Photos: Check Out A Village In Papua New Guinea Where Dead Relatives Are Smoked With Their Fat Used As Cooking Oil

    From the cliffs of a village in Papua New Guinea’s Morobe
    highlands, charred corpses leer at passers-by. Their flesh is stained red, and
    they seem to be imprisoned within cages of bamboo, as if to keep them from
    leaping down and devouring any explorer who strays too close.
    But this macabre practise is not (only) a way to scare away
    strangers. For the Anga people in these remote parts of the country, it is the
    highest honour they can bestow on their dead.
    Dead men, women and children are effectively smoke cured, in
    much the same way as a kipper, Dailymail reports.
    Continue below…

    First, experienced embalmers make cuts in the feet, knees
    and elbows of the cadavers, to allow body fat to drain away, before jabbing
    bamboo poles into their guts and collecting the drippings.
    These are smeared onto the skin and hair of surviving
    relatives in a ritual believed to transfer the strength of the dead into the
    living. Any leftovers are used as cooking oil, for the same reason.
    They then sew shut the eyes, mouth and anus of the body
    they’re working on, to reduce the air intake in an attempt to prevent flesh
    from rotting.

    The soles of the feet, palms of the hands and tongue are
    sliced off and presented to the surviving spouse and then what’s left of the
    body is smoke cured over a fire pit, before being coated in clay and ochre to
    deter scavengers.
    The cliffs of the Morobe highlands are littered with these
    corpses, some dating back 200 years of more.
    They are sometimes brought down for special events and
    celebrations, and returned soon after.

    These watchers are believed to be the guardians of the
    village. The most-respected warriors are placed on special lookout points on
    the cliffs, watching out for invaders.
    The practise is frowned upon by the Catholic church and has
    been banned since 1975, when PNG gained its independence.
    But in remote parts, where even today few missionaries dare
    to tread, a few tribes still prefer to mummify their dead – perhaps to keep the
    priests away.

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