Cost-cutting with a do-it-yourself cremation method qualifies as beyond bad. It’s terrible because of the work involved. It’s dangerous. And in many places, it’s illegal.

In the Chinese province of Zhejiang, two brothers recently tried to save money by cremating their father’s body. They transported the deceased to a local dump, where they torched the body with gasoline then left it to burn. The Chinese authorities took the brothers into custody for unlawful disposal of a human body.

Do-it-yourself human remains processing covers more than cremation.

Forbes magazine article by Gordon G. Chang reported that dead humans and animals polluted Chinese waterways.

Most of these disposal ideas stem from a lack of money. Some occur to hide murders or other crimes. Whatever the reason, a do-it-yourself human body disposal spreads disease and can even cause immediate danger in terms of how one disposes of a body.  People involved in the scheme could drown in raging rivers. They could light themselves on fire.

Which brings us to another do-it-yourself death ritual that many people find fascinating and mistake for being cost-effective: the Viking funeral.

The Glory of a Viking Goodbye

The Viking funeral has been portrayed in history and the arts as a noble rite of passage for Viking warriors. Warring Viking souls congregate in a wild afterlife hall known as Valhalla, ruled by the Norse God Odin. Before they arrive at the hall, their death ritual involves lighting a ship or small vessel holding the warrior’s remains on fire. Then it’s set adrift in flames on the water.

You may dream of your body burning on a ship of flames, but keep in mind that burning a body to ash requires an intense heat that not many house fires reach. That’s why it’s possible to still find human remains in a house fire. Therefore, we have to wonder how DIYers hope to achieve the proper level of heat. It would cost a fortune and put everyone in the area at risk.

Look, we’re pretty sure that when push comes to shove, you’re not invading foreign lands or wearing horned helmets. At least not every day.

We’re not saying that your soul doesn’t go to a fabulous place like Valhalla. What we’re saying is your family can’t hold a private Viking funeral or burn your body in any other sort of ancient ritual. However, there are some creative ways to borrow majestic elements of the ritual.

For instance, borrowing various Viking funeral elements for ash disposal will prevent anyone from being charged with improper disposal of a human body. It will also help avoid property damage, personal injury or death from setting a fire.

One daughter came up with a creative way to honor her father’s wishes for a Viking funeral: She burned his ashes on a boat that floated for hours on their private lake. If you have access to a private body of water, then it’s easier to perform creative Viking send-offs. However, you still can’t burn the body. The burning of a body is tightly regulated by both state and federal guidelines. And preparing a body for cremation might require certain body devices to be removed.

Think about how hard that is to do. We do it every day.

Contact the Philadelphia Cremation Society

If you’re thinking about doing something different for a cremation, The Philadelphia Cremation Society welcomes you to contact us for a FREE consultation on how we can make your cremation special and legal at an affordable price: 610-572-7078.