Stace Owens has no intention of leaving this world when he dies. He plans to stick around for decades or longer, preserved in plastic and displayed in a museum or medical school.
The 33-year-old real estate agent is among more than 7,000 people who have agreed to donate their bodies for plastination, a process in which body fluids are replaced by liquid plastic. The plastic hardens, leaving tissues intact and allowing bodies to be displayed in their natural color and without formaldehyde.
The process was made popular by Gunther von Hagens’ “Body Worlds,” a controversial anatomy exhibit that puts real human specimens on view. Most are flayed and dissected, revealing their organs. Others are kept intact and displayed in dramatic action poses, such as a basketball player driving to the hoop or a runner in full stride.