Creepy graveyard where coffins are nailed to cliffside in 2,000-year-old ritual

People have been left speechless over a "creepy" graveyard which leaves you resting "six feet up" rather than six feet under.

What may seem like an unusual burial practice has been a tradition in the Philippines for centuries.

Instead of burying their dead, some nail the coffins up onto the cliff face. A tradition that has piqued dark tourism for years.

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Located just outside the small Filipino town of Sagada, the rockface is used by the Igorot people for an ancient practice.

It's believed that the tradition began to protect the dead from floods in the country's tropical storms, while also allowing them an easier passage to heaven.

As part of the practice, the elderly carve their own coffins in preparation for their death.

Once they’ve passed in their 'death chair’, it is wrapped with vines and leaves and smoked to prevent decay.

After respects have been paid the body is buried and the casket daubed with their name, as reported by The Mirror.

The casket is then suspended up the rockface and nailed to the cliffside of ‘echo valley’.

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Before the coffin is moved into its final resting place, however, Igorot guides have spoken of mourners sometimes letting the fluids from the decaying body drip onto them below.

As unpalatable as it sounds, it's thought the drip from corpses actually brings good luck.

Some coffins meanwhile are adorned with objects to accompany them in the afterlife – one comes with a chair so that the person buried inside can enjoy the peaceful scenery.

The Igorot tribe are not the only people to have practised this custom of nailing coffins to a cliffside – people in pockets of China and Indonesia have been documented to have carried this out, too.

But while the tradition died long ago – pun unintended – it remains still in practice today at Sagada. In fact, the most recent cliffside burial was in 2010, according to locals.

Although the tradition has been going on for 2,000 years, news of this fascinating practice is beginning to lure tourists with a dark fascination, which has also boosted the local economy.

According to the Philippines News Agency, an average of 160 tourists were visiting Sagada every day before Covid.

The country's extremely tight restrictions were only recently lifted, allowing all visitors to return without having to pay a restriction fee.


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