After I croak, do I have a say in what happens to my body? I’m not really too concerned with my body as a whole, just the skull. For some odd reason, I don’t want my skull to be buried or cremated. Death wouldn’t seem so bad if I knew my grandson was using my skull in his high school’s production of Hamlet or my granddaughter was crashing her Barbie convertible into it. I think it would be a much more peacful hereafter if some part of me remained, above ground, in 3-D.
I know it’s weird, but is it legal? Is this something I’ll have to put in my will? And if it’s not legal, how do biology teachers get away with having so many body parts?
The skull my 8th grade science teacher had he bought a long time ago from some science catalog, but i don’t know if you can still get them that way. They probably show up on ebay from time to time. If you want to insure that your body isn’t misused, try cremation, and having you ashed scattered.
Now if you want your skull used in Hamlet, a stipulation in your will would help, be sure to let me know, so i can skip that night at the theater.
Del Close, one of the founders of Improv Olympic and a near God of improvisational comedy in Chicago, died last year I believe, and it was written into his will that his skull be given to the The Goodman theatre for their next production of Hamlet.
As far as I know, this was done, and his skull is now in their possession. There’s a little blurb about it here
I’ve also heard radio interviews with the guy who ‘cleaned’ his skull and made it ready for ‘stage use’
I think that I stole the whole Hamlet thing from somewhere…most likely a Del Close documentary. Its good to know his wishes were respected.
Plenty of cultures hang on to the remains of their loved ones. In fact, there is a holiday on an Indonesian island (I don’t remember which–but if you can find “Ring of Fire” by Lawrence Blair you’ll find this ritual and a few others like it) where one day a year families go into the caves they use as crypts and dust the bones before taking them to parties in the village. Children also play in the caves year round and do the Indonesian-Island equivilant of crashing their Barbie convertibles into the bones.
I guess I’m still a freak, but I’m not alone. A couple dozen Indonesians can’t be wrong.
There is, or was, a store in San Francisco called “Sticks and Stones and Skin and Bones,” which specializes in decorations and various cool things made from animal remains. They had a couple of human skulls for sale. I don’t know where they were obtained, though.
You got to get over this stubborn crainial retentiveness of yours. If you are determined to linger on after death, however, I think the most creative use I’ve seen for a skull to date was to imbed it into a clear lucite bowling ball with the eyes and mouth at the appropriate places for the fingers. Much cooler than Hamlet.
“Where are you going Honey?”
“Oh hi Mom! I’m just taking Grandad bowling.”
“Well have a nice time.”
As far as the core of your OP (Is your skull your property after you die), it is not. Dead people can not own things. I see two lines of solutions:
a) Get someone you trust to do what you want. For example, tell your granddaughter that it’s important to you that your skull be used as a Barbie accessory, and ask that she request your wishes.
b) Set up an entity to do what you want. Set up a corporation (or other free-standing entity) whose specific charter is to ensure that your skull is played with by small children. Of course, the entity will need money, enough to pay someone to actually do it’s work.
Of course, both of these angles assume that children playing with skulls is actually legal in your area. That may not be the case.
Tibetans have a long history of making things out of body parts of revered monks and lama’s. Very common to see prayer beads made out of someone’s skull. The thieghbone can be made into a type of trumpet. Whole skulls get inlaid with silver and copper and are part of every good shrine.
I dunno how it all works on your side of the planet, but in Australia there are some fairly strict rules about who gets to do what with bits of people’s bodies. If you wanted your skull cleaned and boiled down, that could probably only be done by someone with a licence to teach/practice anatomy (usually university departments and teaching hospitals). In fact, you need a licence to even look at preserved/prosected human remains. I’m not sure what the rules are on who is allowed to own/play with bones, but I do know that they are worth lots of money - $5000 or so (AUD) for a whole skeleton.
Been spending waaaaay too much time in the dissecting room recently :eek: