While the existence of the afterlife is a great, enduring mystery, we’re at least able to control what happens to our physical bodies once we’ve left this mortal coil. And while many people still choose to be buried in cemeteries, cremation is becoming an increasingly popular choice. But few people know the reality of what actually goes on in a crematorium. Indeed, there’s much more to the process than simply incinerating a body.
At one time, cremation was barely given a second thought by funeral companies. In fact, in 1980, fewer than 10 percent of people in the U.S. were cremated. But in the decades since, that trend has completely reversed. These days cremation is actually more popular in the U.S., and many other countries, than a traditional burial. In Japan, for instance, 99.97 percent of people were cremated in 2014.