The Death of Jesus Christ

Eighty-three year old William stood out in stark contrast against the crowd of dreary onlookers in the village of Lantrisant in South Wales. Not just because he was towering over them from atop a steep pile of coal. Not just because he was draped in a tunic and had a fox perched on his head. And it wasn’t just because he was shouting out incantations in a strange Druidic tongue. He stood out because he was about to set fire to the body of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was William’s five month old son who had died of a dental infection a few days before. What William was about to do on January 18th, 1884 was technically not illegal, but no one was quite sure since it hadn’t even been considered for a very long time. But William was adamant that he not waste good land and pollute his mother earth with the flesh of man.

With a burning torch raised towards the sky, William’s voice thundered out into the chilly wet morning, “Gods and Goddesses of the Tuatha De Dannan, with the flames of your spirits I light this sacred fire!” The torch fell from his hand and onto the resin-soaked kindling that swaddled the dead child. The flames had just started to rise when someone in the crowd rushed the hill, shoved William aside and snatched the body from the embers. The fox fell from his head as two policemen roughly ushered William from the scene.

By the end of the next month, Victorian custom had been turned on its head by the crazy old man. William Price was found to have broken no laws. The precedent was set and cremation became common practice. William went on to father a second “Jesus Christ” at the age of ninety.

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