Caustic Soda puts the fun in funeral! Guest Arinn Dembo joins us to talk neanderthal cave burials, cremains, martyriums, slave sacrifice, wife-burning, The Great Death Pit, viking ship burials, Tibetan sky burial, corpse demons, the soothing rite of fire and much more!

Music: “My Grandfather’s Clock” – Sons of the Pioneers

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Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan
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Four Weddings and A Funeral
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Showing 37 comments
  • Nick Curnow

    I wish to have my body torn into pieces, and scattered across the globe, with my heart or head preserved in a jar, and passed down through the family, until everyone get sick of it!

  • Bryan

    The Tower of Silence is a super creepy idea. It wouldn’t be Caustic Soda without a couple pictures of one. Here’s a link of one from around 1999:
    http://www.si-la-gi.com/content/2008/si-la-gi_allpictures.html

    • Sirik

      Guh… Who do you think gets stuck with the job of pushing the corpses into the middle? The sheen of putrefaction on the stone has made breakfast seem like it’s no longer an option.

  • Bryan

    The Tower of Silence is a super creepy idea. It wouldn’t be Caustic Soda without a couple pictures of one. Here’s a link of one from around 1999:
    http://www.si-la-gi.com/content/2008/si-la-gi_allpictures.html

    • Sirik

      Guh… Who do you think gets stuck with the job of pushing the corpses into the middle? The sheen of putrefaction on the stone has made breakfast seem like it’s no longer an option.

  • seaotter

    I want to be thrown into a wood chipper out on the jetties on the cut in Destin so the fish can munch.

  • banks!

    One funeral practice you didn’t talk about was the wake. It’s tradition in Scottish (and other cultures) to wake the body for a number of days. Essentially you watch the body to make sure the Devil does claim the deceased soul for his own. During this time, people come to pay respects.

    Now a days we don’t protect the deceased soul from the devil but I’m sure most Canadians with UK based heritage are familiar with this practice.

  • banks!

    One funeral practice you didn’t talk about was the wake. It’s tradition in Scottish (and other cultures) to wake the body for a number of days. Essentially you watch the body to make sure the Devil does claim the deceased soul for his own. During this time, people come to pay respects.

    Now a days we don’t protect the deceased soul from the devil but I’m sure most Canadians with UK based heritage are familiar with this practice.

    • banks!

      OH! I forgot to mention the dredgy!

      My granny used to call the after funeral gathering, the dredgy. I never knew what that meant so I looked it up.

      Apparently only the men were allowed to complete the burial. The women followed the casket only to the entrance of the cemetery church gate or would stay behind at the house to look after the children and prepare the food for the after-funeral feast called a “Dredgy.”

  • Jenna

    It’s not being used in the funeral industry yet but my vote is for alkaline hydrolysis. Who needs to be buried in a box when you can be dissolved into a thick brownish goo that can very safely be poured down the drain? They basically put you in a pressure cooker (only 150 degrees C) with some lye and then rinse you right away. I hope there’s not an option to get your loved one back in a wine bottle: goo-mains anyone?

  • Jenna

    It’s not being used in the funeral industry yet but my vote is for alkaline hydrolysis. Who needs to be buried in a box when you can be dissolved into a thick brownish goo that can very safely be poured down the drain? They basically put you in a pressure cooker (only 150 degrees C) with some lye and then rinse you right away. I hope there’s not an option to get your loved one back in a wine bottle: goo-mains anyone?

    • Sirik

      If that’s not the “Caustic Soda” funeral, I’ll drink a bottle of goo-mains.

  • Sirik

    I think you guys may have been ripped off. Unfortunately it was one of the few times Kevin didn’t say”TM!”

    http://comics.com/strange_brew/2011-05-28/

  • Jeb

    Listening now …

    – Mention of crossroads reminds me that Anglo-Saxons would bury criminals in ancient neolithic or bronze age burial mounds, which were thought to be home to fairies. They figured the fairies/demons would torment the criminals in the afterlife.

    – There is one hypothesis Moche lords (north coast of Peru, first half of first millennium CE) had captives specifically defleshed in ways that their bodies would hang together, like windchimes of doom, suspended in their capitals. This is based on comparison of cut mark patterns on the bones with painted depictions of body parts hanging from ropes on Moche ceramics.

  • Jeb

    Listening now …

    – Mention of crossroads reminds me that Anglo-Saxons would bury criminals in ancient neolithic or bronze age burial mounds, which were thought to be home to fairies. They figured the fairies/demons would torment the criminals in the afterlife.

    – There is one hypothesis Moche lords (north coast of Peru, first half of first millennium CE) had captives specifically defleshed in ways that their bodies would hang together, like windchimes of doom, suspended in their capitals. This is based on comparison of cut mark patterns on the bones with painted depictions of body parts hanging from ropes on Moche ceramics.

  • Jeb

    The death boat thing is also Maya. Take a look at these two

    Flint (called an eccentric flint) chipped into shape of a canoe plunging into the Underworld, flume ride style

    http://66.195.106.23/teacherpackets/teachingpackets/TP/Ancient%20American/Artwork/AAFlint.htm

    A similar scene is depicted on this incised human bone from Tikal. BTW, this bone? Tiny, much smaller than you’d expect

    http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/arthist/icono/christenson/ac01.gif

    http://www.authenticmaya.com/images/hueso%20tikal.jpg

  • Jeb

    The sounds of the tower of the silence :lol

  • Jeb

    The sounds of the tower of the silence :lol

  • Derek

    One practice (not funereal, exactly, but related to death at least) is the old custom of the sin-eater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin-eater) that Tony Robinson covered in his “Worst Jobs in History” series.

    After someone died they let him lie for three days, or something, and left a loaf of bread on his chest, which would absorb all his sins. The some poor schmuck, the sin-eater, a beggar or someone similar, would have to eat the bread to absorb all the sins, so they dead person could go to heaven without his sins.

    Just struck me as very interesting and bizarre. Great episode, btw.

  • Derek

    One practice (not funereal, exactly, but related to death at least) is the old custom of the sin-eater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin-eater) that Tony Robinson covered in his “Worst Jobs in History” series.

    After someone died they let him lie for three days, or something, and left a loaf of bread on his chest, which would absorb all his sins. The some poor schmuck, the sin-eater, a beggar or someone similar, would have to eat the bread to absorb all the sins, so they dead person could go to heaven without his sins.

    Just struck me as very interesting and bizarre. Great episode, btw.

  • Evilcritter

    I’m surprised you didn’t talk about green funerals. I think they flash freeze you, vibrate you to little chunks on a vibration table, stick you in the ground, and plant a tree on you.
    Also, check the cremation diamond business. It seems quite popular. Here’s one example:
    http://www.cremationsolutions.com/Cremation-Diamonds-Made-From-Ashes-c39.html
    I’m trying to listen to your slime episode but I’m feeling queasy now.

    • Toren

      I had done some research on green funerals and decided they weren’t caustic enough to merit inclusion. Interesting, though!

  • John Hordyk

    I want to be cremated, then mixed up in an avalanche rocket or shell.

    Go for one last hell of a ride I guess.

  • John Hordyk

    I want to be cremated, then mixed up in an avalanche rocket or shell.

    Go for one last hell of a ride I guess.

  • Arlen Woods

    Christians don’t believe they have a future use for their dead bodies.
    Where do you people get these ideas?

  • i know it’s old, but i’m catching up. you guys didn’t mention Tim Leary, his ashes are in orbit, in a canister filled with nitrous. really thought that was worth mentioning.

  • Bridgete

    Catching up as well but wanted to respond to the question of what I want when I die. My last wishes aren’t very caustic…I just want to be cremated and my ashes distributed among 3 places — the Willamette River (because I grew up in Portland), the Charles River (because I now live in Boston), and the Seine (because I want to live in Paris).

  • Bridgete

    Also, come on guys…how did you miss Death at a Funeral? The original British one (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0795368/) is hilariously irreverent and therefore very caustic. I haven’t seen the American remake.

  • Bridgete

    Also, come on guys…how did you miss Death at a Funeral? The original British one (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0795368/) is hilariously irreverent and therefore very caustic. I haven’t seen the American remake.

  • Chelle

    I want to be cremated and put in a container with a sapling that can be planted somewhere nice. This is actually a thing, so that’s my plan. Not caustically-impressive, but there ya have it.
    If not that, I want to be sprinkled amongst jellyfish and puffers somewhere warm and cozy.
    Also, I want a wake instead of a funeral. No weeping, laughter! Booze and food! PAAAAAAAAARR-TY!