Freeze-Dried Human Bodies

Philip Backman's 1978 patent describes a process for freeze-drying human bodies.

The problem with freeze-drying any large animal is that there's not enough surface area to allow for rapid freeze-drying. So, to increase the surface area, Backman explained that it would first be necessary to freeze the body and then smash it into small pieces in a hammer mill. Once the body had undergone this "surface enhancement," it could be rapidly freeze-dried, which would remove the water in the body, reducing its weight by 95%. The resulting remains could be kept in an urn, just like cremated remains.

Backman argued that his freeze-drying process had all the advantages of cremation (in terms of reducing the body to a compact size), but cost less. However, the funeral industry apparently didn't like the idea of running bodies through a hammer mill.

     Posted By: Alex - Sun May 31, 2020
     Category: Death | Inventions | 1970s

Why not skip the freeze-drying step? Roughly chop up the body, dump into a freezer and cover with dry ice, wait for everything to get solid, put pieces into a cement mixer with some large aggregate, run at high speed to act as a ball mill; when particles are sufficiently small, add sand, cement and black concrete dye, run mixer at normal speed, pour as part of a sidewalk or driveway. You have to do two or three batches when dealing with an average adult male and an average mixer.

I remember the calculations: (body weight x 65%) /14 = cubic feet of concrete (average body is 65% water, standard concrete needs 14lbs of water for every cubic foot). A typical adult male makes 8 to 8.5 cubic feet of concrete (it's approximately 1 cubic foot of concrete for every running foot of 4" thick, 36" wide sidewalk).

A great plus (I'm told) is the lime in the cement destroys all DNA!
Posted by Phideaux on 05/31/20 at 11:17 AM
By gosh, Phideaux, that sound like a recipe for something nefarious.

Until now, I hadn't really thought about the process used to make the freeze-dried foods, especially the meat selections, I like to take along on hiking trips. Perhaps I should...
Posted by KDP on 05/31/20 at 12:19 PM
Phideaux -- that recalls another patent I posted about several months ago: the use of blood to make concrete.
Posted by Alex on 05/31/20 at 01:22 PM
One thing I've never found a complete but simple to understand explanation of is why our bodies are 60-70% water, but dehydration removes 80% of the weight and freeze-drying 95%. I know there are liquids other than water in the body which evaporate/sublimate under the same conditions of water, and I've read that dissolved gasses are significant, but 20-30% seems like a huge component to lose.

@KDP -- I'm a writer. I research esoteric things for purely non-nefarious purposes. I am not liable for either why the knowledge came into existence or what people do with it after I pass it on (but between you and me, it does seem like there are a lot of evil geniuses out there).

Posted by Phideaux on 05/31/20 at 06:01 PM
Most major religions would likely consider this desecration of the body and therefore unacceptable.
Posted by Brian on 06/01/20 at 11:17 AM
Brian: not sure. Islam, probably. Judaism, possibly. Christianity, depends entirely on the branch; I, for one, wouldn't have any problem with it. Hinduism, I suspect wouldn't care at all. Zoroastrianism? Probably all for it, as long as you give the nutrients back to nature.

(Me? I'd love to be buried with a beech nut growing out of me.)
Posted by Richard Bos on 06/07/20 at 09:00 AM

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