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Taken from first-person accounts and historical documents, this book chronicles more than 300 examples of alien encounters, conspiracy theories, and the influence of extraterrestrials on human events throughout history. Investigating claims of visits from otherworldly creatures, aliens living among us, abductions of humans to alien spacecraft, and accounts of interstellar cooperation since the UFO crash in Roswell, this discussion of the theories and mysteries surrounding aliens is packed with thought-provoking stories and shocking revelations of alien involvement in the lives of Earthling
They New Orleans Voodoo's
say if you say this prayer the Saint
of death will pass you by for yet
My Lord Sainted Baron Samedi, Please
look over me and forgive me for if
I dishonored you. I promise to feed
you and respect you and ask all I
know to feed you your rum. Bless me
and forget me for yet another year.
I mean you no dishonor and for you
I shed a tear.
The Baron is sometimes
called The Voodoo - Hoodoo Angel Of
In Haitian Vodou, the Guédé
(also spelled Gede or Ghede, pronounced
[gede] in Haitian) are the family
of spirits that embody the powers
of death and fertility. They are closely
associated with the loa Baron (whose
aspects are Baron Samedi, Baron La
Croix and Baron Cimetière).
Depending on the tradition followed,
Baron is: one of the Guédé
their spiritual father who has raised
them from the dead, along with Baron
Samedi's wife Maman Brigitte who is
their spiritual mother an aspect of
the Guédé In any of
these configurations, Baron, his wife
Maman Brigitte, and the Guédé
rule death, the cemetery and the grave.
Well known Guédé spirits
include Guédé Nibo,
Guédé Plumaj, Guédé
Ti Malis, Guédé Zaranye,
and many others. They are known for
the drum rhythm and the dance called
the "banda" and in possession
will drink or rub themselves with
a mixture of raw rum or clairin and
twenty-one habanero or goat peppers.
Gede Nibo is a psychopomp and acts
as an intermediary between the living
and the dead, who gives voice to the
dead spirits that have not been reclaimed
from "below the waters".
Papa Ghede is also a psychopomp.
He waits at the crossroads to take
souls into the afterlife and is considered
the good counterpart to Baron Samedi.
He has a very crass sense of humor
and a deep hatred of European-based
cultures because of the sexual repression
they encourage. Papa Ghede is supposed
to be the corpse of the first man
who ever died. He is widely recognized
as a short, dark man with a high hat
on his head and a cigar in his mouth
and he's constantly holding an apple
in his left hand. It says that he
has a divine ability to read others'
minds and the ability to know everything
that happens in the both worlds.
Ghede Bábáco is supposedly
Papa Ghede's less known brother and
is also a psychopomp. His role is
somewhat similar to that of Papa Ghede,
but he doesn't have the two very special
abilities that his brother has.
If a child is dying, Papa Ghede is
prayed to. It is believed that he
will not take a life before its time,
and that he will protect the little
ones. He is married to Maman Brigitte.
Saint Death (also known
as La Santísima Muerte, and Doña
Sebastiana), is a religious figure who receives
petitions for love, luck, and protection.
Saint Death is often depicted as a female
figure. In some Mexican traditions, most notably
among the descendants of Austrian immigrants,
Saint Death is believed to be the wife of
Krampus. The word Krampus originates from
the Old High German word for claw (Krampen).
In the Alpine region the Krampus is represented
by an incubus in company of St Nicholas. Traditionally,
young men dress up as the Krampus in the first
two weeks of December and particularly in
the evening of December 5 and roam the streets
frightening children (and adults) with rusty
chains and bells. In some rural areas also
slight birching especially of young females
by the Krampus is part of tradition.
Many religious belief systems
have a particular spirit, angel, or deity
whose responsibility is to escort newly-deceased
souls to the afterlife. These creatures are
called psychopomps, from the Greek word (psychopompos),
literally meaning the "guide of souls".
Their role is not to judge the deceased, but
simply provide safe passage. Frequently depicted
on funerary art, psychopomps have been associated
at different times and in different cultures
with horses, whippoorwills, ravens, dogs,
crows, owls, sparrows, harts, and dolphins.
In Jungian psychology, the psychopomp is
a mediator between the unconscious and conscious
realms. It is symbolically personified in
dreams as a wise man (or woman), or sometimes
as a helpful animal. In many cultures, the
shaman also fulfills the role of the psychopomp.
This may include not only accompanying the
soul of the dead, but also vice versa: to
help at birth, to introduce the newborn's
soul to the world. This also accounts for
the contemporary title of "midwife to
the dying," which is another form of
Maximón is a saint worshipped in various
forms by Maya people of several towns in the
highlands of Western Guatemala.
Player Is Taken by the angel of death
Look how this football-player in Saudi
Arabia gets caught by the Angel of Death
(Gabriel, Djibriel) and lose his soul. May
Allah give him mercy.
The origins of his cult are not very well
understood by outsiders to the different Mayan
religions, but Maximón is believed
to be a form of the pre-Colombian Maya god
Mam, blended with influences from Catholicism.
Maximón may also be called San Simón.
Originally, he was believed to be a Catholic
priest who had looked after aboriginals during
Where Maximón is venerated, he is
represented by an effigy which resides in
a different house each year, being moved in
a procession during Holy Week. During the
rest of the year, devotees visit Maximón
in his chosen residence, where his shrine
is usually attended by two people from the
representing Cofradia who keep the shrine
in order and pass offerings from visitors
to the effigy. Worshippers offer money, spirits
and cigars or cigarettes to gain his favour
in exchange for good health, good crops, and
marriage counseling, amongst other favours.
The effigy invariably has a lit cigarette
or cigar in its mouth, and in some places,
it will have a hole in its mouth to allow
the attendants to give it spirits to drink.
Maximón is generally dressed in European
18th century style, although with many local
variations. In Santiago Atitlán he
is adorned with many colourful garlands, while
in Zunil (where he is known as San Simón)
he has a much more intimidating style, with
his face obscured by dark sunglasses and a
The worship of Maximón treats him
not so much as a benevolent deity as a bit
of a bully whom it's wise to keep on the right
side of. He is also known to be a link between
Xibalbá The Underworld and Bitol Corazón
del Cielo. His expensive tastes in alcohol
and cigarettes indicate that he is a very
human character, very different from the ascetic
ideals of Christian sainthood. Devotees believe
that prayers for revenge, or success at the
expense of others, are likely to be granted
Although the Catholic Church has attacked
the worship of Saint Death as a pagan tradition
contrary to the Christian belief of Christ
defeating death, many people insist on praying
to this figure for miracles. Saint Death is
venerated by a wide variety of people from
many different backgrounds. Often, those who
pray to this figure are seeking the recovery
of health, stolen items, or kidnapped family
The memitim are a type of angel
from biblical lore associated with the mediation
over the lives of the dying. The name is derived
from the ancient Hebrew word, "memitim,"
and refers to angels that brought about the
destruction of those whom the guardian angels
no longer protected. While there may be some
debate among religious scholars regarding
the exact nature of the memitim, it is generally
accepted that, as described in the Book of
Job 33:22, they are killers of some sort.
Malak Almawt, an Islamic angel of death.
Michael, an archangel. He is viewed as the
good Angel of Death (as opposed to Samael,
the evil Angel of Death).
Samael, an archangel (in Judaism). He is viewed
as the evil Angel of Death (as opposed to
Michael, the good Angel of Death).
Sariel, thought by some to be another name
of Azrael, in Judaism.
According to the Midrash, the
angel of death was created by God on the first
day[ . His dwelling is in Heaven, whence he
reaches earth in eight flights, whereas pestilence
reaches it in one. He has twelve wings. "Over
all people have I surrendered thee the power,"
said God to the angel of death, "only
not over this one which has received freedom
from death through the Law". It is said
of the angel of death that he is full of eyes.
In the hour of death he stands at the head
of the departing one with a drawn sword, to
which clings a drop of gall. As soon as the
dying man sees the angel, he is seized with
a convulsion and opens his mouth, whereupon
the angel throws the drop into it. This drop
causes his death; he turns putrid, and his
face becomes yellow. The expression "to
taste of death" originated in the idea
that death was caused by a drop of gall.
The Greek find death to be inevitable,
and therefore he is not represented as purely
evil. He is often portrayed as a bearded and
winged man, but has also been portrayed as
a young boy. Death, or Thanatos is the counterpart
of life; death being represented as male,
and life as female. He is the twin brother
of Hypnos, the god of sleep. He is typically
shown with his brother, and is represented
as being just and gentle. His job is to escort
the deceased to the underworld Hades. He then
hands the dead over to Charon (who by some
accounts looks like the modern western interpretation
of the Grim Reaper, having a skeletal body
and black cloak), who mans the boat which
carries them over the Lethe. The river is
the separation of the land of the dead, and
the land of the living. It is from Charon
that the tradition of putting pennies over
the eyes of the dead was born. It was believed
that if the ferryman did not receive some
sort of payment, the soul would not be delivered
to the underworld, and left by the riverside
for eternity. Thanatos' sisters, the Keres
were the spirits of violent death. They were
associated with deaths from battle, disease,
accident, and murder. They were portrayed
as evil, often feeding on the blood of the
body after the soul had been escorted to Hades.
They had fangs, talons, and would be dressed
in bloody garments.
The Greek poet Hesiod established
in his Theogony that Thanatos was a son of
Nyx (Night) and Erebos (Darkness) and twin
of Hypnos (Sleep).
"And there the children of dark Night
have their dwellings, Sleep and Death, awful
gods. The glowing Sun never looks upon them
with his beams, neither as he goes up into
heaven, nor as he comes down from heaven.
And the former of them roams peacefully over
the earth and the sea's broad back and is
kindly to men; but the other has a heart of
iron, and his spirit within him is pitiless
as bronze: whomsoever of men he has once seized
he holds fast: and he is hateful even to the
deathless gods." (Hesiod, Theogony 758
ff, trans. Evelyn-White, Greek epic C8th or
Homer also confirmed Hypnos and Thanatos
as twin brothers in his epic poem, the Iliad,
where they were charged by Zeus via Apollo
with the swift delivery of the slain hero
Sarpedon to his homeland of Lykia.
"Then [Apollon] gave him [Sarpedon]
into the charge of swift messengers to carry
him, of Hypnos and Thanatos, who are twin
brothers, and these two presently laid him
down within the rich countryside of broad
Lykia." (Homer, Iliad 16. 681 ff)
Thanatos as a winged youth.
Sculptured marble column drum from the temple
of Artemis at Ephesos, ca. 325–300 BC
Counted among Thanatos' siblings were other
negative personifications such as Geras (Old
Age), Oizys (Suffering), Moros (Doom), Apate
(Deception), Momos (Blame), Eris (Strife),
Nemesis (Retribution) and even the Stygian
boatman Charon. He was loosely associated
with the three Moirai (for Hesiod, also daughters
of Night), particularly Atropos, who was a
goddess of death in her own right. He is also
occasionally specified as being exclusive
to peaceful death, while the bloodthirsty
Keres embodied violent death. His duties as
a Guide of the Dead were sometimes superseded
by Hermes Psychopompos. Conversely, Thanatos
may have originated as a mere aspect of Hermes
before later becoming distinct from him.
Thanatos was thought of as merciless and
indiscriminate, hated by - and hateful towards
- mortals and the deathless gods. But in myths
which feature him, Thanatos could occasionally
be outwitted, a feat that the sly king Sisyphus
of Corinth twice accomplished. When it came
time for Sisyphus to die, he cheated Death
by tricking him into his own shackles, thereby
prohibiting the demise of any mortal while
Thanatos was so enchained. Eventually Ares,
the bloodthirsty god of War, grew frustrated
with the battles he incited, since neither
side suffered any casualties. He released
Thanatos and handed his captor over to the
god, though Sisyphus would evade Death a second
time by convincing Persephone to allow him
to return to his wife.
"King Sisyphos, son of Aiolos, wisest
of men, supposed that he was master of Thanatos;
but despite his cunning he crossed eddying
Akheron twice at fate's command." (Alcaeus,
Fragment 38a, trans. Campbell)
Thanatos is usually an inexorable fate for
mortals, but he was only once successfully
overpowered, by the mythical hero Herakles.
Thanatos was consigned to take the soul of
Alkestis, who had offered her life in exchange
for the continued life of her husband, King
Admetos of Pherai. Herakles was an honored
guest in the House of Admetos at the time,
and he offered to repay the king's hospitality
by contending with Death itself for Alkestis'
life. When Thanatos ascended from Hades to
claim Alkestis, Herakles sprung upon the god
and overpowered him, winning the right to
have Alkestis revived. Thanatos fled, cheated
of his quarry.
Thanatos : Much talk. Talking will win you
nothing. All the same, the woman goes with
me to Hades' house. I go to take her now,
and dedicate her with my sword, for all whose
hair is cut in consecration by this blade's
edge are devoted to the gods below. (Euripides,
Alcestis 19 ff, trans. Vellacott, Greek tragedy
In Euripides' Alcestis (438 BCE), he is depicted
dressed in black and carrying a sword.
In the Bible, the fourth horseman
of Revelation 6 is called Death, and is pictured
with Hades following him. The "Angel
of the Lord" smites 185,000 men in the
Assyrian camp (II Kings xix. 35). When the
Angel of Death passes through to smite the
Egyptian first-born, God prevents "the
destroyer" (shâchath) from entering
houses with blood on the lintel and side posts
(Ex. xii. 23). The "destroying angel"
("mal'ak ha-mash?it") rages among
the people in Jerusalem (II Sam. xxiv. 16).
In I Chronicle xxi. 15 the "angel of
the Lord" is seen by King David standing
"between the earth and the heaven, having
a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over
Jerusalem." The biblical Book of Job
(xxxiii. 22) uses the general term "destroyer"
("memitim"), which tradition has
identified with "destroying angels"
("mal'ake Khabbalah") and Prov.
xvi. 14 uses the term the "angels of
death" ("mal'ake ha-mavet").
Azriel is sometimes referred as the angel
of death, as well.
Azrael is the Islamic Archangel
of Death. It is an English form of the Arabic
name Azra'il or Azra'eil , the name traditionally
attributed to the angel of death in Islam
and some Hebrew lore. The Qur'an never uses
this name, referring instead to Malaikat al-Maut
(which translates directly as angels of death;
not one angel). Since it is not mentioned
either in the Qur'an nor Hadith, it is not
part of the religion. It is thought by some
to be legendary or adapted from other religions.
It is also spelled Izrail, Izrael, Azrail,
Ezraeil, Azraille, Azryel, or Ozryel. Chambers
English dictionary uses the spelling Azrael.
The name literally means Whom God Helps.
The Saints Of
This Saint is frequently dressed as a grim
reaper with a scythe and scales (the scales
may be reminiscent of St. Michael); also she
can be dressed in a long white satin gown
and a golden crown (Muerte and the related
Romance words have a feminine gender). In
this form, many devotees view her as a variation
of the Virgin Mary.
Grim Reaper statues are made in red, white,
green and black – for love, luck, financial
success and protection. Offerings to Saint
Death include roses and tequila. Public shrines
to Saint Death are adorned with red roses,
cigars, and bottles of tequila, and Saint
Death candles burn in his/her honor. Throughout
Mexico, and in parts of the United States
(especially in Mexican immigrant communities),
Saint Death prayer cards, medals, and candles
are made and sold to the public.
Numerous factors can cause death: predation,
disease, habitat destruction, senescence,
suicide, conflict, malnutrition, or mere accidents
resulting in terminal physical injury. The
principal cause of death in people in developed
countries is disease precipitated by aging.
The chief concern of medical science has been
to postpone and avert death. Precise medical
definition of death, however, becomes more
problematic, paradoxically, as scientific
knowledge and technology advance.
Death is the termination of the biological
functions that define living organisms. It
refers both to a specific event and to a condition,
the true nature of which it has for millennia
been a central concern of the world's religious
traditions and philosophers to penetrate;
in particular, the possibility or otherwise
of what is known as life after death
One resource indicates that the cult of Saint
Death originated from ancient witchcraft in
the state of Veracruz; however, other research
inclines one to question if Saint Death is
in reality much older. Saint Death may have
his/her roots in pre-Christian beliefs of
the Aztec Native Americans who worshiped a
similar figure by the name of Mictlantecuhtli,
the god of death, along with his wife, Mictecacihuatl.
Similar to other cultures around the world,
pre-Christian deities in Mexico are sometimes
syncretized as pseudo-saints. On the other
hand, in Spanish the phrase santa muerte could
also be interpreted simply as "holy death."
Thus Saint Death may simply represent a reinterpretation
by folk religion of the traditional and orthodox
Roman Catholic practice of prayer to receive
a blessed death in a state of grace
Her prayers, orations, and novenas contain
the Trinity and worship of Yahweh. While some
view Santa Muerte as a figure of black magic,
others view her as a Catholic saint worthy
Saint Death is also worshipped by the Iglesia
Católica Tradicionalista mexicana-estadounidense,
a church not related to the Roman Catholic
The Gods Of
Babylonian: Ereshkigal Nergal
Canaanite - The name of the god Mot was the
Canaanite word for "death".
Celtic - Morrigan
Chinese: Yanluo (transileration of Yama)
Ancient Egypt - The Gods Anubis and Osiris
were Gods associated with the Underworld or
Finnish: Tuoni, his wife and children
Greek: Thanatos (Death) and Hades (Underworld)
Haitian Vodou: Ghede
Igbo: Ogbunabali. Literal translation similar
to "[one] who kills in the night".
Japan: Enma (transliteration of Yama) (See
Maori: Hine-nui-te-po . Literal translation
similar to "Great-Lady-of-the-Darkness".
Maya: Ah Puch
Mexico - Contemporary Mexicans worship Santa
Muerte or Saint Death in conjunction with
the Catholic faith.
Norse: (Death) Odin and Freya; (Underworld)
Hel, Odin and Freya
Roman: Mors (Death), Pluto, Orcus and Dis
Western Civilization: The Grim Reaper
Islam: The Azrael - (Muslims consider Azrael
as the Angel of Death)
San La Muerte (Saint Death) is a religious
figure who is worshiped in Paraguay, the Northeast
of Argentina (mainly in the province of Corrientes
but also in Misiones, Chaco and Formosa) and
southern Brazil (specifically the in the states
of Panará, Santa Catharina and Rio
Grande do Sul). As the result of internal
migration in Argentina since the 1960s worship
of San La Muerte has been extended to Greater
Buenos Aires and the national prison system
Saint Death is depicted as a male skeleton
figure usually holding a scythe. Although
the Catholic Church has attacked the worship
of Saint Death as a pagan tradition contrary
to the Christian belief of Christ defeating
death, many people consider worshiping San
La Muerte as being part of their Catholic
Although the rituals connected to and powers
ascribed to San La Muerte are very similar
San La Muerte should not be confused with
the similar religious figure Santa Muerte
who is worshiped in Mexico and parts of the
US, but is typically depicted by a female
San La Muerte is one of many popular saints
worshiped in the Guaraní language region
that covers parts of Paraguay, north-eastern
Argentina and southern Brazil. Others include
San Biquicho, San Alejo and Santa Catalina.
Other names for San La Muerte include Señor
De La Muerte (Lord of the Death), Señor
De La Buena Muerte (Lord of the Good Death)
or - mainly in Paraguay - San Esqueleto (Saint
Skeleton). It is assumed that San La Muerte
was first worshiped among the Guaraní
Indians following the expulsion of their Jesuit
missionaries in 1767, as a mixture of their
previous beliefs and the newly imported Catholic
faith. Some of the Guarani tribes worshiped
the bones of ancestors demanding protection
against natural phenomena and adverse spiritual
forces. However there is currently no authoritative
account of the origins of the San La Muerte
To believers, San La Muerte exists within
the context of the Catholic faith and is comparable
to other purely supernatural beings such as
archangels. The San La Muerte cult involves
prayers, rituals, and offerings, which are
given directly to San La Muerte in expectation
of and tailored to the fulfillment of specific
requests. Offerings can include (human) blood,
alcoholic drinks, candles and other valuable
objects. San La Muerte receives offerings
in exchange for favors related to a wide range
of personal problems: San La Muerte is said
to help to restore love, health and fortune,
to protect worshippers from witchcraft, to
heal people upon whom somebody has cast the
evil eye and to grant good luck in gambling.
Next to these powers that are commonly attributed
to folk saints San La Muerte is also said
to be able to grant a number of requests that
are connected to crime and violence: It is
believed that the saint can bring death upon
the enemies off his devotees, can keep people
from being sent to prison and shorten prison
terms of prison inmates and that he can help
in the recovery of stolen and misappropriated
The San La Muerte cult is characterized by
a moral code that must be obeyed. In the cult
of San La Muerte worshippers have numerous
obligation towards the saint, which they must
honor in exchange for his protection. While
followers requests favors from other saints
they demand them from San La Muerte. Communication
with San La Muerte takes place through prayers
that are passed on between believers. The
San La Muerte cult is is based on punishment
and submission and to be granted a favor the
saint sometimes must even be threatened. Commons
threats involve hunger or banishment to an
uninhabited place until the favor is granted.
When graces are granted, the saint will be
rewarded and fed but never fully, in order
to increase the chances of him soon being
willing to grant another grace.
For most worshipers San La Muerte offers
personal and non-transferable protection that
will only be accessible to others when - after
the death of the original owner - he or she
has acquired the sculpture. There are also
intermediaries such as witch doctors and traditional
healers who invoke San La Muerte's power on
behalf of their clients, usually concealing
the image from sight of their customers. In
other cases San La Muerte is kept as a concealed
household saint, extending his protection
upon all family members with no distinction.
A number of public altars that are devoted
to San La Muerte can also be found. They are
run by devoted worshipers acting as guardians
of and caretakers for these altars. Some of
these altars host public festivities on the
15th of august, San La Muerte's saint's day
(Since San La Muerte is not included in the
saint's calendar of the Catholic Church the
date is somewhat contested and in some cases
his saint's day is celebrated on the 13th
The San La Muerte cult is based on interactions
between worshipers and the Saint Death represented
by man-made sculptures. Individual sculptures
are addressed as San La Muerte (because of
their small size they San La Muerte may also
colloquially be referred to as 'Santito' ('Small
Saint'). The representation of San La Muerte
varies according to the individual saint maker
that has crafted him, however the classic
figure is a human skeleton, standing, with
simple, minimalistic features. The skeleton
usually carries a scythe, in some cases with
drops of blood on the edge. The same image
can be dressed mostly in black and red cloths.
Other representations include a standing skeletons
without a scythe, sitting skeletons and skeletons
in a coffin.
San La Muerte sculptures can be carved from
wood, bones, metal (especially bullets) and
usually stand between 15 and three centimeters
tall. Increased powers are attributed to sculptures
made from raw materials from special sources
such as the last phalanx bone of the little
finger, bones from dead babies and wood taken
from dead peoples coffins or crucifixes belonging
to people who died recently. Other, more common
raw materials include guaiac tree and cedar
According to believers of the San La Muerte
cult a San La Muerte sculpture, in order to
be able to grant favors, needs to be consecrated
by a Catholic priest for seven times. If the
sculpture is carved out of the bone of a catholic
man it only needs to be consecrated five times
(as the bone has already been consecrated
twice). To get sculptures of San La Muerte
blessed, worshipers resort to subterfuge by
concealing a picture of San La Muerte underneath
a picture of a normal saint. When a priest
blesses the regular saint picture, it is felt
that San La Muerte underneath has also been
Aside from sculptures that are usually kept
on an altar or at a fixed place in the house
there are a range of personal forms of the
ritual that entail representations of San
La Muerte being worn on (in the from of amulets
and tattoos) or in the body (in the form of
carvings inserted under the skin of the worshiper).
San La muerte tattoos, amulets and body insertions
are believed to offer special protection from
death, bodily harm and imprisonment. Among
devotees, fired bullets, preferably those
that have wounded or killed a Christian man,
are regarded as the most powerful raw material
for amulets. Other materials for amulets include
(human) bone, silver and gold. Tattoos of
San La Muerte exhibit a wide variety of styles.
From rudimentary outlines to elaborate depictions
of three dimensional figures. Images of San
La Muerte are usually accompanied by partial
or complete transcriptions of prayers to him.
In English, death is often given the name
the "Grim Reaper" and shown as a
skeletal figure carrying a large scythe, and
wearing a midnight black gown, robe or cloak
with a hood, or sometimes a white burial shroud.
Usually when portrayed in the black-hooded
gown, his face is not to be seen, but is a
mere shadow beneath the hood.
In some cases, the Grim Reaper is able to
actually cause the victim's death, leading
to tales that he can be bribed, tricked, or
outwitted in order to retain one's life. Other
beliefs hold that the Spectre of Death is
only a psychopomp, serving only to sever the
last tie from the soul to the body and guide
the deceased to the next world and having
no control over the fact of their death.
Death is the center of many traditions and
organizations, and is a feature of every culture
around the world. Much of this revolves around
the care of the dead, as well as the afterlife
and the disposal of bodies upon the onset
of death. The disposal of human corpses does,
in general, begin with the last offices before
significant time has passed, and ritualistic
ceremonies often occur, most commonly interment
or cremation. This is not a unified practice,
however, as in Tibet for instance the body
is given a sky burial and left on a mountain
top. Mummification or embalming is also prevalent
in some cultures, to retard the rate of decay.
Such rituals are accompanied by grief and
mourning in almost all cases, and this is
not limited to human loss, but extends to
the loss of an animal. Legal aspects of death
are also part of many cultures, particularly
the settlement of the deceased estate and
the issues of inheritance and in some countries,
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