Death: The Ultimate Outlaw

Mayor Roberto Pereira da Silva, of Biritiba-Mirim, has instigated a law making it illegal for residents to die.


The town's cemetery is full.

The law would see relatives of people who die face fines or even jail.

Mayor Pereira da Silva said, "Eighty nine per cent of the town is rivers, the rest is protected because it is tropical jungle."

Gym memberships have reportedly shot up since the mayor announced his plans, and more people are visiting doctors.

The state government had promised to help build a new vertical cemetery. They didn't say when, though. Tricky bastards.

No one is a fan of Death.
Well, maybe this man's version of Death:

But Death is something we all spend out lives noticing, contemplating and experiencing on some level. Fear of Death is may be the strength behind many religions. Worship our way and transcend Death is the welcome mat that takes many across the threshold.

The ancient Egyptians (at least the upper class) welcomed Death as it led them to a greater existence as gods.

And this leads me to death masks. Extensive subject.

How is a death mask made?

First, a mould is made by covering the face with a thin layer of plaster of Paris (the eyebrows and lashes are usually smeared with oil first to keep them from sticking to the plaster). Once the first layer has begun to dry, a second, thicker layer of plaster is added. When the outer layer has dried the whole mould is removed from the face.

The hollow mould is used to make the mask itself. Plaster, wax and metal are often used.

At right is the death mask of Alfred Hitchcock.




Ulysses Grant's

James Joyce's




Ned Kelly's

Oliver Cromwell's

George Bernard Shaw's






Anonymous said...

Keats was so pretty. He was right up there with Orlando Bloom. Voltaire could have been the old guy on Benny Hill. And is that some sort of symbolic thing covering up Nietze's mouth?

Jennifer Jordan said...

The Neitzsche death mask is, dare I say, creepy. I think Voltaire looked remarkably happy.

Steven said...

Nietzsche's mustache covered over his lips. Beethoven looked pretty haggard for a man in his fifties. Are you sure Voltaire was dead when they made his mask? There were life masks as well. Interesting to see that Lincoln died sans beard. And Napoleon looks like he's ready to get up and slap someone.

The outlawing of death reminds me of a Cheever story "The Death of Justina" I think, where a man has to deal with a corpse in a town that had mistakenly outlawed death. They were planning to rectify the problem in the next session only a few months away...

Jennifer Jordan said...

Thanks for clearing up the Nietzsche death mask appearence. No longer creepy; just wondering how he ate.