LIKE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS, SUMMUM BELIEVES NOTHING REALLY DIES. BUTCH, A DOBERMAN PINSCHER WHO WAS MUMMIFIED YEARS AGO, IS PLACED AT THE AUTOMATIC DOOR OF THE SUMMUM PYRAMID TO GET 'SOME FRESH AIR'. PHOTO BY RON LAYTNER, EDIT INTERNATIONAL.
“WHY SPEND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN HEALTH CLUB FEES WHILE YOU’RE ALIVE, THEN LET EVERYTHING GO TO POT JUST BECAUSE YOU’VE DIED?”
By Ron Laytner
Copyright 2012 Edit International
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH: Deep in the heart of America, just five blocks from the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, a strange industry is growing inside a shining golden pyramid. It’s Summum Corporation world headquarters and it’s in the ancient, but revived business of making mummies.
Almost 1200 people around the world in just about every country have asked for special mummy instructions using Summum’s world-wide-web internet site. And 1457 have paid in advance to be mummified and have their mummies placed in special sanctuaries. They and many of the rich and famous want their bodies prepared in Utah so that they can last for thousands of years or be 'reanimated' using new DNA research and their new bodies genetically engineered to perfection, with their memories of their last life resurrected within them in the near future.
Mohamed El Fayed, billionaire father of Dodi Fayed, who died with Princess Diana in their Paris car crash, contacted Summum and wants to be mummified. Fayed startled England when he said he wanted to become a mummy at his death. Said Fayed spokesman Laurie Mayer, “He has already built a mummiform to contain his body and a sphinx with his face on it and they await his passing so he can be displayed on the second floor of his Harrods Department store in London.”
Corky Ra, 60, a California licensed Funeral Director and founder of Summum, said: “We are dealing with 167 of the rich and famous and their children, some of them movie stars who want their bodies to last as close to forever as possible. They have contracted with Summum to be perfectly preserved with their genetics and DNA to become the advanced beings of the future.
We had to sign special agreements with their lawyers that their names would not be used. Imagine what the tabloids would do with the names of someone like a Michael Jackson or a Brad Pitt, Julie Roberts, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, or many other famous people.
Thanatogeneticists at Summum have tried out the new-age modern scientific medical techniques of mummifying scientifically developed and patented by Ra on 30 unclaimed bodies at a renowned US Medical School’s pathology Department over 15 years.
“The medical process Summum) developed with animals worked perfectly on humans,” said Ra. “Inside mummiforms they could have lasted thousands of years. But after a period of time, according to the laws of Florida the indigent bodies were cremated
Now modern mummification is taught at Lynn University in Boca Raton Florida in one of the Universities graduate courses.”
Summum has 1,487 contracted and fully paid for people who have actually signed up to be mummified as soon as they die. Most have taken out life insurance trust account policies held by Summum that will provide a minimum of $67,000 for the process. Many contracts amount to more than $350,000.
The company says it has more than 27,000 signed contracts and wills waiting to be filled when their owner’s die. Said, Ra, “Summum receives about 300 internet inquiries for our downloads every day world wide asking for our legal documents.
"It's very private. We don't even know their names. But hits on our website come from Ireland to China. But the papers will not arrive until those people, many of them probably quite young, pass on,” explained Ra. "Mr. Fayed wants to become a mummy so he contacted us because we are the only people in the world actually making mummies."
Summum has done many cats, dogs and birds at up to $25,000 each that will end up beside their owners who also wish to be mummified. But not everyone who wants to be a mummy can have their after death wish granted.
A young man who belonged to Summum and had taken out mummification insurance, was killed accidentally in Utah.. “When we wanted to carry out his wishes, his family totally objected. They cremated him and then gave us the ashes which we keep in a small stainless steel pyramid” said Ron Temu, a funeral director and Thanatogeneticist in Summum.
Corky Ra, like almost everyone else connected with Summum, is fascinated with Ancient Egypt and the Buddhist tradition of mummifying the Dali Lamas and certain other lamas. He even legally changed his name from Claude Nowell, to that of Summum Bonum Amon Ra which means a “Worker of Creation”.
Said Ra: “Walt Disney provided in his will that he be cryogenically frozen so that future doctors could someday revive him using new medical techniques. But as soon as he died his wife canceled the contract and, against his wishes, had him cremated. It was a good lesson. That’s why we have prepared all legal documents on the Internet and listed them under mummification. All the immediate family, children, lawyers and executors of the estate must sign.”
Dr. Beverly Janus, a clinical psychotherapist in Toronto says money may have a lot to do with revoking mummy wills. “When someone dies and leaves $60,000 perfectly healthy dollars of their estate to become a mummy it is not surprising that some heirs object and want the money for themselves.”
Summum and some small Buddhist sects are the only people in the world today making mummies. “The ancient Egyptians turned people into a dried-out object like beef jerky. But our wet process keeps the body fresh and supple,” said Ra. “When, after several months, we remove the bodies of animals that have been kept in my special preserving solution in a sealed tank, their owners are surprised to find their pets have soft fur, eyes that look normal and healthy and there is a total absence of rigor mortis.“
The body being mummified is taken from the preserving liquid vat, cleaned, covered in soft lanolin cream. It's then wrapped in 27 layers of gauze, the only similarity to a typical mummy. The body is then encased in resin (like the natural amber holding dinosaur DNA in Jurassic Park) and then painted over and sealed in with a plastic paint. They are next covered in plaster used in broken bone casts and finally, if an animal, covered in gold leaf paint or any other color. Then the most expensive process takes place. The mummy is placed inside a quarter inch bronze mummiform.
Animals are positioned in a favorite remembered position. Humans will be placed regular mummy style, but inside hermetically sealed and welded bronze or stainless steel half-inch thick mummiforms, with a death mask, if desired, of the dead on its cover. Mummies will be shipped back to their homelands all over the world. Many will be stored in specially constructed sanctuaries in a mountain in Utah.
There is a certain appeal to being a new type mummy, says Ra. “Why spend thousands of dollars in health club fees while you’re alive, then let everything go to pot just because you’ve died?”
Nobody knows how long Ra’s mummies will last. But Ron Temu, also known as Summum Bonum Amon Temu, a future mummy himself, believes they’ll be good for thousands of years. “We recently X-rayed Ra’s cat Oscar who was mummified more than a decade ago. They show Oscar is in a virtual state of suspended animation, with his cartilage and even the lenses of his eyes still intact.”
John Chew, a former professor of Mortuary Science at Florida’s Lynn University and now director of an embalming supply company in Florida, says mortuary science students are worried about the growing popularity of low-cost, low profit cremations. And they are overwhelmingly interested in learning Summum's art of mummification. Perhaps a new type of franchise will come to life.
There is another rather appealing and even stranger side to the new mummifications in Utah. Could it lead to a sort of eternal resurrection?
Said Corky Ra: “Scientists are taking us right now into the golden age of medicine and science. Most people, no matter how educated, find it hard to believe that people will soon be cloned from DNA. When it happens scientists will be able to remove DNA from our perfectly preserved mummies and use it to make clones. What is even more interesting is that researchers are just beginning to discover DNA strands of age and memory.
“Perhaps in 40 or 50 years or less, people who are mummified now will be cloned as a new-born baby, genetically engineered for the future as a super human and when they reach a certain age they had liked and requested in their will, perhaps 25, they will have all their memory up to that point restored.... and start all over again. I'd certainly like to do that.”
Summum, without a doubt, is a strange and compelling story, but it gets even more interesting. Because it's founder, Corky Ra, passed away on January 29, 2008. He has become Summum's first known modern human mummy.
His loyal followers believe that in the future, scientists using Mr. Ra's DNA samples placed inside his mummiform, will be able to clone him as a new born baby. They believe Corky Ra will be back.
By Ron Laytner
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