​With ‘Extreme Embalming’ Dead Bodies Can Attend Their Own Funerals

We're used to seeing all kinds of weird trends cropping up, whether that involves turning your eyebrows into bows or some bizarre new dance move we're all supposed to master.

But arguably none are more baffling than something that's been dubbed 'extreme embalming' in which dead bodies are preserved and displayed in life-like scenarios so that friends and family can see them as they knew and loved them before they're eventually laid to rest.

The trend was featured in a Channel 5 documentary called Extreme Embalming, which explored the increasing popularity of 'lifelike' funerals in the USA and the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, and featured interviews with families and funeral directors.

An embalmed body, posed next to a can of beer at her funeral. Credit: Channel 5
An embalmed body, posed next to a can of beer at her funeral. Credit: Channel 5

Spot the odd one out. Credit: Channel 5
Spot the odd one out. Credit: Channel 5

The unconventional practice had risen to prominence in Puerto Rico, before spreading out to the likes of New Orleans and Ohio as a means of giving people more of a celebratory send-off.

Last August, the family of American socialite Mickey Easterling decided to go for the 'extreme embalming' approach for her memorial.

She was posed sitting down in her trademark signature feather boa - a glass of Champagne in one hand, a cigarette in the other - just as she was known while alive.

Mickey Easterling at her memorial service. Credit: CNN
Mickey Easterling at her memorial service. Credit: CNN

Easterling had apparently told her daughter she wanted her memorial to be one last chance for her to throw a party, meaning she could be the glamorous hostess, even in her afterlife.

"It was a very nice party, actually," funeral director Patrick Schoen told VICE.

"She was kind of set back a little bit from us, almost like a stage setting, with orchids all around her to make it look like she was in a garden.

"She had a little bucket next to her with the champagne bottle in it, and a pink boa on her. Her hairdresser came and did her hair. She was in all her designer clothes."

Another New Orleans resident, 18-year-old Renard Matthews, enjoyed a similar treatment for his funeral just months before.

After being fatally shot in June 2018 while walking his dog, Renard's mother Temeka decided her son deserved a special, non-traditional send-off.

Telling WGNO Renard was 'a bit of a homebody' who was a huge fan of the Bolton Celtics, the family positioned him at the funeral home seated in a chair in front of the TV playing NBA2K.

He was also wearing a Kyrie Irving Celtics jersey with matching socks, and had a bag of Doritos and a root beer on the table beside him.

Reckon you'd want to receive a similar fate?

Featured Image Credit: Channel 5

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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