The bodies of dead women in China are being stolen from graves and then sold for thousands to feed a growing demand for ‘corpse brides’. There have also been murders committed to obtain bodies for ghost weddings.
This is all centered around an ancient superstition that claims it is bad luck for a man to die unmarried. To prevent misfortune, families, who have dead unmarried male members, are paying high dollar for corpses of dead women and then dressing them and burying them next to the men.
This is all done for men that are already dead.
The ideology behind ghost weddings is that the deceased continue their lives in the afterlife. The dead can take the form of a spirit wreaking havoc on the family, such as causing illnesses that do not respond to conventional treatments. A restless bachelor ghost may also express his desire to be married by appearing in a family member’s dream or while being channeled through a spirit medium. There are even matchmaking agents and companies to pair dead bachelors with the corpses of women. The wedding ceremony will typically involve the funeral plaque of the bride and the groom and a banquet.
The most important part is digging up the bones of the bride and putting them inside the groom’s grave.
Corpse theft is difficult to investigate as it is hard to find evidence and repeated thefts have caused panic in nearby villages. In one village, families have started to build tombs near their homes. Some affluent families have hired people to watch their family tombs, reinforced the tombs with steel and installed CCTV cameras over graves.