually made into a firework. A portion of your loved one’s ashes is placed into the mixture of specially modified fireworks. Some services carry you out onto a boat and conduct an entire funeral service. After, the family of the deceased can watch their loved one’s remains scatter in color, and fall into the ocean. Some offer a few options including spectacular firework displays and even simple self-fired rockets that can be shot off at home.

2) Need a pencil? Here’s grandma! Your loved one can be made into pencils. An artist named Nadine Jarvis is the product designer for this idea. He has created a way to turn a loved one into pencils, around 240 to give you an idea. These pencils would be stamped with the deceased person’s name and their birth date and death date. They are created from the carbon left in the remains of a cremated body. Once the pencils are created, they are placed into a box. This box includes its own sharpener and a dispenser that only allows you to use one pencil at a time. There is also a window on the edge of the box that lets you view the inside to see how many pencils are left. The pencil shavings from sharpening the pencil are stored in the box, occupying the pencil’s previous home. Because the shavings include the remains of the body, eventually the shavings fill up the entire box, transforming it into an urn.

3) I love you to the moon and back! You can shoot your loved one out into outerspace. This process can be as inexpensive as $650 and as expensive as $13,000. The pricing all depends on what kind of service you choose and the amount of remains sent up to space. The basic process of launching your loved ones ashes to space begins with placing a portion of those ashes into a sealed flight container. Next, the container is placed on an aircraft. Some companies have their own aircrafts while other companies tag along other commercial flights. The least expensive services carry your loved one into space, orbit the moon and then bring them back down to earth. Other services take your loved ones remains into space and place them into orbit. Whether that is Earth’s orbit or the moon’s orbit is entirely up to you. The remains could stay in orbit from 10-240 years. Some services have future plans to launch cremated remains into deep space, passing our solar system.

4) Sparky the trusty dog never has to leave. Now, the remains of your puppy or loved one can be made into a stuffed animal. This option is very popular among pet lovers who just don’t want to say goodbye, but don’t really want to have their puppy stuffed either. For a deceased puppy, a stuffed puppy could be made to house its ashes. The same rule of thumb applies to just about any animal whether that is a cat, rabbit or hamster. This method can also be used for a family member. Depending on what type of stuffed animal you choose, you can have up to one cup of the remains put inside of the stuffed animal. The process begins by shipping the remains of the deceased to the service chosen. They then combine the remains with certain substances (this varies by service) and place them into a permanently sealed container, so that there isn’t any chance of spillage or leakage. It is then imbedded into the stuffed animal and shipped back to you.

5) Hang me up to dry! There are services offering portrait productions for your loved one. They offer hand painted portraits, in which the paint is made from the remains of your loved one. Some services offer to sketch your loved one, in which the ashes are scattered on paper and kept in place by a strong layer of glaze. This portrait can be of anything from a picture of your loved one, a family picture or a picture of a special place. It can be anything you want it to be, whether you want a sketch of a photograph or an entirely fantasized portrait. Some services offer digitally created pictures, meaning computer-made versus handmade portraits. The price for something like that could be as little as 100 dollars. You mail the remains of your loved one to the service you choose and once finished, they send back your portrait.

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Liquid Cremations

Liquid Cremations | A History of Cremations | Scoop.it

You could almost mistake the definition of controversial to be the definition of cremation. Cremation has forever been a source for turbulence throughout its history. For the 20,000 years of its existence, its acceptance wasn’t granted until the 1870’s in America. The traditional cremation process entails burning a body at very high temperatures until all that remains are mineral compounds and ash. These remains look like dust and can be stored in virtually anything or scattered in certain areas. Once we thought the controversy of cremation was over, a new branch of the practice has come about.

Liquid cremation has sparked another wave of battle throughout the United States. Liquid cremation, alkaline hydrolysis, is a process of burning a body at high temperatures until the body is reduced to liquid and soft calcium. Alkaline hydrolysis requires the body to be placed into a machine called the Resonator, which is heated to about 180 degrees Celsius and filled with water and potassium hydroxide. Pollutants stored in the body such as mercury are extracted, making an eco-friendly mixture. The bone remains are turned to ash and can be given back to the deceased person’s family. The liquid, greenish-brown mixture is then poured into sewage systems. This process claims to pose no harm to the environment. Alkaline Hydrolysis is claimed to use less energy than cremation. Because mercury is extracted from the remains, it is not released into the atmosphere. It is also environmentally friendly because there is no major consumption of landmass, unlike the usage associated with traditional burials. With alkaline hydrolysis, fewer trees are used up because there is no need for caskets. So what’s the big controversy over something that poses no ecological harm? The issue is a moral, religious and political one.

Various religions have only recently accepted traditional cremation. With the new liquid cremation process, a familiar controversy was once again ignited. While the Catholic Church has recently permitted traditional cremation, the idea of liquid cremation is currently absolutely opposed to. The Catholic religion is firm on their belief of resurrection after death. They believe that there is a proper way to dispose of the body because the body is part of that resurrection. Liquefying the body is seen as an extreme disrespect let alone the manner in which the remains are disposed of. Because the bodies are poured down the sewer system, it is seen as a dishonor to their God. God gifted them with life in a uniquely personalized body. Once life has gone, the body should still be honored. Flushing away the remains of a deceased body is seen as the ultimate dishonor. Other religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, strongly disapprove of alkaline hydrolysis. Their opposition for traditional cremation is evident throughout history. This new form of cremation creates no different opinion.

Religious convictions aren’t the only issues existing with liquid cremation. Political leaders throughout the nation are skeptical about the practice. The practice itself is very young. The very first bio-cremation occurred in 1998. Because of its young age, some scientists are skeptical of its true potential health risks to the environment. In 2010, California assemblyman Jeff Miller proposed a bill to legalize the practice of liquid cremation. When Miller was confronted questions from scientists that he did not have the answer to, his proposal was removed. The lack of stability in liquid cremation was reflected throughout politics in most states. In Ohio, one man who practiced liquid cremation in his own funeral home became a lone ranger in the practice. Once he, Jeff Edwards, hit his 19 performance of the practice, Ohio lawmakers began to question the morality of it. They soon quit issuing permits for the practice. This type of questioning began to occur in states around the nation from Nevada to New Hampshire. Lawmakers and citizens were all skeptical of alkaline hydrolysis. However, this didn’t stop the battle for legality.

In 2011, California’s Jeff Miller, after meeting with various scientists and water quality officials, redirected his proposal addressing safety concerns and other scientific questions he couldn’t answer in his previous proposal. Jeff Edwards, the Ohio funeral home owner, placed a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Health because of their refusal to issue permits for alkaline hydrolysis. Steps from various persons of importance have taken place to legalize the practice. As have steps been taken to ban the practice altogether. Currently, there are 8 states that have legalized the practice of liquid cremations, not including Ohio or California. There are 19 states currently in anticipation of legislative decisions and 23 states with no legislative activity what so ever.

While there are many proactive steps being taken by scientists, politicians and funeral home owners around the nation to legalize the practice of cremation nationwide, there are many others who are battling to ban it entirely. As for now, the possible eco-friendly method for disposal waves in the air, waiting for its moment to land. Cremation currently remains a topic for controversy and may remain so for the next 20,000 years.

 

 

 

 

 

http://environment.about.com/od/greenlivingdesign/a/Alkaline-Hydrolysis-A-Green-Alternative-To-Burial.htm

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/03/v-fullstory/2879734/controversy-arising-over-liquid.html

biocremationinfo.com/Portals/0/Thegameischanging.pdf

http://biocremationinfo.com/legislative.aspx

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/14/california-lawmaker-tries-legalize-liquid-cremation-safety-concerns-raised/

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A History of Cremations

A History of Cremations | A History of Cremations | Scoop.it

Life and death. The two are the basis on our existence. We are born into life and ended with death and these occurrences are celebrated in each culture. There are certain rituals performed when a life has been born into the world, depending on that culture’s preferences. The same applies to death. All over the world, throughout time there are dozens of different practices used to pass a life on into the next chapter. Cremation is one of them and is one of the oldest and most controversial.

 

Cremation is a process of using very high temperature burning, vaporization or oxidation to break down bones into basic compounds, primarily mineral fragments or ash. This practice dates back as far as 20,000 years ago in Mungo, Australia. Remains of a body that was partly cremated were found on Mungo Lake. They named this finding the “Mungo Lady”. Although the body was only partly cremated, it shows that there was a history of cremation even 20,000 years ago. That’s one old lady!

As time progressed and the Mungo Lady aged, so did the practice of Cremation in certain areas. During the Neolithic period in the Middle East and Europe, cremations were present in archeological records dating back to 2,000 B.C.. Early persians and Phoenicians practiced cremation as well. However, throughout this practice’s history there has been skeptics of the practice. Different Persian leaders outlawed the practice of cremation during the Zoroastrian period. Persians weren’t the only ones with mixed feelings about cremation. From 3000 B.C to 12,000 B.C., Greeks disapproved of the practice until around 12,000 B.C. when they began to use cremation as a way to honor those who served their country in the military. There are records of cremation throughout various cultures in these ancient days. From the Bronze Age’s Urnfield culture to the Iron Age’s Villanovan culture, cremation was spreading far. The practice of cremation began to rise, but that rise hit the ceiling. In the middle ages, Europe made cremation illegal and punishable by death in some cases. It became more of a punishment in that area instead of a way to honor one’s life. It was being used to punish those who committed crimes and to rid of those suffering from contagious diseases. Soon, cremation became less of a government controversy and began to become more of an ethical and religious dilemma.

 

Some religions did not believe in the practice. Jehovah’s Witnesses absolutely disagreed with cremation, saying that it was “not condemned by Jehovah”. The Roman Catholic Church strongly discouraged the practice of cremation. They found the body to be a strong part of holy, human life and that once life passed from it, it should be preserved in a way that would honor the body without harming it any further. Judaism also discouraged the practice of cremation because in their religion it was required to bury the dead. Christians had consistently, throughout the ages been against the cremation, believing that it would hinder the ability for Christ to resurrect the person. These beliefs about cremation throughout these religions were kept for hundreds of years.

 

As the years rolled by and times changed, so did the belief from certain religions on cremation. Jewish cemeteries in Europe towns were running out of room to house the deceased. They turned to cremation. Nowadays, cremation is no longer explicitly banned from the religion. Although it is now practiced by Jewish people, the religion still discourages the practice and prefers traditional burials instead because of what their people had endured during the Holocaust. During the 1870’s, even some Christians began to change their minds about cremation. The first Christians to begin the practice of cremations were the Protestants, who slowly started to permit the practice in their church. They stated that, “God could resurrect a bowl of ashes as well as he could resurrect a bowl of dust.” Roman Catholics who strictly forbade the practice of cremation have just recently changed their restrictions. The Vatican removed the ban on practicing cremation in the religion. They changed some of their funeral rituals so that cremation could be an option. Jehovah’s witnesses have also turned a new page. They now do not outlaw cremation completely how they did in the past. Eventually the body turns to dust, so speeding up that process through cremation is no longer looked at so negatively by them. These new beliefs on cremation sparked a very bright flame throughout the world. Soon enough, crematories began spurting out of the ground at just the right time. The world at this time was a sponge for new ideas and absorbed them receptively. Once crematories made their first appearance, they spread like wildfire.

 

Cremation as we know it today began its shaping in the 1800’s. While few cremations were acknowledged, legitimate crematories started coming about in the 1870’s. In England in 1874, Queen Victoria’s surgeon, Sir Henry Thomas and his colleagues created The Cremation Society of England. Because of the research done in this society, crematories were soon to be put in place. In 1878, the first crematories in Europe were opened up in Woking, England and Gotha, Germany. This fever for crematories didn’t only exist in Europe. It found its way into North America. In 1876, Dr. Julius Leymone built the first crematory in North America in Washington, Pennsylvania. Crematories contagiously sprang up throughout the rest of America and by the 1900’s, there were over 20 crematories in operation. These forefather crematories were contagious in other parts of the country as well. Nowadays, there are thousands of crematories throughout America just as other countries do. Cremation made its presence noticed in America and is now becoming part of our country and culture. Some sectors in our U.S. Military use cremation services to honor their members. Because of its affordability, people on tight budgets turn to cremation services instead of funeral services. Cremation services cost a fraction of what traditional funeral services charge. People looking for alternative placement of their loved ones choose cremation because of the doors it opens. They can have their loved one held in urns which are entirely portable, in pendants and even jewelry. Cremation is now viewed in most cultures as a ritual used to pass the deceased onto their next chapters. All over the physical world, crematories and cremation services are embraced. Our virtual world, on the internet, houses cremation services. We welcome life with a celebration and now, despite the rocky uprise of cremation services, we can end it with a celebration through cremation.

 

Credited Resources:

http://thefuneralsource.org/trad0201.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation#History
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/Deuternomy-18-20-general.htm
http://www.beingjewish.com/soul/burial.html

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