The future of funerals: melting bodies with lye
An article on Newsvine
nicely illuminates its readers on the future of corpse disposal: melted in a vat of lye into a brown, feculent sludge, then flushed down the toilet.
Since they first walked the planet, humans have either buried or burned their dead. Now a new option is generating interest – dissolving bodies in lye and flushing the brownish, syrupy residue down the drain.
The process is called alkaline hydrolysis and was developed in this country 16 years ago to get rid of animal carcasses. It uses lye, 300-degree heat and 60 pounds of pressure per square inch to destroy bodies in big stainless-steel cylinders that are similar to pressure cookers.
Getting the public to accept a process that strikes some as ghastly may be the biggest challenge. Psychopaths and dictators have used acid or lye to torture or erase their victims, and legislation to make alkaline hydrolysis available to the public in New York state was branded "Hannibal Lecter's bill" in a play on the sponsor's name – Sen. Kemp Hannon – and the movie character's sadism.
This quote from a Catholic priest is priceless:
"We believe this process, which enables a portion of human remains to be flushed down a drain, to be undignified," said Patrick McGee, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester.
Frankly, I'm hard pressed to think of anything more undigniified than the current funeral industry, which makes a point of bilking grieving family members with cheap caskets marked up by maudlin sentimentality and insinuating branding. You can flush me down the toilet for all I care, just as long as my widow doesn't need to decide whether or not she loved me enough to spend another $10,000 on the "Cherished Forever" casket.
New idea in mortuary science: dissolving bodies with lye
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