Inside creepy tourist attraction where monks mummified themselves alive

While most tourists look to bask in the sun, explore idyllic locations and feast on traditional food, people who visit Japan can learn about monks who chose to be mummified alive.

In Northern Japan, you can visit one of the world's creepiest tourist attractions and take a peek at the mummified bodies of the sokushinbutsu, which are located in holy temples.

It is home to dedicated monks who made the most horrifying sacrifice by enduring a three to 20-year practice to turn themselves into mummies while fully functioning.

A total of 16 mummified monks, who were followers of an ancient form of Buddhism named shugendō, can be found inside after they died from a gruelling lifestyle regime.

The devoted monks passed away through "the ultimate act of self-denial" and started the transformation process by eating seeds and sipping poisonous tea, reports

Travel publication Atlas Obscura explained the chilling steps of self-mummification and wrote: "For three years, the priests would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat.

"They then ate only bark and roots for another three years and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the urushi tree, normally used to lacquer bowls.

  • Poison meat attack on shelter for paralysed dogs kills 12 pooches in horror incident

"This caused vomiting and a rapid loss of bodily fluids, and—most importantly—it killed off any maggots and parasites that might cause the body to decay after death."

Practitioners were viewed to be spiritually ready to enter the next phase once they had completed at least a one thousand day cycle.

Despite many being ready at this time, some took more time to prepare with one of the longest being a monk who spent two decades following the regime.

Ahead of finishing their last cycle, the monk would stop eating food and only drank a tiny amount of salinised water for 100 days.

Once they could sense that death was approaching, the monk's disciples would place him into a pine box at the bottom of a three-metre deep pit.

As the monk felt death approaching, his disciples would lower him into a pine box at the bottom of a three metres deep pit.

The uncomfortable process would see the monk stay still while positioned in the lotus position, with just a thin bamboo air tube and a bell for assistance.

The bell would be used to alert people that the monk was still alive. When no more sounds could be heard, the tube would be removed and the tomb would finally be sealed.

Unfortunately, the process didn't work for everyone and after the tombs were eventually opened some of the bodies were found to have rotted.

Meanwhile, the successful monks were awarded the status of Buddha and put on display for their followers.

The idea seems to have stemmed from a nine-century monk called Kūkai and it was claimed upon his death that he didn't actually die, but instead crawled into his tomb and entered a deep state of meditation that induced "suspended animation".

According to Kūkai's 11th-century biography, he will re-appear in 5.67 million years.

To stay up to date with all the latest news, make sure you sign up for one of our newsletters here .

Source: Read Full Article