Submitted by Mildly_maria t3_125y0xy in Maine

My mom was recently told she may have lung cancer and so began our conversation on funeral arrangements. She heard she can have an open-air cremation on a raft as long as it’s done through a non-profit with 20 acres of space…

If it can’t be done, it can’t, but I do want to honor her wishes.

Anyone know where to look to figure this out?



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CosmicJackalop t1_je70nly wrote

While it may not be legal to do the cremation in the open. You could cremate her, put the ashes in a wooden bowl on a wooden raft, and burn that out on bumfuck lake where no one will know.


tesaril t1_je7oqgf wrote

They really gonna press charges on a guy taking care of his mother's wishes? Not in Maine. Do it and act more stupid than usual. Judge will roll his eyes. Shake his boney finger. Give you a VERY STERN warning, and a $250 fine.

Great. Whatever, Judge. ( Ps, don't say that aloud....)


Arkitakama t1_je8kqkb wrote

$250 is a small price to pay when it comes to honoring the deceased.


slothscantswim t1_jea389z wrote

Improper disposal of human remains is a pretty serious charge in most states, not sure about here, but I would definitely speak to a lawyer about this if I were OP.


mugwhyrt t1_jea5hoo wrote

Not to mention that I doubt it's going to be easy to play dumb if investigators see this post


slothscantswim t1_jea7xy5 wrote

I’m not sure the investigation would go that far, but I wouldn’t leave it to chance.


M7BSVNER7s t1_jeb62od wrote

Before I saw the suggestions to burn the already cremated ashes instead of the whole body, I was expecting a follow up post in a few weeks asking "I found a partially burnt body while out fishing, who do I call?"


Stonesword75 t1_je6jwlq wrote

  1. Your mom sounds badass if this is her request.

  2. Good Ground, Great Beyond is the nonprofit that tried to legalize these. I'd check with them.


Mildly_maria OP t1_je6wj55 wrote

You’re very sweet. I’ll be sure to relay the message. Thank you!


Guygan t1_je6hm5u wrote

There was a proposed law (bill) that would allow this but it is not law in Maine (yet).


Mildly_maria OP t1_je6wh12 wrote

Thank you


AnonymousUnderpants t1_je6xb1s wrote

Yep, that’s being put forward thanks to my friend Angela—Good Ground Great Beyond is her nonprofit. They already have the land to become the 2nd open air crematory in the United States.

Sorry for the tangent; I’m just proud of her.


raynedanser t1_je7jpqn wrote

Good luck to her, I hope it happens here soon. We need more of this.


MaineChowder71 t1_je7h0x0 wrote

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. It's a terrible thing to go through for everyone. My little sister passed away last year at 38 years old from ovarian cancer. She wanted a Viking funeral also. It is illegal, but we celebrated with a small scaled down version of a Viking funeral.

She was initially cremated, but we wanted to respect her wishes, but obviously could not do so without breaking the law. So, my father constructed a small model boat in the form of a Viking ship, it was around 20 inches long. The sail was a piece of fabric decorated with a bunch of comic character prints. (Marvel I think, she was into graphic novels and that whole scene). We added some of her cremated ashes to the bottom of the model boat. We drafted a friend with a large boat moored north of Portland, and headed to the outskirts of the islands. We had a small service for her, just close family and a couple of friends, and when it was over, we sent the model ship out to the sea, setting it on fire with her ashes in it. Being made of mostly paper, it burned very quickly and what little remained sank immediately. The boat was made of newspaper and paper mache so the remains would decompose very quickly. There was very little if any waste left behind, and what was left would have basically disintegrated rapidly.

It may not be completely legal, but it was a nice way to honor our sister with our own adaptation of what she wanted for a funeral.

Good luck to you and your family.


raynedanser t1_je6oqmr wrote

I work at a funeral home. Sadly, this is not legal at this time. There's green burials, but not many cemeteries that honor that faithfully.

There are also biodegradable cremation containers if you're interested.


CptnAlex t1_je73sqa wrote

How possible is a tree burial in Maine, do you know?

I’m hopefully far off from death, but I find the idea of feeding a tree to be really comforting.


Lissma t1_je76wki wrote

Tree pod burials are one of the several bills for alternate methods of disposition that will have a public hearing in the legislature tomorrow. The hearings start at 2.


raynedanser t1_je7dcgs wrote

Thanks for beating me to it! :) We need more alternatives, especially as green burials gain in popularity.


dedoubt t1_je8h8zt wrote

>We need more alternatives

Having a family burial plot on private property opens things up to some degree.


raynedanser t1_je98ztp wrote

It does. There's still the formalities and paperwork, but it does help. The problem is ... What happens if the family sells or loses the property?


dedoubt t1_je9pnmj wrote

As someone else commented, the family will always have access to the plot. Of course it could make selling the property more difficult, because the buyer cannot use or develop the burial area, and they have to allow family access to the graves permanently. The burial plot can't be more than 1/4 acre, so it's probably not that big of a deal in most cases.


dedoubt t1_je8h41w wrote

>How possible is a tree burial in Maine, do you know?

If you own your own property, you can register a family burial plot with the town and county and bury your family at home.


AnchoriteCenobite t1_je7ervn wrote

> There's green burials, but not many cemeteries that honor that faithfully.

As someone who is planning on a green burial, can you name any cemeteries in Maine who are doing it right? I was looking at Baldwin Hill in Fayette.


raynedanser t1_je7frl0 wrote

What is your area and I can check at work tomorrow? There's one we've worked with a few times, but I just cannot think of the name at the moment.

PS- As someone that is mindful of the environment, I thank you for your interest in green burials.


AnchoriteCenobite t1_je9m3mw wrote

I'm in the Oxford Hills area but I would be happy to be buried anywhere in Maine. Thanks for checking.

I've tried quite hard to have a relatively minimal environmental impact in my life, the last thing I want is for my death to produce a ton of CO2 or pollute the soil.


raynedanser t1_je9mnvw wrote

Check out Rainbows End in Orrington. We've used them before.


AnchoriteCenobite t1_jea2xmd wrote

Thanks, will do! Am probably going to take a little road trip soon to check these places out in person and see where I want to return to the land. :)


raynedanser t1_jea5lw6 wrote

That's a wonderful idea. Again, thank you for being so kind to Mother Earth.


Odeeum t1_je7cxtt wrote

What is your policy on a sky funeral?


raynedanser t1_je7dhrb wrote

I'm not familiar with this. Sky funeral?


Odeeum t1_je7doco wrote

Sorry, I should have provided a link:


raynedanser t1_je7e37m wrote

No worries.

As far as I am aware, there is nothing in Maine that allows for this. Methods of disposition are cremation, burial with or without embalming, or donation to science. I'm not even sure where something like this would be set up. You wouldn't want this in your yard - decomposing bodies are nasty things.


DudlyDjarbum t1_je7mxzx wrote

Also burial at sea is still available.


raynedanser t1_je7owlu wrote

Good catch, thanks! I knew there was something else but it wasn't coming to me.


mislysbb t1_je7kz54 wrote

You could have your body sent to a “body farm” where they put your body out in the open, and let nature take its course; all while having it documented/studied by a forensics team.

Sky burials are done because of Tibetan tradition, and honestly, even that as a tradition is dying out for various reasons. Not something that will ever take hold here in the US (nor should it, imo)


Yourbubblestink t1_je6rkbq wrote

All burials are green in the end. That concrete vault you paid extra for will be filled with water in a year and that mahogany casket will be floating in it. There is so much bullshit involved in the funeral industry. In fact it’s all bullshit really.


raynedanser t1_je715pf wrote

Every time i answer a funeral question, I'm attacked every single time like I'm somehow responsible for it. I'm not. Just answering a question, so move on instead of taking it out on me (anyone, not just you). And no, not all burials are green in the end. - the processes are completely different. You're still dead and buried in the end. But not green. No.


lillianambrose t1_je7341n wrote

Yours is work that must be done, regardless of the condition of the industry. I’m sorry you’re treated like that.


raynedanser t1_je7jzap wrote

Thank you, I appreciate this. It's the same idea as grieving families, I think. I'm a face to take frustrations out on. Grief can often make people act out of character, for sure.


Yourbubblestink t1_je76us6 wrote

My intent was not to attack you but rather just to comment an industry that consists entirely of smoke and mirrors. It’s obviously an industry we need in some form


raynedanser t1_je7d8dv wrote

I appreciate this. I understand it's an industry that is both not understood and necessary and a lot of people are pissy because they can't just open up a hole and drop Grampa in it. There's policies and procedures and due process to this whether people like it or not.


Yourbubblestink t1_je7dru8 wrote

It never really occurred to me for some reason that people planning a funeral might be pissy toward the funeral director


raynedanser t1_je7eabz wrote

More like ... Our staff are easy people to take out grief and frustrations on. We're trained to deal with grief and we're strangers, so some people can act out more than others. And some are just jerks and it's more evident when they're grieving. We're not your enemy and are actually trying to help you.


Lissma t1_je77e9m wrote

Hey, you probably interact with me often professionally and I want to say the funeral directors in this state are awesome people and i love talking to them. A Massachusetts director got all in his feelings about me using the term "green burial" the other day and I'm like "chill out my guy I'm making conversation while I look up the information you want."


raynedanser t1_je7dfdo wrote

It's very possible I do. :) Feel free to PM me if you wish. ;-)

We try. I'm not a director, I'm in the office, so I'm first line when someone calls us. I put up with a LOT of crap sometimes, but try to be patient because the people I'm dealing with have just had their world rocked and are trying their best to cope. Some people do it better than others.


Lissma t1_je7gchu wrote

It's not letting me message you :/


alteredst88 t1_je79dt9 wrote

Vikings don't ask permission. Fire her up.


Reckless85 t1_je6sv84 wrote

If you go out into the ocean far enough, you can pretty much do whatever you want (international waters) but also this is completely unfounded legal advice from a person that's not an attorney.


Traditional-Pie-3019 t1_je6nv87 wrote

Apparently there are Viking runes at spirit pond near Freeport.

If she can’t get exactly what she wants, maybe planning to spread her ashes there would be soothing to her? Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. I’m so sorry to hear about a potential cancer diagnosis. I wish you all peace.


lobstah t1_je71dat wrote

My friend's mother wanted her ashes to be put into fireworks. I don't know where they got them from, or if it was legal, but they got it done, and it was pretty cool ! / just an alternative if a bad ass Viking Funeral is nixed.


snackpakatak69 t1_je6jv1j wrote

Imma comment here because this is what I would like done with my body as well. So hopefully this keeps me updated.


Super-Lychee8852 t1_je7k5l5 wrote

Have to be careful, often in modern times the body is cremated then placed on a raft in a wooden container. Rafts burn faster then bodies do so the body ends up being partially burnt and washing to shore


tesaril t1_je7o2i0 wrote

Must agree, regretfully. Not many corpse police in Maine though.


tesaril t1_je7my5l wrote

Contact the Society for Creative Anachronism in your area. They will be overly assistive. They recreate medieval life from like whenever to pre gun. I was a Veassllurd Visigoth Barbarian.

We DID history. They can advise. Filled with historians, activists, etc. They'll know!


at2168 t1_je7kwil wrote

There’s a guy that teaches a class at the Common Ground Fair all about different alternatives for burials, I will try to find his information for you, but if someone else has it, feel free to chime in.


at2168 t1_jeacdy3 wrote

His name is Chuck Lakin, lastthings dot net is his website with a ton of resources specific to Maine. Good luck, peace to you.


Mjolnir36 t1_je7ov6m wrote

My Icelandic nephew is a pyrotechnic technician in Iceland, l will be sent to the stars as ashes on the following New Years Eve of my death. Commingling black powder and human ashes is not a big deal.


Slice-O-Pie t1_je7yid7 wrote

Sorry to hear about your mom.

A funeral pyre won't turn a body to ashes. Crematoriums use flame and heat at a much higher level than an open air fire could achieve - and even then the resulting "ashes" are mostly ground up bone.


Karen_Moody t1_je9enll wrote

It's 100% pulverized bone. All that's left after 2 hours at 1500⁰ is bone and metal implants.


Gerefa t1_je7waiu wrote

I am fairly certain what she is referring to is a proposal in the legislature to make this(DIY family cremation) legal and they fortunately did not. There is a reason that crematoria use costly, specialized equipment. I am not aware of any that offer other options than that, and cremating without their help is not currently legal. A wood fuel pyre is going to take tens of hours to dontge job and i speculate will cause considerable distress and disgust to many family members. A society with as many people living in it as we have needs to have a good plan for dealing with remains. Happy that we did not permit a free for all to the states arm chair morticians


Tronbronson t1_je84p9u wrote

You could have her cremated and then put the ashes on a raft and give them the old viking funeral. would be.... so much less messy lol


Fenidreams t1_je86rwk wrote

I know a plot of land and water if you need, if you can find a legal way to do it and need a body of water and land. It’s not going to be able to happen with a body, you’ll most likely need to cremate first. But best of wishes!!!


ROclimbingbabeCK t1_je8gifo wrote

I went to one and they built a wooden raft put the ashes on the raft and lit a torch on it. Then floated it down the river.


mikemerriman t1_je94crl wrote

You won’t be left with nice clean ashes in an open air cremation. Are you prepared to deal with the state of the remains?


SheSellsSeaShells967 t1_jea1tes wrote

Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking. And I’m also wondering if a person could be charged with abuse of a corpse.


mikemerriman t1_jea48b6 wrote

I did a burial at sea (commerical vessel capt) and was asked if I could fire the ashes out of the cannon. We did it. pretty interesting


TheLiquidForge t1_je7guqh wrote

I think for the right price you could probably find someone with land up north that would be totally down with having a quiet ceremony for your mom. Have beers available, clear night, some music… baby, that’s a heck of a night.

I’m sure plenty of stuff in Kokadjo has happened without the sheriffs knowing.


tesaril t1_je7n32a wrote

There's a group right in Portland. Malagentia. Google it.


tesaril t1_je7nr1p wrote

The part about a Viking funeral that makes it special is actually the building of the raft/ boat by the community, setting it adrift and setting it on fire. You watch your kin burn in the water, the fire extinguishes. Then drink. Get it.

So she may be saying she wants a community send off, when she has passed, on a floating vessel that the community burns and sinks.



DudlyDjarbum t1_je7pwq0 wrote

I'd like to know what if any consequences would be incurred for just doing this sans permission.

This is not like people being spread at Disney with children walking around.


greenglasstree t1_je7zlnr wrote

Honestly, just to be super safe from legal BS, maybe look into doing this in New Hampshire.


Cammander2017 t1_je8jabp wrote

Sorry if this has already been shared, but might want to cross post in the DeathPositive sub - some fine folks with funerary backgrounds hanging out over there and I see useful advice passed around on the regular.


RussettBurbank t1_je6wv39 wrote

This was my moms wish as well ! Never made it to fruition. Good luck.


warship_me t1_je7cygy wrote

Badass! I want one as well. Sadly, they’re not legal, but I wonder if you can arrange something similar after cremation.


Asarian t1_je7cyvx wrote

International waters might do the trick.


e_sully12 t1_je7nk8q wrote

My SO has always said this is how they want to go. Good to know it might be a possibility!


MoonLoony t1_je7s2j0 wrote

This is a really interesting subject. OP, I hope your mom recovers and has many years to plan ahead. My mom wants to be put on an ice burg, as the Inuits do when their elders are ready. The cold makes a person go to sleep and never awaken. I am not sure how to pull this off without being charged with murder. I hopefully have time.


stlfiremaz t1_je827qv wrote

A wooden row boat 5 gallons of gasoline A few bow hunting friends


foxywatson t1_jeaci08 wrote

While this isn’t specific to what your mom wants or even Maine, as someone who lost her mom I recommend looking up the Death Wives they are a group of women that speak openly about death and different path options they might have options your mom gravitates too if you can’t do exactly what she wants.


MalcolmJS t1_jeao54e wrote

Sadly, I've done this for a few friends. The only way yo do it legally and right is to have your mother cremated, build a boat, and put her ashes in the boat. My wife works for a funeral home, running their crematorium, and it takes a LOT to reduce a person to ashes. Just placing your mother in a boat and setting it on fire would not generate enough heat, and what would be left would not be pleasant.

Check locally, but most states have no restrictions on the transportation or dispersal of human ashes...that's how its OK for folks to spread ashes in lakes, fields, woods et al. Once you have your mothers ashes, you should be fine putting them in a boat.


penobscotcrab t1_jecp3wl wrote

I shot my parents ashes out of a canon


EdSmelly t1_je78lur wrote

I’ll do it. 👋


gigistuart t1_je9cqog wrote

There is a natural burial place in Ellsworth - I think it’s called Rainbows End - they may have info on more non- traditional burial options


Big_Reception1947 t1_je9gaai wrote

There are 23 million acres in Maine of which 90% is wooded. In other words (as Nike would say) - just do it.


HughDanforth t1_je9lazi wrote

Your mom is kick ass! Good for her and fuck cancer.


AlanaPaige207 t1_je9lbhg wrote

I kayaked by a boat this summer that has funerals at sea. I will see if I can find the photo and phone number of this place and maybe they can help you?


jarnhestur t1_jeafdvd wrote

Know the difference between civil and criminal offenses. 😎


ToddE207 t1_jeaphew wrote

legal or not, I'm giving these instructions to my children!