There​ i​s a lot of misinformation out there about natural burial. Some of it is promulgated by the funeral industry; some of it is simply urban legend​,​ or ​false but commonly held ideas. Let’s explode some myths​! (Click on each myth to learn the truth…)

NOT TRUE

Most conventional cemeteries do, as part of their conditions of service, but for them it’s all about maintaining a flat surface for mowing (and about making a profit, as vaults can add thousands to the cost of a funeral).

NOT TRUE

You can act as your own funeral director in both Ohio and Kentucky (in Indiana, a funeral director is required by law). You can even prepare a body and have services in your own home (learn more from the National Home Funeral Alliance).

NOT TRUE

You can be chilled instead. A funeral director can do this for you in a big walk-in cooler, or, for a “home funeral,” you can use dry ice, gel packs, and so on to chill the body. (It is true, however, that a funeral home may require embalming – both for “viewing,” and also, again, as a profit-making venture.)

NOT TRUE

In fact, embalming only retards the decomposition process – for a few weeks or months at the most. Embalmed bodies in hermetically sealed caskets and concrete vaults deteriorate nonetheless.

NOT TRUE

You can be buried in a simple pine box coffin, or in a simple shroud, or on a trundle (a flat board coffin with no lid), or only in your street clothes, or naked, if you wish. What are commonly considered “requirements,” even laws, are actually the regulations of individual cemeteries and funeral homes. Again, think “profit margin.”

NOT TRUE

In England, where natural burial is prevalent, numerous scientific studies of ground water have indicated no deterioration of water quality. And, because green cemeteries don’t have runoff from fertilizers, spilled fuels, pesticides or other toxins, creeks and streams near natural burial preserves actually have cleaner water than those near conventional cemeteries. Soil is a remarkably good filter.

NOT TRUE

Animals simply do not dig into graves. Ramsey Creek, a natural burial cemetery in South Carolina that has been burying human bodies naturally since 1998, has a wild boar population as well as black bears, and they have never experienced any problems. This is one of those “old-wives-tale” myths popular in scary stories. Nature preserve cemeteries throughout the United States have virtually no issues with animals disturbing graves. Pioneers buried in cemeteries near wilderness areas did not experience grave disturbances from animals, either; why should we now?