We already know 93% of students polled sleep with their cell phones, but did you know most people under 40 are being buried with their cell phones after they die?

It seems that everyone under 40 who dies takes their cell phone with them,” says Noelle Potvin, family service counselor for Hollywood Forever, a funeral home and cemetery in Hollywood, Calif. “It’s a trend with BlackBerrys, too. We even had one guy who was buried with his Game Boy.”  
Anecdotal evidence suggests being buried with a favorite tech device is on the upswing. The Future Laboratory, a London-based think tank, has commented on the behavior, noting it in places like the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa. But experts are seeing it happen in the United States as well.

When Manhattan criminal defense attorney John Jacobs died in 2005, his wife, Marion Seltzer, not only buried him with his phone and a fully charged battery, she continues to pay the monthly phone bill and even calls him on occasion (since the battery’s now dead, the calls immediately go into Jacobs’ voicemail). She also had his cell phone number carved onto his headstone so others can call him, too, according to one television report.

“We had a young man die this past summer and they put his cell phone in the casket for the viewing and it rang constantly,” he says. “It was turned to silent, but you could see the phone light up so you knew people were calling. And they were leaving messages. They knew he was dead, but they were still calling.”

If you’re sleeping with the fishes — or if the worms are eating you, or if the moles are burrowing through you, or if the bedbugs are biting your dirty ashes — what’s the point of having your bony, skeletal hand on the “Call” button?

Are we so unable to accept the aspect of death that we find the preservation of life in the virtual realization comforting:  “If I can only reach my beloved’s Voice Mail, the end is only temporary and not everlasting?”

Has the science of cellular technology finally trumped the psychic realization that the concluding aesthetic of the body provocatively posed in a casket tableau is the most appropriate, final, end of a life well loved?

How soon will we see people being buried with their 60″ flatscreen HDTVs?


  1. I hope never.
    So ridiculous. Makes the saying about our possessions not coming with us to the world to come seem all the more relevant.

  2. It’s so crazy, Gordon! I guess cellphones and television sets will be the trinkets we take with us into the afterlife just like the Egyptians took with them their jewels and gemstones.

  3. Interesting custom.
    We have a ritual to say the last “goodbuy” by offering everything the person used to use/ like which gets ablzed along with. Resembles the same – I guess.

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