Unusual, creative, extreme embalming - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Unusual, creative, extreme embalming

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The Scotto Funeral Home has served the community of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, for nearly 90 years. To the knowledge of its current funeral director and co-owner, it has never embalmed an individual in the sitting position wearing a sports jersey and denim pants.

"We actually have a prearrangement with someone who has requested to be waked sitting up at the front of the chapel with his Rangers jersey on, in his jeans," said John Leo Heyer II. "He's in his mid-50s now and every time he sees me, he reminds me of this request."

But an unusual waking wish for Heyer actually looks relatively boring when compared to some other embalmings performed elsewhere in this country.

In New Orleans, we find the body of a socialite clad in her best dress and feather boa, cigarette and champagne glass stuck between her lifeless fingers.

"Usually you would call the process of laying someone out for a wake 'being laid out,'" said Heyer.

Unless their family elects not to lay them anywhere choosing instead to place their late loved one on the back of, say, a motorcycle, as one man in Puerto Rico did.

Everyone in attendance for a boxer's service understood that despite the life-like action pose on display in the ring before them, their friend or family member was dead.

"Customization, specialization is always at the forefront of people's minds and what better or different way to have a different kind of wake or send-off than to be sitting up in the corner with a beer in your hand?" Heyer said.

This "trend" -- if we can even call it that -- remains at best a fringe-practice in this country. Because of the challenges that come with fixing a dead body in a more interactive position, unusual embalming wishes require more time and money to fulfill.

But while we still can't decide how we die, those with wilder imaginations and larger budgets can control how their world sees them once they're dead.

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