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Holy Smoke' Allows You to Load Your Relatives' Ashes Into Shotgun Shells & Cartridges


"This isn't a joke. It's a job that we take very seriously."

No, folks, this isn't an Onion headline. Two Alabama conservation enforcement officers have seized upon America's entrepreneurial spirit to launch Holy Smoke LLC. And unlike traditional religious burials, these guys are adding yet another remembrance alternative into the mix.

A service for hunters and gun enthusiasts, alike, the company will load the cremated ashes of lost loved ones into shotgun shells (oh, and rifle and pistol cartridges as well). Yes, you read that correctly. They will very literally fill shells and cartridges with the remains of perished family members and friends -- if you so choose.

Of course, there's a cost (this is a business after all) for Holy Smoke to memorialize your lost loved ones in this intriguing manner. Here's how it works: After someone passes away, he or she is cremated. Then, the remains are sent to Holy Smokes.

Once they reach the company, they are loaded into the ammunition and anything that's left over is simply sent back to the customers with the filled cartridges and shells. Apparently, the entire process only takes about 48 hours from the time of receiving the ashes.

The company's founders, Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell, believe that this is the perfect way to commemorate a hunter and/or outdoorsman's life. Parnell explains:

"This isn't a joke. It's a job that we take very seriously. This is a reverent business. We take the utmost care in what we do and show the greatest respect for the remains."

According to Holmes, the company is very careful to employ individuals highly proficient and experienced in handling the remains:

"The people we use are all experienced reloaders and know exactly what we want them to do. Only one bag of ash will be opened at a time, and the equipment will be thoroughly cleaned before the next set of remains is loaded."

If you're wondering how the concept for the company came to be, look no further the Holy Smokes' web site. Here's a snippet of the back story:

Several years ago I was talking with my friend and co-worker at work one evening. We were discussing the passing of one of our relatives and the topic of conversation turned to our own demise and whether we preferred burial or cremation.  I told my friend that I had some cost, waste of space and ecological issues with burials and that I thought I wanted to be cremated and in some fashion, have my ashes tossed into a river or spread through the woods.

My friend  smiled and said "You know I've thought about this for some time and I want to be cremated. Then I want my ashes put into some turkey load shotgun shells and have someone that knows how to turkey hunt use the shotgun shells with my ashes to shoot a turkey. That way I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second."

And here's the pricing information:

While some people will likely find this practice completely bizarre, others will find solace in it. Regardless of one's opinion, it's simply another way to celebrate someone's life. Whether the bullets are used, though, is another question.

Toxicologist Robert Chapin warns that, should the ash-filled shells and cartridges be used to kill animals, hunters should try and kill the animal quickly. This will help to prevent the ashes from entering the animal's bloodstream. Also, consuming the area around the bullet isn't a good idea, Chapin says.

Who says Americans are running out of good business ideas?

(H/T: Jonathan Turley)

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