Some people have a hard time letting go of their pets when they die. The emotions are just too painful, so what do they do? Some turn to a sorceress in Brooklyn New York to have their pet mummified. That’s right, mummified just like in old Egypt.
The Brooklyn mystic, PD Cagliastro, studied for 20 years to get the “formula” right by consulting individuals and text in the fields of embalming, chemistry and from ancient Egypt. “It was a sick fascination,” said Cagliastro, who works and lives in her “house of death” with her teenage daughter and husband, an exterminator. “Heart-broken men make up 70 percent of her business,” she said.
In order to mummify the animals, Cagliastro must first remove the animal’s organs and then the animal is dried out for months in salt mixture. All other remains must then be removed after the animal is taken from the salt bath. Then the animal is then wrapped, painted and sometimes decorated depending on the client’s desires.
“We have our putrid days. That’s when we know it’s a labor of love,” said Cagliastro. In addition to her business she is also teaching a sold-out class in mummification at the Observatory gallery in Brooklyn next Sunday. Cagliastro has worked on some pretty bizarre animals and animal parts like a crocodile, racing pigeon, snakes eggs, tarantula and even a cattle heart that she made into a sculpture to help a Midwest rancher entice his girlfriend to come back to him.
“There was something really special about him,” said Sebastian Duque, 26, a web designer who had his cat, Jake, mummified after it was hit by a car in 2008. His frog, Alice, was also mummified in linen and plaster. Jake now resides on top of his bookshelf in his Upper East Side apartment, and Alice lives in a drawer.
“When my cat died, I had supreme sadness. I was completely destroyed by it,” said Turner, 55, an Upper East Side businessman who refused to disclose his last name for fear of being ridiculed. It’s very personal. Even people I know well, I can’t say that this is my mummified cat in the corner. They would think you are crazy,” he explained.
The services cost between $100 and $400 dollars and clients come from all over the United States, and from around the world to preserve their pets for eternity.