In China, all things are possible!

But, this one takes the cake!

Corpses of Women Dug Up and Sold for Ghost Marriages

by Elysia McMahan

You may be wondering what exactly a "ghost marriage" is at this point.

No, it's not something out of Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride.

We had never even heard of the ancient tradition before stumbling upon this story.

Ghost marriages are legally-binding nuptials in which one or both parties are deceased. The tradition takes place all over the world, but India, Sudan and China are particularly known for carrying out these macabre ceremonies.

While there are many different purposes for a ghost marriage, most have to do with societal expectations and widows showing their devotion to a deceased partner. Families often times initiate this custom so that their unmarried, deceased children can have a family in the afterlife.

The formal wedding ceremonies are held in temples. Offerings are burned to give the partners objects to use in the spirit world and paper stand-ins are used for the deceased bride or groom.

After vows are exchanged, the stand-ins are burned and in the case where both partners are dead, their bones are often buried together.

Although ghost marriages were outlawed a few decades ago, there has been an increased popularity with them in China. The 3,000 year-old custom has been making a comeback because of the booming economy.

Four men from northwest China have just been sent to prison for digging up the corpses of women and selling them for this purpose.

According to ABC News, the grave robbers allegedly took the bodies of 10 women to sell them to the families of men who died as bachelors. The so-called "brides" were taken from graves in Ya'an province in 2011 and sold for around $38,000 each, as stated by court reports.

In the middle of the night, the thieves dug up the remains of the women and then took them to their homes to be cleaned up and in order for the remains to fetch premium prices, the medical records were even forged to make it appear that the corpse was recently deceased. The four men have been sentenced to up to three years in prison for the grisly crime.

This growing demand for recently departed women has started to fuel the flame on the trade of body snatching.

There have been cases reported by the Chinese media of brokers actually going out and murdering women to sell their bodies for ghost marriages. And back in 2006, a 52-year-old farmer, Sung Tiantang, admitted to killing six women to sell their bodies.

Corpses on the black market can sell for thousands of dollars. The prettier, younger and fresher the cadaver is, the better.

Times certainly have changed since the days where two families would meet to arrange the marriages.


NOTE: You can actually see 25 other photos of odd things available in China.
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