Real Life Zombies: The Walking Dead of Toraja
March 15, 2012 12 Comments
“Real zombies? no way..”
That is exactly what I said when I first was introduced to the walking dead people of Toraja, Indonesia.
Certain Villagers in Toraja have the ability to raise the dead with a specific ritual that they use during the funeral process. I know this sounds crazy, but it has been a part of their culture for thousands of years.
After seeing this picture of a “walking dead person,” I asked myself multiple questions:
- Is this lady really dead?
- Is this lady just terminally ill and about to die?
- Is this lady 100+ years old?
- What makes these villagers want to raise a dead person?
- How did this “walking dead” concept evolve?
So I did some research, and I was able to answer a couple of these questions.
To start, We will never know if this lady is dead in this picture or not. The only way to better understand this is to use common sense and think scientifically. Simply put, a person cannot function anymore when all of the organs of the body stop working. A dead persons heart is stopped which means there is no blood pumping through the body, and no blood getting to the brain.
So if she is really standing up, walking on her own, and she really has risen from the dead, the only possible conclusion is some kind of freaky ritual that actually works.
My first answer to this picture was that she was very ill or very old, but who am I to say that? This ritual has been going on forever in their culture.
During my research, I found some interesting information about the origins of this strange behavior. There seems to be two separate theories on how the walking dead came to be.
Funeral Rituals of Toraja
According to one, in the ancient past, it was believed that a dead man must be buried in the village that he was born in, and not at the place of his death. Since villages then were far apart, it was difficult for family members to carry the corpse from one village to another. Certain people would do rituals that made the dead man walk, and the dead man would be able to walk back to the village where he was born.
Imagine walking to the grocery store, and seeing a dead person making his way back to his place of origin?
Supposedly if they were interrupted or approached, they would just collapse. Pretty creepy.
The second theory about the Toraja zombies is just as scary.
The villagers believe death is a long process, and that it takes many years for the deceased to work their way through it, finally reaching afterlife. So long and costly arrangements need to be made for the funeral, allowing the dead to make the transition the right way. A problem arises when a family cannot afford all of the arrangements. So what they do is make use of a temporary coffin, until they gather enough money and collect all of the funds. Once the permanent coffin has been made ready, the dead are actually raised and made to walk into it.
Today, there are roads and cars in Toraja and raising the dead is no longer needed to transport the body. Sometimes the villagers like to prove that they still know how to raise the dead so they use their rituals on dead animals.
Take one more look at the picture. Doesn’t it look like the “dead lady” is looking at something in the bottom right corner?
Maybe she is walking towards her coffin.
Research Source: incitoprima.com