Josh Slocum takes to the Washington Post to explain to us, in his characteristically hornet-like way, what the problem is with putting dead bodies in boxes and then storing them in buildings above ground.
You’ve never heard of exploding casket syndrome (ask your mortician if it’s right for you), but funeral directors and cemetery operators have. They sell so-called “protective” or “sealer” caskets at a premium worth hundreds of dollars each, with the promise that they’ll keep out air and moisture that — they would have you believe — cause bodies to rapidly deteriorate. Like Tupperware for the dead, they “lock in the freshness!” with a rubber gasket.
Ah but if you lock it in, then…well we can see where this is going.
The caskets can explode, and the rotting goo oozes out.
There’s no way of telling how common exploding caskets are, since no official agencies are charged with tracking the problem. But as head of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, I frequently hear from families around the country who have sued cemeteries and funeral homes for exploding caskets or have caught mausoleums secretly propping open caskets to prevent a gas buildup. Whole product lines have been created to keep your relatives’ remains from tarnishing the fine establishments they inhabit. There’s Kryprotek, a plastic lining that surrounds caskets to enclose their leaky contents. Andthere’s Ensure-A-Seal, essentially a bag for a box, which recently ran this advertisement in a funeral trade magazine:
Let Nature Take Its Course
We know what happens after the crypt is sealed. Your clients do not know, or do not want to know . . . Don’t let natural processes destroy your facility’s reputation.
At bottom, the problem is fraud. Casket-makers and funeral homes know sealer caskets don’t preserve bodies, yet too many peddle lies about the preserving powers of overpriced boxes to grieving people whose emotions are easily manipulated.
In short? Bodies decay. Expensive boxes and bags can’t prevent that. A company that tells you it can is trying to defraud you. There ain’t no effective Tupperware for the dead.