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Ghana fantasy coffin

Stream this Documentary About Ghana’s Most Celebrated Fantasy Coffin Maker

Paa Joe is working to revive his once thriving business of producing fantasy coffins to Ghana’s deceased, as well as collectors worldwide.

Paa Joe creates the kind of art that is intended to be six feet under with a dead body inside. But this coffin artist makes more than just a pine box, and his work can be found in private collections and museums around the world.

The 2016 documentary Paa Joe and The Lion following Paa Joe and his son Jacob’s work to revive the once thriving business is now available to stream on Amazon Video in the US.

From the film’s website:

Paa Joe dreams of his bygone days — bringing money home in briefcases and work being shipped to galleries the world over. Now, he sleeps as the cars hurtle passed. There are no customers, no tourists — there are no coffins to make. His son, Jacob, dreams too, he dreams of returning his father to his glory days and rebuilding the family legacy together. Over the next four years they stand side-by-side, conquering love and death and embracing a life changing opportunity to travel to the UK to undertake an artist residency. It is the start of their future together — master and son… Paa Joe & The Lion

Death is celebrated in Ghana, where Paa Joe once made a living on this unique tradition of sending the deceased off in extravagant coffins that represented their lives.

“It reminds people that life continues after death,” Jacob told The Guardian in 2016, “that when someone dies they will go on in the afterlife, so it is important that they go in style.”

 

Watch Paa Joe and The Lion now on Amazon Video.

Belvoir Winery Odd Fellows skeleton

The Skeletal Legacy of Odd Fellows Lurks in Closets and Attics Across America

The decline of Odd Fellows membership throughout much of the 20th century led to abandoned ceremonial coffins and unidentified human remains.

The Sad Hour: Rare 1900s Coffin Plaque Used to Indicate the Time of Death

This rare and early example of decorative coffin hardware includes a clock which could be set to display the exact time of the deceased’s passing.
The Sad Hour coffin plaque
The Sad Hour coffin plaque. Image via @macabrecollector

Reaching it’s height at the end of the 19th century, the “beautification of death” movement brought with it a variety of changes to the way society encountered death. Embalming, mourning rituals, and the development of post-mortem photography elevated the funeral process to near-theatrical levels. The plain old pine box just wouldn’t do anymore. Coffins became much more elaborate, incorporating curvy forms, glass windows, and decorative hardware like swing bail handles, thumbscrews for securing the lid and other removable panels, escutcheons, and plaques.

Coffin plaques saw the most use in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The affluent could afford ornate gold or silver plated brass plaques to adorn the lids of their coffins, engraved with their names and other information. Less expensive plaques were stamped with things like “Mother,” “Our Darling,” or “At Rest.” Members of the Odd Fellows fraternal order were buried with metal emblems depicting the all-seeing eye, a handshake, and three interlocking rings surrounded by rays of light.

The Sad Hour plaque seems to be an extremely rare example, including a clock with hour and minute hands used to indicate time of death. Victorians were notoriously superstitious, and this style plaque likely stemmed from the tradition of stopping clocks at the time of death. They believed time stood still at the moment of passing, and a new existence would begin without time. If the clock was not stopped, the spirit of the deceased would remain to haunt the living. Also, if time was allowed to continue, bad luck would befall all who remained in the home.

Side view of The Sad Hour coffin plaque

This amazing piece is for sale on ebay right here.

Odd Fellows Ceremonial Coffin

Antique Odd Fellows coffin used for initiation ceremonies for sale on ebay.
Odd Fellows ceremonial coffin for sale

I received my daily email update from ebay today featuring all the newly listed vintage Odd Fellows items. It contained the above ceremonial coffin recently pulled out of an old building. While the ghostly face inside this particular find is not real, it’s often genuine human remains left behind when local Odd Fellows chapters close their doors.

Here’s what the seller has to say about the piece:

For Sale: an early odd fellows coffin. Just removed it from an old building. I didn’t clean it up. The head inside is from shoulders to head. Not full body. Not sure what the material is that it’s made from. It’s hard like ceramic not paper mache.

More Photos

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Odd Fellows coffin for sale on ebay

Check out coffin on ebay right here.

Related
As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society, 1850-1930
As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society, 1850-1930

Mushroom burial suit

Mushroom Death Suit: Funerals Go Fungal

The Infinity Burial Suit is the latest in green burial, using mushrooms to consume the body and remove toxins as it decomposes.

I’ve never particularly enjoyed the thought of spending eternity trapped in a box, floating in a gooey mass of embalming fluid and putrefaction. I mean, if I could afford an extravagant, pyramid-shaped crypt with an interactive tour of my mortal remains and/or a mysterious (but ultimately meaningless) undecipherable code to keep people guessing for centuries to come…I might consider it.

Otherwise, I would prefer to become a tree.

Or maybe some fungus.


Thanks to the growing movement toward green burial, there is hope. Jae Rhim Lee and Mike Ma, founders of the Coeio company, created the Infinity Death Suit to provide an eco-friendly alternative to standard burial that would remove the 200+ toxins from the body as it returned to the earth.

The Infinity Burial Suit uses mushrooms to aid decomposition

The fibers of the suit are woven with a strain of spores hand-picked for their voracious appetite for human flesh. The body is placed in the suit and buried within 24 hours, allowing early decomposition to activate the spores.

From the company’s website:

Unlike conventional burial and cremation, they do not use harsh/toxic chemicals, pollute the environment, or waste precious natural resources. The Infinity Burial products also go a step beyond other green burial options, by cleansing and purifying toxins that accumulate in the body. If left unabated, these toxins end up contaminating the surrounding environment.

A special strain of fungus removes toxins from the body as it decomposes

Learn more about the Infinity Burial Suit for you or your pet right here.

via Mysterious Universe