In 2013, in only the second episode of the series, HANNIBAL featured a pharmacist who would abduct diabetics, monkey with their insulin in order to send them into a diabetic coma, then bury them in neat little rows in the forest. Buried in shallow graves lined with nutrient-rich mulch, these bodies were used as food for mushrooms, which grew freely over these bodies. At the time, I called this “inventive and horrifying.” Little did I know that someone was actually working on a real-life version of this, but with less nefarious intentions.
A company called Coeio, founded by Jae Rhim Lee has created what is called the Infinity Burial Suit and takes the concept of HANNIBAL’s mushroom field to a less-creepy place.
The Infinity Burial Suit, or the Mushroom Death Suit, depending on how creepy you want to be, kind of looks like ninja pajamas if the circulatory system was embroidered on them. The suit contains a biological mix of ingredients made up of two different types of mushrooms, as well as micro organisms that aid in decomposition, work to neutralize toxins found in the body, and transfer nutrients to plant life. Designed to be worn by a corpse who has not been embalmed and is buried straight into the earth (or in a biodegradable container), the suit is completely biodegradable.
The mushroom spores in the suit have not been altered in any way. Lee “fed” a variety of mushrooms her sloughed hair, skin, and nails to see which mushrooms were best at “digesting” and decomposing body matter. She settled on two different types of mushrooms: edible and mycorrhizal (a fungus that has a symbiotic relationship with other plants). While the edibility of the mushrooms grown on the death suit is still being researched, so far it seems to be completely safe. No word yet on how it tastes.
Coeio hopes to have the Infinity Burial Suit available to the public by mid-2016, and aim to price it at $999. Pet burial pods will also be available, with the expected price to top out at $200. The first commercial use of the Infinity Burial Suit will be by Dennis White, a 63-year-old man with a fatal neurodegenerative disease. Coeio filmed a documentary about White planning his green funeral, including his decision to be turned into a mushroom patch.