Chinese Marry Off Dead Girls as Ghost Brides
June 21, 2009 | by RMJ

Arranged marriages are nothing new, and in China, they even reach beyond the grave.

A grieving father and four accomplices have been arrested in China for digging up the corpse of a teenage girl to serve as a “ghost bride” for the man’s son, who died in a car crash.


The people arrested had dug up the body of a girl who poisoned herself after failing exams last year. The father had apparently paid upwards of $5,000 to the men who dug up the body for him.


Marriages after death are relatively common in rural China. In these occurrences, a ceremony is performed and the bodies buried together.

The long-outlawed practice survives today: last year, a gang in southern China was arrested for creating corpses for ghost marriages when female bodies ran short.

(link 1 2)

Rachel is a writer and tutor living in Virginia. She loves learning about other cultures and thinks we’re all a little wacky.

Latest posts by RMJ (see all)

  • GEEEEEZZZZZ !!! And they considered people from the west barbarians? Reminds me of when medical doctors had to pay to have corpses dug up.

  • Those things remind me of the Japanese movie, Kakashi.

  • oh my god

  • the saddest part of the story is that the girl died because she had failed her exams. NO child should have that much pressure on them.Too,Too sad.

  • The father just want a happy after life for his daughter. So she can have everything she would have if she live a full life.

  • P.S. Taking poison because you fail an exam is still terrible. No culture should be that intense

  • it's creepy, do they have the bodies dressed up in those costumes in the pictures? I guess it would be rly disgusting with the regular bodies.

  • thats just sick nd sad. first of all, poising urself 4 a stupid exam is just plain dumb. Second, why the HELL does a dead guy need a bride, or a DEAD bride. He isn't gonna get married when he is DEAD. the two bodies r just going 2 rot 2gether, talk about rot in peace. No such thing. Chinease need 2 open up 2 the real world, not thier messed up, swisted one… whatever. Who is gonna get them married!!?? probably got the swine flu!! :D

    • suicide rates are higher in the west then in Asia though usually not for the same reasons. as for opening up to the real world? open your eyes they aren' tthe only ones believing in superstitious non-sense. all the Christians, Muslims, Jews and all the other crap they have in the west and middle east is just as stupid.

  • A couple of the viewpoints expressed here show just how ignorant some people are to other cultures and their practises.
    Spirituality is a large part of Chinese culture…obviously to a Westerner, marrying off a dead son to a corpse bride might seem barbaric or strange, but to some Chinese, it is a VERY real necessity in order to make sure that their loved ones are happy in the next life.
    If you happen to live in a city with a large Asian population, try visiting one of the Asian markets.
    Many times, you will find a special aisle with items made just for the dead, such as paper suits, cardboard cell phones, imitation paper money and just about anything that a person might normally be using in daily life.
    These items are then purchased, and then placed on the loved one's grave and burned so that it may reach the spirit world.
    It is a representation of the things they will have in their next life and not to be taken literally.
    It reminds me very much of the western custom of bringing flowers to the graves of loved ones.

    • Reminds me of that army of stone soldiers made for that king in China. Ancient Chinese burial practices are a lot like that of ancient Egyptians–they believed in outfitting their dead with as many things as they had in the real life in order to live well in the afterlife.

      My only question is did anyone consult the parents of the dead bride. I know I would be pissed to read in the paper some strange men I never knew unearthed my daughter for a wedding I had no say in.

  • How sad that so many are so blind to the truth. Jesus saves people from sin to give us the ultimate after life in heaven w/ him. Once someone is dead they have no more connections to this earth. They are either in one of 2 places of their choosing.

  • O wow! How ignorant. Swine flu is in the North America which includes the UNITED STATES. If an American went to Asia they could be quarantined if they suspected that person has Swine Flu. So they are more scared of Americans bringing Swine Flu into Asia.

  • Everything exists for a reason. The father found this stupid way to show his love to the dead son, to try his best to help him live in a better way and to compensate for the poor boy. The biggest mistake made by the father is to ignore the girl’s feeling, to forget to protect nor respect the other poor girl.

  • hey, at least you can be sure they don’t nag!

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