A teenager's corpse has been snatched from her grave in China for a disturbingly dark reason.
The Mirror reports that the authorities suspect her body was dug up to be used in a "ghost marriage" also know as "minghun" or "spirit marriage."
There's bizarre, there's deranged, there's frothing at the mouth, bug-eyed lunacy, and then there's the practice of digging up corpses and marrying them, also know as ghost marriages — something which is apparently on the rise in China. Grabbing a trusty pick and shovel and setting out to dig up your decaying bride to be from the cold unyielding earth is not something even the master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe, would have considered to be the done thing.
Yet in medieval China it was all the rage to marry a woman who was cold, rigid, riddled with worms, and softly decaying.
When Chairman Mao came to power in 1949, he decided such a custom wasn't appropriate and banned the practice of marrying the dead.
Fast forward six decades or so, and it would appear the not so much gothic, but decomposing look is all the rage again, and police in China believe at least dozens of bodies have been dug up, given a new frock, a splash of make-up, and liberally doused with some strong perfume before being married off.
Before we venture any further beyond the grave into this dark and hellish tale, it should be stressed that the corpse brides are not being married to actual living people but to bachelors who were buried before they could tie the knot.
Still, the practice of ghost marriages remains freaky with a capital "F," especially because a big business has been built up around snatching corpse brides from their grave. These gone-to-seed ladies can fetch thousands of dollars from families who want to see their dead sons married.
The Mirror reports that in parts of China it is an ancient superstition that if a man dies before he finds a bride, he will experience nothing but bad luck in the next life. You would possibly think that being dead is as bad as it gets, but some believe that being a dead bachelor is even worse.
To help their dearly departed out, families are paying people to find corpse brides for ghost marriages to take place.
Once unearthed, the corpse brides are reinforced with metal wires, before the ghost marriage take place and they are buried next to the expectant groom. The ceremony is thought to bring peace to the dead in the afterlife.
China officially outlawed the trading of corpses in August 2006 but he BBC reported that in 2015, a record 14 female corpses were stolen in one village in Shanxi province.
The relative of the 18-year-old girl who was recently dug up believe her corpse was used in for a ghost marriage. Relatives of the girl who was buried over two decades ago in a "modest" ceremony explained her coffin contained "nothing of value."
The relatives of the deceased also revealed that they were visited a while back by strangers offering to buy the teenager's body to use as a "corpse bride" for a ghost wedding. They refused the offer.
Authorities are currently investigating the case and the guilty parties will face up to three years in prison.