Tag Archives: horror

Mummified alive?

An Egyptian Mummy casing

An Egyptian Mummy casing

I always thought being buried alive was worse, then I considered being mummified alive...

I always thought being buried alive was worse, then I considered being mummified alive…

The case of the 200 year old Buddhist Mummy declared as living started my synapses firing. Especially since I hadn’t heard of Buddhist mummification before and instantly put into a context I understood – the Egyptian mummification process, with the brains pulled out of the nose, organs scooped out and bottled and body filled with embalming fluids – a process if it had happened to  me I wouldn’t want to still be alive at any point in that procedure. This is the point I decided being buried alive was better than being mummified alive.

With my curiosity at an all time high, I started the process of researching the Buddhist mummification process. The process is called Sokushinbutsu, where the monk abstains from everything except meditation, to become a living Buddha. It’s called a mummy when body doesn’t decompose in an ordinary way, therefore, seen as an incorruptible vessel, a highly revered state by the community. Only 24 preserved living Buddha’s have been found, it’s estimated there were more however destroyed through the ages. This was a practice dating back to the 11th century ending in the 19th century, when Japan banned the practice, and any ritualised/religious suicide.

Buddist Mummy, hold the lotus position for 200 years, living buddha, higher plane

Source: Serbian Times The Buddhist Mummy found in a lotus position, 200 years old and… alive.

The idea of incorruptible vessel is not solely the domain of Buddhism, the Catholic church still has Incorruptible vessels on displays, like the Buddhist Mummies, their process of decay is different, they omit a fruity smell (from my high school chemistry classes, I’d say this is probably esters and there is a process of decay under way just a must slower rate than usual.) The skin also maintains integrity for a long time. St. Nicholas of Tolentino an incorruptible has bleed from the arms for 400 years, it’s really odd that the blood continues to flow with the absence of a heart beat and clogging agents that usually win out when the body dies. I’m not sure what prompted anyone to see if St. Nicholas of Tolentino blood still flowed.

With the Buddhist mummies, it’s believed that they reached peak enlightenment. This is why their considered to still live as their spirit is still on the higher plane. With all that enlightenment wouldn’t it be a little tempting to come back and enlighten the rest of us? It probably explains why they belief in treating spirits with compassion especially the ‘hungry ghost’ as it is a suffering soul who hasn’t reached the plane of illumination. With the Catholic Incorruptibles it is believed the Spirit has gone on especially as an incorruptible will be sainted if they’re not already, not all Saint’s require an incorruptible corpse.

Click for source An example of a catholic mummy, otherwise known as incorruptible

Reflecting the idea of incorruptibility and being on display long after death also doesn’t still well with me, especially as to become mummified in the Buddhist culture would have meant dealing with a lot of flies crawling over the body when alive. At least in a coffin the bugs aren’t going to get you while you’re still alive. Through researching for the ghost tours I’ve learnt that in Victoria during the early 1900’s burial certificates were issued within a day of death. I guess this made storing bodies in a hygienic manner easier given the lack of large cold storage options available. However, it also could have increased the likelihood of being buried alive. I did a little digging on the buried alive subject I haven’t found evidence accidentally pronounced dead and buried alive. Although there were two cases of mine collapses that buried two men alive on separate occasions, and that would have been awful not only buried but injured by the debris that fell on them as well. The men worked tirelessly to release both of them the horror that it could have been them spurring them on for the 24-48 hours it took them reach each man.

The stories that haunt us

It's an awful idea, but I think there could be worse things.

It’s an awful idea, but I think there could be worse things.

The ghost whisperers’ chatty dress

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Thanks to the residents for letting us on their property and thanks to Lynton Gale for the photos.

In January, I ran a competition to decide the ghost whisperers’ costume. Originally, I was trying to go for dresses inspired by the 1910-1930 era which was the start of the Brown Coal Mine and Yallourn. I couldn’t really find any, and none of the choices were from this time period. It’s tough to find dresses from 1910-1930, that isn’t a flapper’s dress – its way to cold to wear that in winter!.  I made up a competition and put it out to the people, asking for comments of the communities to pick their favourite.

The costume competition winner was Catheryn Thompson whose comments inspired the dress to speak volumes.

“This dress is school marmish with blood red flowers – the sense of controlled horror & femme fatale, will suit the haunted hills”

These comments captured my imagination as I appreciate the film noir genre where the femme fatale character emerged. Film noir has a particular look, using shadows to change the everyday into something, shady. It’s the genre of most old school detective movies, as they investigate the shady side and disclosed side of life.  Anyhow, how does all that relate to the ghost tour setup delivers this film noir look, while it’s a walking tour not a film. The elements of a film noir are all there as walk commences in the twilight setting the atmosphere, casting shadows on the otherwise beautiful town of Yallourn North. The stories shared throughout the tour, take us back in time and to the things we don’t really talk about as the history. You know, things the like the four skeleton’s found in a stones throw from Yallourn, the unsolved murders and the spirits unable to rest lacking justice. The tour covers the sly grog trade as well, according to an article by ancestory.com on Australia day, we like having criminals in our histories. The tour also covers creatures that were in Yallourn, like the Gippsland Lion. That’s the main elements of the ghost tour. Ghost tours don’t usually have a genre but, I would say most are a combination of film noir, horror, thriller and suspense.

“The controlled horror” I most certainly hope the horror is controlled. There are elements in the stories that may horrify people.

The dress has an aspect of looking like school Marm. Well, that comes with other aspect to ghost tours, history. To explore the spirits past some understanding of their life helps, which will be provided to you on the tour.

A later addition to the costume was a red cape

Congratulations Catheryn

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