What are Some of the World’s Craziest Burial Requests?
6 min read

What are Some of the World’s Craziest Burial Requests?

What are the world's craziest burial requests? In this article, we'll explore some examples of the strangest burial requests. Keep reading to learn more!

Share this article:

From eccentric burial sites to unusual funeral ceremonies, some people have left behind extraordinary requests that challenge societal norms. In this article, FastWill explores some of the strangest post-death requests.

Singer’s Corpse Kidnapped by Friends and Set on Fire

Gram Parsons was a singer with the pioneering folk-rock band, The Byrds, where he contributed to their influential album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." Parsons played a significant role in shaping and popularizing the country rock genre in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Tragically, Gram Parsons passed away at the age of 26 in 1973 from a drug overdose. Parsons’ friends Paul Kaufman and Michael Martin knew that he wanted to be cremated at Joshua Tree National Park, which was also the place where he died. However, his body was scheduled to be flown to New Orleans for a funeral, where his body would be interred. 

Kaufman and Martin hatched a plan to fulfill Parsons’ final wishes. The two donned costumes and impersonated funeral parlor workers. For some reason, Martin had a personal 1953 Cadillac Hearse and that was enough to trick the Western Airlines personnel into believing that the family sent them to pick up the body. They convinced the airline workers that the family no longer wanted Parsons’ body flown by private charter. So, the friends stole Parsons’ corpse at LAX and then took the casket to  Joshua Tree. As for cremation, they opted for a DIY affair, pouring five gallons of gasoline on the open casket and setting it on fire. Unsurprisingly, Kaufman and Martin were eventually arrested and fined for their impromptu funeral. Parsons’ remains were given to his family and interred in New Orleans. In 2003, Johnny Knoxville starred in a movie adaptation of these events, “Grand Theft Parsons.”

Dead Man Stood Up for Three-Day Wake

Angel Pantoja Medina was a 24 year old from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He told his family that when he died, he wanted to be standing, smiling, and happy for his wake. Sadly, Medina was found dead under a San Juan bridge. So his family decided to honor his last wishes by hiring an undertaker who could make him stand up. Medina was embalmed with a special fluid that would help him remain standing. He was then dressed in a Yankees baseball cap and sunglasses and placed in his mother’s living room for three days.  

The Tenth (and Fourteenth) Doctor Performed with a Composer’s Real Skull  

Polish pianist and composer Andre Tchaikowsky was so committed to the arts that he left his actual skull to an acting company. Andre Tchaikowsky - not to be confused with composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - was born in Warsaw to a Jewish family. Andre’s original surname was Krauthammer but his love of music caused him to change his name in honor of the great Russian composer. Tchaikowsky survived World War II when a Catholic family hid him from the Nazis. Tchaikowsky eventually settled in England and gained a worldwide reputation for interpretations of the works of composers such as Beethoven and Chopin. As a composer, he is best known for his opera titled "The Merchant of Venice," based on Shakespeare's play, which premiered posthumously in 2013.

Tchaikowsky passed away from cancer at the age of 46 in 1982. His Will asked that his skull be donated to the Royal Shakespeare Company. He wanted the Company to actually use it in a production of Hamlet. You know the scene - the one where Hamlet pulls a skull out of a grave and says: “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.” 

This speech was Shakespeare’s commentary on the fact that life always ends in death. It took decades before an actor was brave enough to use the skull in a performance of Hamlet. As it turns out, David Tennant was the one to use the skull in a series of 2008 performances.

Skin Used to Make Drums

Boston hatmaker Solomon Sanborn was a Massachusetts native who was an ardent fan of the American Revolution. Sanborn took special pride in the role Massachusetts played in American independence. When he died in 1871, he left an unusual Will. He wanted his body left to science, but his skin was to be dedicated to another task:  making drums. Yes, Sanborn’s gruesome request was that his skin would be tanned and used to make two drums that would be given to a friend. One drum was inscribed with the Declaration of Independence and the other with Alexander Pope’s “Universal Prayer.” The friend was required to go to Bunker Hill on the annual anniversary of the famous battle, where he would drum along to the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” 

Unfortunately, we don’t actually know whether his wish was fulfilled. Some people say the drums were never made, whereas others swear they were completed.  As for the rest of his body, the Will stipulated that it should “be composted for a fertilizer to contribute to the growth of an American elm, to be planted in some rural thoroughfare.”

Journalist Shot Out of a Cannon 

Hunter S. Thompson was a writer who inserted himself into the story, changing the concept of journalism forever. Thompson rose to prominence with his groundbreaking book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," published in 1972. The book, which blends fact and fiction, chronicles Thompson's drug-fueled escapades in Las Vegas and offers a satirical critique of American society and the counterculture of the 1960s. Some of Thompson's other notable works include "Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs,” where he embedded himself with the notorious motorcycle gang, and "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" which chronicled the 1972 U.S. presidential election.

Hunter Thompson took his own life in 2005 at the age of 67. He left behind a note stating that he had already lived longer than he intended. However, he wasn’t done being the life of the party. His Will stipulated that his remains would be fired out of a cannon that Thompson had already designed. Thompson’s cremated ashes were also mixed into the fireworks that accompanied the cannon shot. 

Buried in a 1964 Ferrari 330 America

Sandra West, born Sandra Kogut, was an American socialite and actress who lived from 1930 to 1977. She was known for her glamorous lifestyle and extravagant wealth. Born in Texas, West was married several times and had connections to prominent families, including the Phipps and Vanderbilt families.

But West gained true notoriety because of her lavish burial request. In her Will, she specified that she wanted to be buried in her beloved powder blue 1964 Ferrari 330 America. West wanted to be wearing a nightgown and sitting in the front seat, and then lowered into a tomb next to her husband’s grave. According to a San Antonio newspaper, 300 people attended her burial on May 18, 1977, at Alamo Masonic Cemetery. Today tourists still visit her grave even though it’s not much to look at. The $20,000 car and its occupant were placed in a concrete box and covered with cement to thwart vandals.

Scroll Down
Share this article:
Let’s begin! First, what’s your name?

Your name that’s stated on your driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport.