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Picture of a Shinigami

Shinigami: The Grim Reaper and God of Death in Japanese Folklore

Shinigami are Japanese death gods or death spirits. They are akin to the Grim Reaper in many ways, however these supernatural beings may be somewhat less frightening and they arrived later on the...
The mummy of Guano

Ecuador’s Mummy of Guano is the Key to Understanding a Painful Global Disease

An Andean mummy in Ecuador may be the missing link to understanding the expansion of rheumatoid polyarthritis from the Americas to Europe. Its naturally mummified remains are set to change both local...
At Chan Chan statues thought to be marking tombs have been found.

Oldest Statues Ever Found At Chan Chan Have Been Saved From the Claws of Climate Change

Archeologists excavating in Peru, at the largest pre-Columbian ancient site in the America’s, have saved 20 wooden statues dated to around 800-years-old from encroaching weather fronts. Culture...
A man marrying a deceased woman in China

Ghost Marriages: Love For the Living and the Deceased

The tradition of the ghost marriage is one that supposedly stretches back to the first imperial dynasty of China: the Qin Dynasty, dating from the years 221 BC – 206 BC. The most comprehensive early...
An antique Ouija board

Be Careful What You Wish For: Ouija Boards Unraveled

Ouija boards—also called spirit boards or talking boards—have been part of various cultures long before the introduction of the "game" in the 19 th century. "Ouija", in fact, is the name of the game...
An ancient carved stone face of a megalithic statue in the San Agustín Archaeological Park, Colombia.

Necropolis of Warriors and Gods: The Ancient Statues of San Agustín, Colombia

The world’s largest necropolis, filled with gods, mythical animals, and heroes, rests in the southwestern Andes of Colombia The largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in...
Skull from Roman Dead exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands

The Dead Tell Us of a Diverse Londinium

Rebecca Redfern / The Conversation Our knowledge about the people who lived in Roman Britain has undergone a sea change over the past decade. New research has rubbished our perception of it as a...
The 10 skeletons were arranged in a spiral pattern found at Tlalpan, Mexico City

Discovered! Ancient Mexican Spiral of Death

Ten ancient skeletons have been unearthed in Mexico this week including a baby of around one-month-old! Ritualistically deformed, in that their skull shapes and teeth had been altered, they were...
60 pieces of scroll have been reassembled in the latest scroll.

One of the Last Two Known Dead Sea Scrolls Is Deciphered

Researchers from the Haifa University have reconstructed the contents of one of the last two undeciphered Dead Sea Scrolls, disclosing a distinctive calendar used by a Jewish sect that lived in the...
 Illustration of the "Emmons mask", a Mississippian culture carved cedarwood human face shaped object once covered in copper and painted with galena and used as part of a headdress

Adena Axis Mundi & Large Skeletal Remains: Travelling to the Realm of the Dead at Grave Creek Mound - Part II

The large Grave Creek Mound proved to be an irresistible attraction to early antiquarians and curiosity seekers. In 1823, John Haywood mentioned the impressive mound: “of a conical form, 75 feet high...
16th or 17th century painting of the ‘Dance of Death.’ The living weren’t always scared of the dead.

Dance Macabre: How the Dead Danced with the Living in Medieval Society

Ashby Kinch / The Conversation In the Halloween season , American culture briefly participates in an ancient tradition of making the world of the dead visible to the living: Children dress as...
Famadihana reburial, ‘turning of the bones’ in Madagascar

Plague Epidemic in Madagascar May be Spread by Dancing with the Dead Ritual

The Malagasy people of Madagascar have built a way of life around death – during the dry winter months, famadihana ceremonies, known as “the turning of the bones” and “dancing with the dead”, take...
Detail of two ancient Egyptian 'gate spells'. On the top register, Ani and his wife face the ‘gates of the House of Osiris'. Below, they encounter the 'mysterious portals of the House of Osiris in the Field of Reeds'. All are guarded by unpleasant underworld protectors.

Through the Twelve Chambers of Hell: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

Death, the ancient Egyptians believed, was not the end of our struggles. They believed in an afterlife and that the worthy would go on to paradise, but their dead didn’t simply pass over to the other...
No escape…Detail of a miniature of ‘Death Chopping Down a Tree’ - British Library, Royal 15 D V f. 36. Jehan Froissart. Chroniques. Netherlands, last quarter of the 15th century.

Medieval Villagers Were Ready to Mutilate Potential Zombies

For the first time, researchers have found evidence in a belief in the walking dead in medieval England, where they analyzed bones and skeletons that were decapitated, burned, and otherwise mutilated...
Le Couronnement d’Ines de Castro en 1361’ (The Coronation of Ines de Castro in 1361) by Pierre-Charles Comte (

Was a Portuguese Queen Really Exhumed for her Coronation?

According to legend, in the mid-14th century a heart-broken King Peter (Pedro) I of Portugal exhumed the corpse of his lover to have her posthumously crowned queen. The romantic scandals of European...
Statue of Persephone, circa 525 BC and painting The Deluge

Hell on Earth? Is the REAL location of the Ancient Underworld Right in Front of Us?

The myth of the underworld, much like the myth of the lost paradise and the worldwide deluge, is a universal one. Cultures from all across the world, past and present, widely separated and with...

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