SHANDONG, China – Chinese authorities recently arrested eleven people who were accused of being involved in a ritual called ‘Ghost Marriage’.
‘Ghost Marriage’ is an ancient ritual but was still practiced in several rural parts of China. The ritual requires burying a woman next to a man who has recently died single so that he may have the companion in the afterlife.
According to reports, these people dug up a dead woman’s body from her grave in Shandong province and sold the corpse as ‘ghost bride’ for 18,000 yuan (HK$22,760).
One of the suspects, identified only by his surname Wang, told reporters that the price of a dead woman’s body is higher if it was dug and sold days or months closer to her death. The fresher the corpse they sell, the higher its worth. For instance, the corpse of woman they recently sold to a middleman was just three months after her death when they dug her body.
“Years-old carcasses are not worth a damn, while the ones that have just died, like this one, are valuable,” Wang stated. “They could be sold for somewhere between 16,000 and 20,000 yuan.”
Wang is said to be the ringleader of the suspects. Reports claimed that he was initially arrested when he was caught stealing a motorcycle and eventually confessed the involvement to the crime regarding the ritual during the interrogation.
Stealing corpses is a criminal offense in China and one can be punished with jail term of three years once caught.
Meanwhile, police officers in charge of the case declined to comment and provide more details, saying the investigation is still on going, as of this writing.
The authorities find this ‘ghost marriage’ tradition an outdated superstition, but over the years, there still were reports showing the continuity of the ritual in different parts of the country, especially in rural areas.