Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Take Two: Ghost brides, aka "The Bride Wore Bones"

Note: I'm inspired by Clare's post on the paranormal yesterday (that, plus the fact that I'm way behind on a deadline) to repost my thoughts about the strange things that people do with dead bodies. Including, it turns out, the ancient art of marrying corpses.

The original post appeared over at our sister mystery blog, Killer Hobbies.

Call me morbid (which you kinda have to be when you’re a mystery writer), but I was fascinated to read an article put out by CNN, which describes all the strange things people do with dead bodies.

Corpse brides and ghost marriages

In China, there is an old practice of providing “ghost marriages” between women and deceased bachelors. I gather the practice got started so that no woman would have to die as a spinster (no way to verify the rumor that some women preferred to marry dead guys so that they’d escape a fate of faked headaches and arguments over the dinner table with breathing spouses.).

After nearly dying out during the cultural revolution, "ghost marriages" have recently come back into vogue--but evidently with a new, more prurient purpose. In a country that’s chronically short of women in a patriarchal society (Thank you, one-family, one-child policy), the ghost-marriage practice is now aimed at making sure that dead bachelors are…ahem…satisfied in the afterlife.

Tales have been told of people killing prostitutes and other unfortunate women so that these men will get some nooky in the netherworld.

Got some cold cream for that freezer burn?

The much-ballyhooed experiments into cryogenics have evidently run into a snag—frozen bodies are developing wicked cases of freezer burn. I mean, seriously--who wants to be revived in 200 years if you’re doomed to walk around looking like Night of the Shriveled-green Dead?

Here’s a link to the article on CNN, for further reading on the strange things that people do with dead bodies:

I've worked one of these macabre practices into my third book, MAKEOVERS CAN BE MURDER. (Won’t reveal which one, though—stay tuned for the book in ’09).

Now I’m getting obsessed with the subject of ghost marriages and corpse brides. The practice sounds so macabre. But it makes for a killer subplot, doesn't it?


  1. Paranormal is definitely hot right now. I just got an email from a fellow writer who snagged a 6-figure advance on her next paranormal thriller. So even with a down economy, somebody out there is buying books.

    As far as a guy marrying a dead bride, well I could see that coming in handy when he wanted to watch football. :-)

  2. Six figures? Nice to know those numbers are still being tossed around out there in the authorsphere!

  3. Six figure - wow Joe, that is evidence enough that the paranormal is still hot! I'm grossed out by the corpse bride thing though I agree - makes a handy plot device. I prefer the ghost and mrs muir aproach to ghost marriage...hmmm, the next hot romance??

  4. Love the ghost angle, Clare! And the romance. A romance that has to struggle to reach across the ages...not to mention the barrier of the afterlife. That really WOULD be an interesting idea for a series!

  5. I remember that great ghost bride blog, Kathryn. I got the chills then, and got 'em again today.
    The 6-fig advance is hot, though.

  6. Hi Camille, yes, something about the ghost bride haunts me (grin). I have a reprieve on one of my deadlines, though, so next week's blog post will not be recycled!!