Across Europe in many predominantly Catholic or Orthodox countries are sites known as ossuaries, often referred to as “bone churches”. Creepy by today’s standards, these churches decorated from floor to ceiling with human skeletal remains were often used in places where major plagues had hit or where burial space had become scare. Though the original intention in many areas was for bones to be buried when space became available, many of these remains are still up and hanging in these bone churches as a testament to this peculiar religious tradition.
Nothing in that headline is misleading. In an interview with The Hairpin, author, photographer and ossuary expert Paul Koudounaris sat down to talk about some of the weirder traditions he’s encountered in regards to ossuaries, mummies and treatment of the dead.
Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives - for up to six hours after their death.
When people are cremated, everything in the body is turned into fine ash— everything except for any non-organic components or implants the person may have had. So what happens to all those metal pins and knees and joints and bones? They’re recycled into new metal implants.
When you or your loved ones pass on, as an alternative to burying or cremating or freezing or having your body stuffed and posed to put in your kid’s living room, many South Koreans have opted to have the remains of their family turned into beads.