In English there is phrase called “Walking corpse ” meaning ” that a corpse is walking ” literally .How creepy. But a corpse can really walk?
Xiang Xi, a very mysterious place in the western Hunan province as we all know, has three widespread legends：the corpse driving, casting Gu poison and walking on sabers and fire, among which the most unbelievable one is the first—– the Witchcraft of Driving Corpse.
Legend has it that thousands of years ago, the ancestors of the Miao soldiers fought against with the Yellow Emperor tribes in The Yellow River area, until corpses laying everywhere and blood flows like a stream. Chi You (the leader) commanded the military counselor to practice witchcraft. All of a sudden, the dead body lying on the ground all at once stood up, following the“guiding tally’ with spell held by Chi You and going southward in order. Finally all these corpses had arrived at home and been buried under their own soil.
Naturally, from then on the tradition of driving corpses home has passed down. And this craft also has been handed down from generation to generation as it said.
According to Miao people, the corpse driver or the corpse craftsman started learning this craft from a very young age which includes: how to use medicinal herbs to prevent from rot; how to cast spell; how to order the corpse etc. And this craft is also tough to boys. So girls you have already missed the chance to be a corpse driver in this life now. How boys do not get too happy. Two requirements have to be met fort: first the prospective corpse driver should be the ugliest of all. You guys all look like a human, nothing extremely special. Second one is that every corpse driver should be a virgin.
However, legend is legend, which is rarely true. Then what are the very reasons for the witchcraft of driving corpses in the mysterious place Xiang Xi? Many people agree with the idea that it may have a close relationship with the geographical environment of Xiang Xi.
It is said that most of the Miao people in Xiang xi tend to go to eastern of Sichuan and Gui Zhou to make a living by collecting herbs or hunting.
Traditionally, the concept of carrying the dead bodies back to hometown after people dying in other areas was very deep. Because of the limited traffic, some people created such an odd economical method to carry the dead bodies back to hometown. So this strange custom was prevalent in Xiang xi since then and the roadhouse for accepting dead bodies appeared. There is no doubt that people who have died cannot stand up again. Yet how could we explain the strange phenomenon in Xiang Xi? The following possible situations may do you a little bit to help you explore it more.
The first case：The Corpse Drivers including the master and his apprentice, get together to the destination to drives the corpses back home. And the bodies of the dead are divided into several parts. The remaining parts are buried while the head, the arms and the legs are carried back. After they return, the corpse drivers will dress them up. During this period, all the families are not allowed to see, and the coffin will not be re-opened again. So this is the only good chance for the corpse drivers to perfect the corpses.
The second case: The corpse drivers may carry the whole bodies of the dead back home if they died not so long ago, maybe only for one day or one forenoon and the distance is not so far arrive soon.
Other cases: As time goes by, there has some development. The corpse drivers can fix the dead vertically with two bamboos passing through their sleeves Chinese traditional shrouds. As the bamboo is stretchy, the dead will walk leaping. With the arms ahead the corpses seem as a team walking under the leadership of the corpse drivers from the distance, which adds the fantastic color to the strange custom—-driving corpses. In this way, the corpses drivers can transport four or five corpses a time easily.
What’s more, the peculiar custom, Corpse Driving, only exist in Xiang Xi. Some reasons are responsible for this. At first, the corpses receiving road-houses only can exist in mysterious place—Xiang Xi. Secondly, only people in Xiang Xi will dodge when hearing the sound of small Yin gongs of corpse driver. Thirdly, when hearing the gong, people will keep their dog’s home to prevent those biting corpses.
As we all know, the so-called mysterious Corpse Driving is just a custom about the returning of the soul of the people died in the foreign areas. Their families hired the corpses driver to carry the dead back home, but the witchcraft tradition of Miao people in Xiang Xi adds mysterious color to it.
The origin of the corpse
Corpse is Miao folk Xiang xi area, belongs to Wu culture, also said about wish by secco. Qing dynasty was widely circulated rumors Xiang xi “corpse”, which cast corpse people use “the secret”, the unburied corpses back to hometown, let their grave. Although “Xiang xi corpse” has never been scientific verification, eyes also has not been confirmed, but become a prototype for many movie thrillers, known from now on. Of cast resin, as to the origin of folk: legend has it for thousands of years ago, the ancestors of Miao’s (Hmong: grandfather) human-god rate soldiers against killing in Yellow River and the enemy, until dead bodies, the blood become river. Ceased warfare to retreat to the rear, the wounded soldiers was carried away after Upton human-god command’s strategist sent brother died back to hometown. So strategist dressed as Upton human-god, standing in the middle of the brothers died of dead bodies, after recite a mantra and pray gods, bodies were lying on the ground all at once stood up, and in general a dagger human-god behind “Fu Jie” polite went south. This is the earliest version of corpse.
The origin of the waterway
In the middle of the Qing dynasty cast resin technology appears, is to put the die bodies of Hunan immigrants shipped back to my hometown in Sichuan province. Body in the most began to transit, it is Xiang xi corpse Go the sea, it doesn’t need to “catch”. But this period in the three gorges, fast-flowing, vortex rocky, ships tend to sink. The ancients and superstition, not willing to carry the dead walk at risk of river, the “corpse” profession so produced. Rumors during the period of Anti-Japanese War, Chong Qing copper street a house roof, also stick a piece of paper on the door frame, it reads “charge d ‘affaires shipment resin also Xiang”.
As intelligence gradually opening, the widespread use of explosives out of the rocks, the modern roads and cars, spirit of steamboat also began to pick up the bodies. People’s parochialism also fade, Si chuan immigration is no longer required to take the body back to their hometown. Like the train appeared shattered the myth of the bodyguards and the bandits joint manufacturing, catch the resin have phased out by the history.
Generally in the autumn of execution to the day before the guest death-row relatives and fellow villagers, even those who do good a good man, will gather together some money for them in old department (conventions are two of the tsing yi and red), bought all goods. The execution of the day, the old division and assistant and help everyone must wait outside the court.
When left giving when the officer in charge of the execution, red old department shall make their mantra, assistant will be beheaded, help guest on death row and stitched together, again by tsing yi old division will cinnabar (best cinnabar) on the forehead of the dead heart, chest, back chamber heart, left and right hand heart and sole heart, such as seven, each with a rune pin, and then use colored cloth tied tightly. Legend, the seven 7 is in and out of place, with cinnabar rune is sealed in order to keep the dead seven ‘o.
Later, also will be some cinnabar into the dead man’s ear, nose, mouth, and then to rune (Calvin states) stuck tight. Mouth, ear, nose and mouth are three souls in and out of place, do so the spirits can be left inside the dead. Finally, even on the neck apply full cinnabar and labeled rune, tied with a five-color banners; Give the dead leaves on hat to wear (cover). Red old read finish Mantra, drink one “up!” Standing up dead guest will answer.
Wearing cassock corpse is the man who is a wizard. These bodies covered with black cloth before, there is a living, the locals called “corpse”. No Xiang xi corpse. Theory of body quantity how many, are one driven by him. No matter what the weather, to wear a pair of straw sandals, dressed in a blue cloth gown, her waist is a black belt, wearing a cloth cap, causeway, and hand holding the purse with a pack of operator. Mage isn’t dead, but in front of the body to lead the way, don’t play lanterns, because he is a knock down the small Yin gong, side led the group of bodies moving forward, hands shaking at a mastermind bell, let the night people avoid, people notice a dog the dog up. If two or more bodies, the corpse artisan rope body string together one by one, one every seven or eight feet, the night walking, body wear a silk blanket hat, holding up a couple of books on his forehead with the character of yellow paper hanging in the face. Dead corpse on the way to have “inn”, the mysterious dead “inn”, the only living dead corpse goldsmiths, and ordinary people is not to live. Its door is open all year round. Because of the two large doors behind, is the body rest. Corpse artisan body, achieve “dead body shop”, before it is light night slipped away. Bodies are neatly leaning against a wall and stand behind the door. Caught in a heavy rain day is bad, just stop at the store for a few days a few nights.
Before two or three days to the destination, the families of the dead in advance, ready to dress one coffin, “the dead”, such as garment immediately will shou shou shoe to wear complete dead, into Shou Mu. This casket process, all shall be borne by the “corpse”, absolutely don’t allow other people step in and on the sidelines, and as the start will be “lifted out of the coffin body is not allowed to peep. Is in the critical moment, a stranger a close to the body, will have “jing” and “Zha Shi” danger, and departures process, and must be in the midnight. After all arrangements in place, that is, will the dead encoffin of mourning to claim. Coffin cover opened, a man finish now, so he is mourning relatives, like appearance was just like yesterday, but empress buried in a coffin, pitiful sight and jiggled the REINS, some crying, some weeping.
The choice of rush through corpse
There is a saying that Xiang xi vampire “three to three not out,” said
Three can catch
Who beheaded (must be the first body stitched together), to be hanged, stood cage station die which can be three kinds of drive.
Legend they are forced to die, to die is not convinced, not only homesick and miss their loved ones. They can spell their souls to their bodies, to hold town, then the spell away hiking, or even a water boat back home.
Three don’t catch
Where the dead River hanging voluntary death, thunder fire the three limb insufficiency cannot catch. The mortality of the soul has been the hook to go, can’t take their souls back from the dead there call; The river is the soul of hanging “replaced” tied to, and they may be over, if the new soul into, the old man free alternative to affect the old souls incarnate; In addition, Yin lei playing dead, all belong to the sin is great. The burned to death, and often flesh is not complete, also can’t catch.
Xiang xi folk, since ancient times, the body of this industry, and rush through corpse Jiang never arbitrarily apprentice. Apprentice by the parents of first-Li receipt, and then rush through corpse Jiang must interview. Generally speaking, to see the full 16 years old, height 1.7 meters of above, at the same time there is a very special condition, and looks to be ugly.
Rush through corpse Jiang let candidates looked at the sun, and then rotating, and then suddenly stopped, want you to distinguish the four corners of the world immediately, if not, will not be accepted. Because you don’t divide the four corners of the world at the moment, you night body not direction, not dead;
Then, rush through corpse Jiang will you find something, a burden. Because the body is not living, slope steep meet the body can’t climb up. Rush through corpse Jiang will have a high and carried back to;
rush through corpse Jiang will be a piece of Paulownia Leaves on the Mountain Cemetery, the night a person let you get it back, only in this way, can explain you have the guts to rush through corpse Jiang. The third pass, you will be achieved when the vampire carpenter apprentice may.
The teacher taught the apprentice, the first thing is to scrawl, this kind of peculiar character, the yellow paper with brush painting like a word like painting things, on the way encountered an unexpected condition, will this peculiar character Zhao xi hanging in a tree or a door, sometimes burning ash and water to swallow.
At the same time, students must learn thirty-six skills, can go to dead. The first piece of work, is dead “meritorious service”, also is to let the dead can stand up. The second part is “walking”, also is to let the body stop and go freely, third pieces of work is “turning”, and is also the body to walk can turn. In addition, there are “downhill” reactive “bridge” reactive “dumb dog work” Resurrection “.
The literature record
Xiang xi writer Shen Congwen described his own home to interview a famous wizard experience in the “Yuan ling people”.
Shen Congwen asks “vampire” pithy formula, he replied: “not unusual, but read Wen Tianxiang’s” song of righteousness “”. And ask him to free performances, he is himself, said: “don’t have problems, had left”. Spend half a day, miss the point. However, like Shen Congwen from the wizard “Voltaire style smile” see through the mystery: “to a popular many years absurd legend, full of curiosity to visit a ripe life, asked him the dead with what method to catch the road, have been around in his eyes, how many different ways you and crazy.?”
What will be the living dead hurry to go, a lot of Scientists? Each tells a different story.
Some people think that, people died immediately after the stiff, called “rigor mortis state”, after forty-eight hours, the body will recover some soft, and then Taiwan media graphic body is hard. But then the large joints, such as hip, under the action of external force, still can have a slight (20 degrees) activities, the physical condition is one of the dead man walking. The two bodies lined up, unbend forearm parallel to the ground, and then use the long and thin bamboo along the arm with a fixed rope, the two body is connected into a three-dimensional shelf, not overturned (that’s why we have two dead).
If you take a rope connected to the first body, and then at the other end with slight pull, the body under the action of an external force, like a marionette as the crooked straight leg to go up. In fact this is not called “drag” come to understand. From Sichuan to Xiang xi, geographical condition is downward sloping, walking is generally downward slope, potential energy into kinetic energy, the body frame can go more convenient, and these paths are carefully selected, dead people, uphill little, really is a drag but uphill, also said not had a back up. This is the body of the biggest mysteries.
As the body back
The so-called “vampire”, is actually a “back corpse.” Rush through corpse Jiang will find corpse body, and then spray a special potion on the stump, the stump rot preventing corpse. A person back on the stump, set in long and large black robe, wearing a large straw hat, the head cover no more than, even the facial contour is difficult to make people see clearly. Another person as a “vampire sorcerer” throws yellow paper, in front of bell, gives back corpse direction. Two people also deliberately create a terrorist atmosphere makes people dare not close, if the distance is two roles would one day change.
The other argument
CCTV “approaching science” reported that only leave the dead corpse who will head and limbs and trunk and the other abandoned, with straw into a new trunk. While handling a corpse carpenter would throw a body on the back, and then set the black shroud. In order to prevent the family members of the deceased to see through, rush through corpse Jiang will only do them, only families rough look at the body. This explanation is not how to also carry more bodies, also did not explain how to jump forward body shape.
Analysis of Taiwan media shows that the main tool corpse is bamboo. Corpse’s bamboo through the sleeves of the shroud armpit, the number of bodies together, before and after the two corpse carpenter can carry bamboo corpse. Cadaver arms were tied to the bamboo, the bamboo can be covered by the sleeve; and the bamboo toughness makes progress will be under the sway, drive the body likewise sloshing up and down, far view is like jumping forward body shape.
Is another way of saying, “vampire” is in fact a smuggling Gang, borrow this is with one’s hair standing on end to avoid team, cover up illegal acts of drug trafficking.
On the ancient vampire, folk book has multiple records, and in the area of legend is more common. Xiang xi has rich cinnabar, cinnabar and has various pharmacological functions. The funeral custom in Xiang xi still use cinnabar habits: the dead into the coffin, with the heart, back and head, chest, left and right heart chamber heart palm heart, baseboard heart Qiqiao together with the ear, nose, mouth of the office, to seal its soul three soul. Dug the grave, even with Zhu Shasa on the bottom, meaning “old market town”. Research results show that the number of experts and scholars, Miao is the earliest invention of weapon, criminal law, witchcraft nation; the body as a kind of folk custom item, is a part of witchcraft. Study on the body, for the understanding of the history and culture of Miao nationality, ethnic culture, religious culture and folk culture from, should say with multiple academic value.