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Try Before You Die – Macabre Festival Lets Japanese Try Out Coffins and Funeral Makeup

Trying out a coffin while you’re still alive can be a rather unnerving experience. But the Japanese seem to love it!  They even have a creepy ‘try-before-you-die’ festival where people can lay down in coffins, try out funeral garments and even get a morbid makeover.

Called ‘Shukatsu Festa’, the unique event has become very popular in recent years. In fact the whole ‘shukatsu’ trend, which translates as preparing for one’s end, has become really big in Japan. Apparently, people no longer think it’s bad luck to prepare for their death. Participants can choose their funeral outfit, put it on, slip into the flower-filled casket they like and have a picture taken. That way, they get to know exactly what they’ll look like on the day of their funeral. They can even have funeral make-up applied on their faces for a deathly pallor. They can also choose to be covered with white blankets have have the attendants softly close the lid. Read More »

The Eerie Smoked Corpses of Papua New Guinea

For centuries, the Anga tribe of Papua New Guinea’s Morobe Highlands have practiced a unique mummification technique – smoke curing. Once smoked, the mummies aren’t buried in tombs or graves; instead, they are placed on steep cliffs, so that they overlook the village below. The very sight of a string of charred, red bodies hanging off the mountains might seem quite grotesque, but for the Anga people, it’s the highest form of respect for the dead.

The process itself is carried out carefully and thoroughly by experienced embalmers. At first, the knees, elbows and feet of the corpse are slit, and the body fat is drained completely. Then, hollowed-out bamboo poles are jabbed into the dead person’s guts, and the drippings are collected. These drippings are smeared into the hair and skin of living relatives. Through this ritual, the strength of the deceased is believed to be transferred to the living. The leftover liquid is saved for later use as cooking oil. Read More »

Elderly People in China Are Committing Suicide to Make Sure They Get Buried in a Cemetery Instead of Cremated

Many cultures view old age as a time for peaceful reflection and a preparation for the final journey of life. However, a few elderly people in China are being forced to hasten the process of ‘passing on’. Dozens have been voluntarily taking their own lives for a chance to be buried in a cemetery, before a government ban on burials takes effect.

The authorities of China’s Anhui province plan to close all cemeteries after June 1, simply because there isn’t any space left. The public was informed of the new rule on April 1: “Before June 1 people can still consign their bodies for burial, but after that the only option offered will be cremation.” The announcement has caused quite a stir among the elderly residents, especially in rural areas.

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Georgian Woman Takes Care of Son Who Died 18 Years Ago

Joni Bakaradze died 18 years ago, at the age of 22, but instead of burying him in a cemetery, his family decided to keep his body preserved so that his son, who was just two at the time of his death, could see his father’s face.

For the first four years after Joni died, his mother, Tsiuri Kvaratskhelia, used embalming fluid to preserve his body, but after having a dream on night in which someone told her to use vodka instead, the woman from Bashi village, Georgia, switched to spirit liquid poultices. She has to use them every night, or the corpse will turn black. During the first ten years, Tsiuri changed her dead son’s clothes on his birthdays, but as she got older her illnesses prevented her from taking care of Joni the way she used too. She says the lack of care quickly becomes visible on his body, but as soon as she uses her alcohol-based embalming formula, his face turns white again. Read More »

Sick Gambling in Taiwan – Betting on When Terminally Ill Cancer Patients Will Die

A macabre gambling trend has taken off in Taiwan’s thrid largest city of Taichung. Doctors, nurses and even the families of terminally ill cancer patients are placing bets on when the sick will die, for the chance to win three times the wagered sum.

It’s sick what some people will do for money. According to various news reports, a sinister gambling trend has sprung up in Taichung, Taiwan- people are actually making bets on how long incurable cancer patients in the city’s hospitals have to live. And we’re not talking about isolated cases of morally-challenged gamblers looking to make some money through any means possible, this is a full-fledged underground industry industry worth over $30 million. On a single Taichung street there are over 60 so-called “senior clubs” posing as charity organisations for the elderly that are nothing more than gambling dens challenging punters to place their bets on whatever cancer patient they think is the most likely to die within one month. What’s even more disturbing about this practice is that doctors, nurses and even family members of the terminally ill patients are also eager for a piece of the action.

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Creepy-Yet-Beautiful Ship Models Made of Human Bones by POWs

To pass the time, French prisoners held in British dungeons during the Napoleonic Wars would build intricate ship models from human and animal bones. Now these creepy works of art sell for tens of thousands of dollars at auctions.

While English prisoners of war spent their jail time playing sports, French POWs found a rather macabre hobby – building models of enemy ships out of bones. Although it’s recorded they were treated exceptionally well by the English, because the skirmishes between the two European forces dragged on for years some prisoners remained locked away for over a decade, so they needed something to pass the time. Prisoners would keep pig and mutton bones from the food rations issued to them by the English, boil them and bleach them in the sun. But sometimes materials from their meals weren’t enough for their detailed works of art, so they supplemented their supplies with human bones from the shallow graves around camp, uncovered by roving pigs. No one really cared where or from who the bones came from, as long as they helped finish the job.

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Kris Kuksi’s Recycled Toy Sculptures

We’ve seen recycled toys used in sculptures before, but Kris Kuksi’s macabre art is on a whole other level.

Born in Springfield, Missouri, Kris had a rough childhood, isolated and secluded with his blue-collar mom, two older brothers and an alcoholic stepfather. This was most likely what caused him to retreat in his own imagination and realize the macabre and grotesque seemed beautiful to him.

As an adult, Kris Kuksi developed his passion for the bizarre into an art that allowed him to break free from his negative childhood. Using old, recycled toys and mechanical parts, Kris creates breathtaking sculptures that seem to host a world of their own, each filled with the most bizarre characters and creatures.

many find his work scary and repulsive, but Kris Kuksi‘s talent is appreciated by famous people like Mark Parker (CEO of Nike), Chris Weitz (director of American Pie and The Golden Compass) or Kay Alden (writer of soap-operas like The Young and the Restless of The Bold and the Beautiful), who own some of his works.

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