Thursday, June 20, 2013


Actual Photo.  Real or Hoax?
Tana Toraja Regency is a regency of South Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, home of the Toraja ethnic group people.  Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands located between Thailand and Australia.

The Toraja people have fascinating rituals surrounding death and the afterlife.  When someone dies, ritual states that the deceased are to be buried in the town they were born in (and not necessarily in the town in which they have died).  As the Toraja population expanded, it became more and more necessary to transport bodies long distances through the jungles to their final resting places.

This is where is gets freaky.  Through methods unknown, the dead could be made to stand up and walk back to their town of birth.  At this point, they were called "Rolang" which actually mean "the corpse who stands up."  Once at their town of birth, they would be directed to their coffin, and would be properly buried.  FREAKY!

Further research into the term "Rolang" uncovered a Tibetan connection.  This one is even more freaky.  In this scenario, a holy man (a "ngagspa") gets shut up in a dark room with the newly deceased and lies on top of the corpse, wrapping his arms around it and placing his mouth over the mouth of said dead person (EWWW!).  By breathing into the dead body's mouth, the corpse is eventually revived, and leaps to it's feet, attempting to escape the grasp of the ngasgspa.  The holy man must hold onto the thrashing corpse, or he will be killed.  Oh, and he has to wait for it to stick out its tongue, so he can bite it off.  Apparently the tongue makes  a powerful magic weapon used in healing etc.

Reality freakier than fiction?  The embedded photo here was apparently taken in Tana Toraja, and shows a "Rolang" arriving at its final resting place.  Who knows if the photo is a hoax.  And maybe the rituals are horrifying fairy tales.  I guess every culture has it's own  Brothers Grimm to scare the crap outta kids, but holy cow people!


  1. what a ritual! really interesting habit. i'd like to know reason/aim of it.

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