Saturday 26 Jul 2014

A Lot to be Desired

Backyard

Private burial plots

Before you judge me, consider:

  1. I’m not breaking any law
  2. I’m providing a service to people in need
  3. It’s green
  4. Frankly, we could use the money

When I read about the Glen Burnie family that stored their 83-year-old grandmother’s dead body in a freezer, my first response was shock. And then necessity met opportunity.

This kind of thing has happened before. In 1999, a young father – who also happened to live in Anne Arundel County – buried his 4-year-old daughter in a trash bag after her accidental death. Authorities couldn’t charge him with anything more than littering because no laws were broken.

Believe it or not, dumping a body is legal in Maryland. Health care workers and other professionals are required to report deaths, but ordinary citizens are not. And, apparently, no state law prohibits the burial or storage of a body on private property.

Some people may think it’s heartless to stuff grandma into a freezer. Actually, in this latest case the woman had been ill for a long time and was bedridden for years. I know what it’s like with funeral costs and the economy in the tanks. It’s a sad reflection of the extremes to which people are driven under extraordinary circumstances.

According to a recent report from Los Angeles, people are leaving family members unclaimed at the morgue because they can’t afford a proper burial. This is truly a sad state of affairs.

Well, I started thinking. I’ve been unemployed since being laid off last fall when the New Depression struck. Things aren’t looking good, and the outlook is even more grim. I know it isn’t just me. The whole economy is going down the toilet.

My prospects are so dismal that I’m willing to consider letting my backyard be used for dumping bodies. So I placed an ad on Craigslist to let the availability of my yard be known.

Some people may recoil at the thought of dead bodies under foot. The fact is, if you live near Leakin Park or another of the lush wooded areas in the vicinity, you probably pass by a dumped body every day. We watched The Wire; we know what’s inside all those boarded-up rowhouses.

We see dead people all the time on CSI and Dexter. Forensics is cool stuff. What’s to be creeped out about?

It isn’t as though they’ll be stacked up like cordwood. Just one or two maybe. A few at most, buried beneath the backyard lawn. Out of sight, out of mind.

Morbid? Perhaps. But desperate times call for desperate measures

If you’re interested in relocating somebody to my backyard, shoot me an email.

About the author

37 Comments

  1. Ellen S. Morgenstern says:

    Your article reminded me of a fascinating (and surprisingly funny) nonfiction book I read a couple of years ago, called “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers”. Considering some of the unconventional final destinations its author, Mary Roach, wrote about, your solution doesn’t seem quite so shocking (to me, anyway — but then again, I’m a bit warped). Who knows? Maybe your idea will catch on. After all, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who have the ability to think “outside the box”!

    Reply
  2. E. Mouse says:

    It’s an interesting idea. You make a very good case.

    Not to be negative, but good luck reselling your house. The dead bodies might be a problem.

    Also, does this mean anyone with private property can legally open a small cemetary in their back yard?

    Reply
    • Aaron Nye says:

      Jimmy Page paid a huge sum of money to buy Aleister Crowley’s castle, and there are a huge number of ghost hunters and goths who would figuratively kill to live in a place that has a body or two buried in the back yard. People are into the creepy weirdness because people are all a little creepy and / or weird in their own way. The history of the property would be a selling point, not a resale hampering secret or something to be kept from potential buyers.

      Honestly, when it comes to selling this thing, if I were Noam I’d advertise it as the place where people buried their grandmother. I’ll bet he gets more showings than the “no dead folks” properties, and I’d almost guarantee a bidding war between local Dexter fans and Glenn Danzig (a la Aqua Teen Hunger Force).

      Reply
  3. Patrick says:

    Can I put up a Small Tombstone?

    (Hey times are tough)

    Reply
  4. C. D. says:

    Ellen – Gave my husband a copy of Stiffs for his b-day – he loved it!
    If anyone starts digging in our yard, they will find bones of several cats.

    Reply
  5. I think that is sick and morbid, I don’t have money either, but I would never do that! These poor people deserve a desent burial, and I can’t even believe that any town ordinance would let this go on!! I hate to think that people are that cruel to just dump bodies in the ground, how sick!!

    Reply
    • jamie says:

      It’s no different than dumping bodies in a cemetery. Dirt is dirt, morbid way of making money you say but then what is you’re take on an undertaker?? Somebody (ha, body!) has to do it. Back in the old days families buried their kin in the yard so what’s the difference? Personally, I think it’s a good way of keeping your loved ones close and you can keep flowers fresh; no excuse not to visit their graves. My Pop wants to be buried in his yard next to his old dog….that’s old people for you.

      Reply
  6. Rick says:

    Hey can i reserve me a spot for myself?

    Reply
  7. Yogi says:

    I am still amazed at how many people get ‘wierd’ about how we as a society choose to dispose of human “remains”. We have no issue eating cows or chickens and throw their “remains” in our kitchen garbage can. But somehow when a human is dead their Body becomes sacred. Like a few of you, I read ‘Stiff’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. When I ‘go’, my body is to be used however, by whomever, all-or-part of it. Have a party, celebrate my mortal life but, please, don’t waste any time or money trying to do something memorializing my old flesh and bones. Let the buzzards have a feast or use whats left for artwork or street repairs. Just do not worry about Me; I’ll be enjoying things very much by then.

    Reply
  8. Charles Manson says:

    The fact that there is no law against disposing bodies in ones lawn came as a huge relief to me.

    Reply
  9. Tiffanie says:

    I could not stop laughing when I first read this. I had a thought though. Wouldn’t it get annoying when people come to visit the grave site? I suppose is would be nice to have people drop off fresh flowers every once in a while for the deceased cause then your yard would look all pretty. The popularity of your back yard might help the resell of your house but I doubt it. Do you think it would make it a land mark as the first 5 plot backyard cemetary?

    Reply
  10. Johnny says:

    Dude, thanks for the laugh!

    Reply
  11. Speed says:

    This idea might work for personal use only, but as soon as you charge someone for your service ( use of your back yard) , you have started a business without a licence. In order to get a business licence, you will have to meet certain codes ( city/county/state requirements, restrictions, certificates of education, and most important: TAXES)and get the proper permits. Be careful, you could end up losing your house and end up with big fines. If you are actually serious about this venture, maybe you should start here: http://dying.lovetoknow.com/How_to_Start_a_Pet_Cemetery_Business
    Good luck

    Reply
  12. H-Dawg says:

    So what about animals? Will you take my mother’s dog? Because she’s about to put her to sleep due to her age & health.=P
    PS-You’re my hero =)

    Reply
  13. kazoovirtuoso says:

    gloria burnside-You aren’t a Mensa member, are you? Just because the bodies will be buried in his back yard doesn’t mean they’ll be dumped in. You think pauper’s graves have elaborate ceremonies that go along with them? Anyone taking care of their loved one will make sure that the procedures are “desent” [sic]. Speaking of which, if you think this guy is sick, consider that 83 year-old woman who was so sick she died. Sick and poor. Can’t forget poor.

    Reply
  14. Janelle says:

    Ya save me a spot for when I pass! I’m 24 years of age and probley have a few decades to go but incase I get hit by a car, victim of terrorism; maybe this current economic down flaw will send me into a phycotic brake down and my inecent self will become a drug seekeing individual that only drugs will take away myself pitty and oooop’s I od or something of that nature I do not need a expensive burrial. Hey I hope my family spends the extra cach on a new pair of shoes, even trash bags I dont care!

    Reply
  15. Katrina says:

    absolutely love your article, great sense of humor, i totally get where your coming from. too bad a lot of others don’t!!! found from craigslist best of!! it’s on my top 10 thanks,

    Katrina a
    Baltimore Resident!!

    Reply
  16. Fred says:

    Okay, I need a spot but have bad back and can’t dig. you already made it clear you will only hold flash light. thanks but I don’t need a flash light holder. i will be bring my own candles.But,you think it be okay if I bring the body there and let them dig hole first? This would help me out and save me the back ache.
    While he digs I kinda want to enjoy the day / evening and maybe even catch up on some reading.

    That little bush in the middle the only shady spot ( damn !) ? still single lot terms or these like mass holes ? do you request ID or tax number ? you have any coupons offered for savings ? any GRAND OPENING specials running at this time ? o, and do you except American Express ? you got a picnic table back there anywhere ? Sorry about all the questions just want to know if i should bring my folding table and chair and want to get a budget going.

    O, heck almost forgot the most important, how much are you charging ? Due to the economy I am kinda broke but again, we can make a deal. This is a NO QUESTIONS asked operation right ? Okay now we talking. Anything in dudes pockets you keep and as a bonus you can keep his wrist watch. It’s not real expensive though. But, if it’s like a Rolex, and I am not talking flea market Bolex. We sell and split 50/50 that’s fair enough. Though once again, we can make a deal, you keep everything regardless but, you got to help me cover the damn hole since my hole digger will kinda, um, kinda, anyways. hit me back and give me some prices and directions to you humble back yard service center.

    Reply
  17. Omar - says:

    DO YOU OFFER WHOLESALE RATES???

    Reply
  18. Ryan says:

    Is there anyway I can contact you through email to discuss this more indepth?

    Reply
  19. John says:

    FYI- in response to your claim that this is legal in every state- There are actually several states where it is illegal to bury a human body outside of a designated cemetery; one is California. That’s why Michael Jackson’s family was unable to arrange for his burial on his Neverland ranch, as it is not a designated cemetery.

    Reply
  20. Absolutely hysterical. My only question (since the ad on Craigslist made my entire day): Do you accept 1325 Pope Hats as payment? :-)

    Don’t worry about the legality. If/when updated legislation passes, simply purchase a brick oven and open a “backyard crematorium.”

    Reply
  21. Codeman says:

    My grandma smells a little funny, but I don’t think she’s dead yet. When I poke her with a stick she just kind of gurgles. Can I go ahead and roll her old bones over to your place and you feed her till she dies? Shouldn’t be but a few more days. Thanks Bro!

    Reply
  22. Kip says:

    Interesting. I own a fertilizer company and I can say from experience that animals (or corpses in this case) buried in the soil will release vast amounts of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and various other micro nutrients as the body decays. In addition, the blood and bone matter will feed countless micro-organisms (like earthworms) as well as other soil fauna which will till and aerate your soil. Just don’t add too much lime as it might lock up the soil nutrients (the roots have a hard time finding what they need when they’re saturated in what they don’t need). I know it helps to reduce the smell and makes the bodies rot faster but if you want to use the soil for fertilizer, I’d recommend against over-liming. Less is more. :)

    Reply
  23. Biohazard says:

    Talk about working the graveyard shift.

    Reply
  24. Alan Boone says:

    is this legal in any state?

    Reply
  25. Trevor Hertz says:

    This is awesome…..What is your feeling in regards to pets? I have 5 dogs and I would like for them to be buried together one day.

    Reply
  26. daniel says:

    i live in north west georgia near nobel as you may recall that is where the fellow had a shall we say a not so legal disposal biss going on down here it dident work out to well for him and even made way for the closing of his sisters bbq biss. this is sick funny and im a sick guy so i think its great good luck with that just know it dident turn out to well for the guy down here

    Reply
  27. Deb says:

    Love it. Hubby just started working in Baltimo’ – this will be quite convenient. And I think I’ve found me a new blog to read!

    Oh, and naysayers – go buy yourselves a sense of humor please!

    Reply
  28. nancy in new hampshire says:

    your yard just dont seem big enough but it is very cute i think u need some flowers and fountains

    Reply
  29. alcohtraz says:

    Sorry to burst everyones bubble, burying a body in a trashbag is not e.p.a. compliant thus making illegal under federal law. But if you bury it sealed in a vault that will contain the bodily fluids, then you might just have an idea that might work. Hell, you might also acquire some state funding for maintence.

    Reply
  30. anthony says:

    What’s with the elaborate ceremony. A group of people setting up funeral homes, charging a fortune to stuff a body in a box and put it in a hole. The prairies are dotted with graves from our forefathers. Long forgotten, ground up by the huge plows and planted over. Every yard should have its own burial plot. Talk about wasting space, hundreds of acres reserved for dead things. Turn them into public parks. Have a gardeners shed with a wall plaque listing the bodies buried, but never mind where. No headstones, nothing, just a lovely park.

    Reply
    • Emily june says:

      Aww this sounds very nice actually :). My aunt lives next to a big cemetery and i allways walk the dogs there when k visit. If there weren’t so many headstones it would be just like a park. If only other people would agree with your idea.

      Reply

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