Hunter S. Thompson's cremated remains, mixed with fireworks and packed into 34 mortar tubes, were en route to Woody Creek Wednesday. The unusual shipment from New Castle, Pa., via padlocked truck is one of the final steps towards a funeral Saturday expected to mix solemnity with pageantry.
"At that time, with the full moon rising over Woody Creek, it will be the most fantastic celebration happening on the planet," said Matt Moseley, spokesman for Owl Farm, the name given to Thompson's 42-acre Woody Creek property.
Thompson's only son, Juan Thompson, stresses the respectful tone he wants to strike, but acknowledges that his father's funeral wishes were unusual. Based on Hunter Thompson's comments in a 1978 BBC documentary, fireworks launchers will arc his ashes from a 153-foot structure capped by a double-thumbed, red Fiberglas fist.
The ashes wrapped in brown craft paper - similar to a supermarket bag but smoother - are set to fly at sunset, according to Marcy Zambelli, spokeswoman for the prominent fireworks company that bears her family name and will handle the display.
Zambelli said the fireworks will explode 300 feet in the air with a white flourish before Thompson's ashes fall to rest on the rustic property he called a "psychic anchor."
A fire ban that would have scuttled pyrotechnics was lifted last week because of wet weather, said Pitkin County Sheriff's Director of Investigations Joe DiSalvo. But he still expected a firetruck to be on hand.
Thompson's ashes equaled the size of a basketball when widow Anita Thompson delivered them to the fireworks company Aug. 9, said Zambelli. The ashes are expected to return to Thompson's home in their new form - depending on such worldly factors as traffic - by Friday.
Thompson, who some consider one of literature's most influential writers, killed himself with a gun blast in the head on Feb. 20 at his home. He was 67.
An unusual scene will greet Thompson's ashes upon arrival at Woody Creek RockyMountainNews reports.