Outdated – Against Change – All About Bodies & Caskets

Learn What You Do Not Know

History / Background

The American Civil War: the Birth of Embalming

  • Deceased soldiers embalmed so their bodies could be shipped home for a viewing. 
  • President Lincoln’s embalmed body went on a whistle stop train tour which publicized embalming. 
    • The Public liked the idea of attractive “lifelike” corpses.
  • Thus, the Birth of the Modern Funeral Home.
Funeral Industry Exists for 2 Reasons:
  1. To Embalm a Body
  2. To Sell You a Casket

Funeral Bill is the 3rd Largest Lump Sum Expense of Your Life:

  1. House
  2. Automobile
  3. Death (Funeral/Memorial)

Average American Funeral Costs: $8,000 – $10,000

  • Funeral Industry has not changed in 75 years.
  • Funeral Home planning & services are outdated.
  • You are purposefully kept in the dark.
But You Also Aren’t Helping Yourself: there are lots of things You Don’t Know.

You are “Flying Blind” – 90% of You Do Not “Shop Around”

You are forced to make decisions under stress from grief and not in a “rational state of mind.”

In 41 States You Do Not have to use a Funeral Director.

The 9 You Do: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey & New York.

  • In the 9 a Funeral Director is mandatory by law, even then, All You Are Have To Pay is the “Basic Services Fee” ($1,000-$2,500).
  • Funeral Homes Must Show You a Price List.
    • It is called the “General Price List” and required by federal law.
Pre-Paying for Anything with Anyone is a Scam.
  • Pre-Need is a Scam.
  • Keep Control of Your Money.
  • Set up a Simple Savings account you own.

Don’t Pre-Pay for a Funeral Home or Cemetery Package.

#1 Advice! Don’t Pre-Pay. Do Pre-Talk. Do Pre-Plan.

  • Corpses are Not dirty nor dangerous
    • There is No Public Health Risk – that is a Myth
  • Embalming is a Temporary Preservative, like nitrates in your sausage.
    • It will last for a Viewing of the body but not much longer. 
      • It is done only to showcase the face and hands. 
  • Embalming Puts Horrible Things Inside The Body:
    • Phenol-soaked cotton pushed into anus & vagina.
    • Gallons of Formalin (a cocktail of formaldehyde, methanol, phenol & pink dye)
    • Superglue
    • Duct tape
    • Caulk putty
    • A Trocar (2 foot long metal arrow) connected to a Shop-Vac driven into the abdomen and vacuumed out.
    • Learn the Full 15 Embalming Steps HERE. 
  • Formaldehyde, the Main Ingredient in Formalin, is a Cancer-Causing Carcinogen per OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration)
    • It is classified a “Hazardous Waste” by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Embalming is Not Required by Any Law
    • 66% of people think it is required by law if not immediately buried. Not True.
    • “We must do it because of a A Hygiene Issue with the corpse” A Lie. Not True.

The whole reason for embalming is to create the…

“Memory Picture”
  • The What?
  • When someone at an open casket viewing says, “She looks great,” they’re talking about the “Memory Picture”.
  • Body placed in an open casket, the “Memory Picture” is the facial and hand pose that the funeral home creates to supposedly help mourners accept that their loved one is not living anymore. 
  • Is viewing of the body of any value? 
    • Depends who you ask. 
      • Funeral directors say yes. 
      • Scientists and Grief Counsellors say no. 
  • Closure is not possible, nor desirable. 
  • Creating this “Memory Picture”, which brings together the two main moneymakers of the funeral home: embalming & casket purchase – is what Funeral Directors desperately hold on to in order to sell their products. 
  • Caskets Do Not Protect the Body from Decomposition.
  • 75% of all Caskets are Metal.
  • “Sealed” “Protective” “Gasketed” or “Burper” Caskets are a Scam.
    • They turn the body to soup even faster. (They actually accelerate decomposition)
  • The Markup on Caskets is Enormous. (300%-600%)
  • 3rd Party caskets (ie Costco, Amazon, WalMart): funeral home must accept them by law. 
  • Biodegradable Caskets (Green Burial) – there are now many options available.
    • Learn about Eco-Friendly Caskets HERE.
Cemeteries, Mausoleums & Memorial Parks

Most Cemeteries, Mausoleums & Memorials Parks are Non-Profit & Tax-Free (ie Church-related). They can be even more misleading than funeral homes.

  • They have Zero Regulations but they do have rules.
  • What to do:
    • Get the cemetery’s rules & regulations.
    • Understand what you’re buying.
    • Don’t believe anyone who tells you something is required or barred by law.
    • Don’t be swayed by promises of “protection.”
    • Be aware of additional charges.
    • “Perpetual care” may not be. 
    • Don’t buy far in advance.

Vaults, Grave Liners or Sealers

  • For what purpose? 
    • To try to preserve your loved one? Not Possible.
    • To keep the grass atop even and level so it is easier for them to mow? Yes, that’s the real reason you buy an expensive concrete vault. 
    • In New York & Vermont: you can refuse a vault on religious grounds. 
  • “Urn Vault” is a total Scam. 

Memorials & Markers

  • It is against the law for a cemetery to refuse to accept a Monument bought from a third-party (same as with funeral homes & caskets). 
  • When shopping for a Marker:
    1. Get a copy of the cemetery’s rules & regulations so you know what type they will and won’t accept.
    2. Shop around. 3rd parties are often cheaper.
    3. Get a mock-up of the marker and lettering before you have the stone carved. Mistakes happen. 
    4. Do business in writing. With price, install deadline, and final design approved. 

2019 Cremation Rate = 53% (first time in history over 50%)

  • 2 Reasons Why: 
    1. It’s Cheaper & Simpler. 
    2. Rise of Memorials & Celebrations of Life instead of Body Viewings.
  • No Law mandates a body must be cremated in a casket

1 Cremation uses the equivalent energy of driving your car 500 miles.

Environmental Impact

Cremation as a process uses fossil fuels to reach and maintain 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, which releases mercury into the air and water, and creates byproducts like nitrogen oxide, dioxins and particulates that are found in acid rain.

Each Year in the United States We Bury into the Ground:

  • 4 million gallons of embalming fluid (Formalin), over 8 hundred thousand gallons of that is formaldehyde, methanol and benzene which leaks into our waterways. That’s enough embalming fluid to fill 8 Olympic-size swimming pools.
  • 180 million pounds of steel, 5 million pounds of copper and bronze in caskets – which can leach iron, copper, lead, zinc and cobalt into the environment. More steel, in caskets alone, than was used to build the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • 31 million feet of hardwood boards in caskets, including rainforest woods.
    • That is 4 million square acres of forest.
  • 3 billion pounds of reinforced concrete for burial vaults, 208 million pounds of steel in vaults, 5 million pounds of copper & bronze. Enough concrete to construct a 2-lane highway from New York City to Detroit.

Learn about Green Burial Options HERE.

Fees, Fees & More Fees

  • Funeral Director’s Basic Services Fee: $1,000-$2,500
  • Funeral Home use & staff for viewing: $250-$500
  • Funeral Home use & staff for funeral/memorial ceremony: $300-$750
  • Use of funeral staff for graveside service: $250-$500
  • Transporting body to funeral home: $250-$400
  • Transporting body to cemetery/crematory: $250-$400
  • Embalming: $400-$750
  • Makeup, Hairdressing, putting body in casket: $200-$400
  • Basic memorial printed package: $150-$250
  • Hearse: $250-$400
  • Limousine: $150-$350
  • Service car/utility van: $100-$250
  • Flower vehicle: $100-$250
  • Lead car: $50-$150
  • Use of Church/Place of Worship: Free-$1,000
  • Celebrant Donation: $150-$500
  • Music at church/place of worship: $150-$1,000
  • Cemetery plot: $1,000-$5,000
  • Concrete Vault/grave liner: $800-$1,500
  • Opening/Closing ground: $1,000-$2,000
  • Headstone: $2,000-$5,000
  • Grave marker: $750-$1,500
  • Flowers: $300-$750
  • Wreaths: $300-$750
  • Refrigeration of body: $50-$150 (per day)
  • Keeping body at funeral home: $100-$300 (per day)
  • Cremation fee: $500-$8,000
  • Cremation casket: $100-$1,000
  • Obituary notice posting: $200-$1,000
  • Death notice posting: $50-$100
  • Urn: $250-$5,000
  • Caskets:
    • Plywood: $400-$1,000
    • Laminate: $800-$1,250
    • Veneered:$1,100-$3,500
    • Solid wood (mahogany, walnut, oak, etc): $2,500-$8,000
    • Steel: $1,500-$6,000
    • Copper/Bronze: $7,000-$12,000

TOTAL: $$$!!!

It all adds up to a very big bill. But who are you paying?

Service Corporation International (SCI)

  • The largest funeral home company in America.
    • It may appear that your local “Mom & Pop” funeral home is still a family business when in reality it is owned by SCI and simply run by the family. SCI has been aggressively buying out homes for decades. 
      • This allows for them to “cluster” their services, charge higher prices, and deploy questionable (at best) selling tactics. 
    • They now own over 1500 funeral homes and 400 cemeteries across the United States. 
    • Neptune Society – largest cremation company in the nation.
      • Owned by SCI, they use the same dubious methods and price strategies. 
What Not To Do
  • Do Not Assume people know what you want for your farewell.
  • Do Not Be Afraid to demand full pricing transparency: an exact itemized cost list.
  • Do Not Feel like an idiot. Most people don’t know anything about any of this stuff. You’re not alone. You’re not stupid. You simply don’t know what you don’t know.