Man spends a week living with tribe that exhumes their dead
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A YouTuber who spent a week living with a tribe that exhumes the dead said he wanted to tackle the ‘discomfort’ of death head-on.
WARNING: CONTAINS IMAGES OF DEATH
Back in 2021, he shared a video documenting his trip to Tana Toraja, located on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The Torajan people are known for their unique death rituals, which include preserving and exhuming the dead, and often welcome visitors to witness the traditional practices; according to the New York Times, some areas even share the schedule for rituals on the local government’s tourism website.
A few years ago, Corey was among those curious to learn more about their approach to death and the afterlife, and hopped on a plane to Indonesia.
"The Torajan people have some of the music elaborate funeral rituals on the planet,” he explained.
“They are one of must unique tribes I've ever come across. After experiencing death in my own life, I wanted to tackle the discomfort head on, and went out in search of answers.”
In the video, Corey said he went there to ‘look for answers’, adding: “In the end, I think I found some.”
He explained that he’d been warned animal sacrifice was also an important part of Torajan death rituals.
“While walking through the village, I see an albino water buffalo,” Corey said.
“I didn’t think they existed. It was tied up beside some standing stones, and each rock monolith symbolizes a funeral that has happened here in the past.”
He said it is common for families to save for decades to give their loved ones an appropriate send off – sometimes spending ‘upwards of $30,000 on buffalo to sacrifice’, as they are the ‘vehicle to afterlife’.
“Twice a day, the family brings them their favourite things – food, water, cigarettes, and play their favourite music,” he said.
“They also speak to them, they ask them questions. They say the tamakula [which means ‘sick’] respond in their dreams.”
Corey also attended a Torayan funeral, a ‘Walking Dead Festival’ and went to see a number of cave graves in the area, where there were ‘bones everywhere’, along with wooden effigies called ‘tau tau’, which depict someone put to rest.
“This is a luxury for royalty,” he explained.
“This place is like a hall of fame.”
Corey said he realised ‘death doesn’t have to be something we hide from’, as it can be ‘embraced, accepted and celebrated’.
“There are ways to fill our hearts with love, when all we feel is pain,” he said.
“These are the answers that I found in Tana Toraja, the Land of the Dead.”