How to bury the dead to make sure their spirit moves on?

In my novel, ghosts are the result of bodies that haven’t been properly buried (sort of like in Egyptian mythology where the organs had to be taken out and the body prepared for its journey onto the next world) and this certain organization work to make sure these dead bodies are properly buried afterwards to make sure they don’t come back.
I’m having quite the difficult time trying to figure out a cool way to kill these bodies. I’ve been trying to get inspiration from shows like supernatural and looking up different things, but nothing has sparked my attention.

I was thinking of having the main organs ripped out, specially the heart … but I don’t know. I want it to be super cool and a whole ritual. Any ideas?

Just to make sure I’m not confusing myself, are you looking for ways in which killing a character would result into them turning into ghosts?

Oh no, I’m looking for ritualistic ways / ceremonies that could be done in my book that this organization would do

Two ideas come to mind. One, you could have a special type of gemstone that, if placed in the mouth (or inside the body after organs are removed) acts as a ghost preventative. I know black pearls have been used for that.

Or, your ritual could involve linen bandages, soaked in a special herbal solution and painted with runes. You’d use them to bind the body somehow (hands behind back, or something). If you wanted to go a little more gruesome with it, you could remove the head and bind it between the knees or something so the body isn’t “whole.”

Does any of this make sense to you or sound interesting? I probably shouldn’t have been able to come up with ideas so quick…


Nooo I love this :joy: thank you for the good ideas!

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To add onto @CelticWhovian 's ideas, another ritual may be to take the blood from the body and actually paint on symbols onto the skin that have the power to trap the soul in the heart (or something idk) and then you can destroy the heart?


You’re welcome! Hope it helps.

Depends on whether you’re trying to destroy the spirit or encourage it to move on to the next life. I imagine that makes a big difference in how the ritual goes.

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oh yeah, that’s a fair point. maybe not then if the spirit is encouraged to move on :joy:

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Of course, this discussion opens up a whole interesting concept of how did people figure out the ritual in the first place? Did a god tell them what to do? If it was trial and error, I imagine there are a lot of ancient ghosts wandering around from pre-ritual days.

I can definitely see the instructions of the ritual being discovered in a dated book of sorts. But your question is quite interesting - the how would be quite a cool aspect to delve deeper into.

Also, what about the Jane Doe’s that are found, or bodies that are missing. (Not trying to nitpick just curious!)

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Well, that’s a little more extreme than I was expecting when I opened the thread :joy:

I’ve got a culture in my book that has something similar to this, but for them, death does not occur until a body has been buried—specifically, returned to the forest in which the living being lived. So if any part of the body (a bone, for example) is not buried, the individual has not died.

It’s not as dramatic as ripping out organs, but it gets crazy in the implications… there’s a 20-year war going on, for example, between a character who has the skeleton of an individual of this culture (and is using it to manipulate others), and the culture itself. As far as they’re concerned, he has been holding this individual prisoner for 20 years.


I have a less dramatic idea but you can still think over it. How about a river going through wherever the setting is’ a believe that washing the body in it takes away the spirit with the flow of the water. And people working to keep the “Holiness” of the water maintained?


That’s a really interesting concept!



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They’re by far the most interesting characters to write.

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I bet! Is the story posted here on Wattpad?

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It is :slight_smile:

It’s part of the series on my profile. The culture isn’t the focus of it, but the series wouldn’t exist without them. They are present, unrecognized, for the whole duration of the first books, then surface fully (and start driving plot) in the third and become focal in the fifth.

As an aside, the other fascinating thing to write about them is that they have an oral tradition with no spoken language. They use body language and sometimes mimic sounds, so storytelling is a dance and conversations take place while circling each other. But they’ve got stories they’ve preserved for hundreds to thousands of years.

I love them.


@JumpingToConclusions I really like this idea with emptying out the blood and painting symbols!

This is the main point of this organization! They hunt down these ghosts and try to stop hauntings
@SmokeAndOranges this is a really good idea too! I like the idea of them becoming one with the earth and decomposing back to where they came from

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There could be specific funeral rituals, as the body is laid to rest, whether this be certain songs, or chants. There could also be inscriptions written on the body on certain parts to allow the soul to leave. Traditionally, iron, in the form of coins, or stakes through the chest have been used to aid spirits moving on, so there could be special metals that are also used.

There could also be burial items. This could include ceremonial jewelry, weapons, sentimental items.

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