For most couples, marriage is supposed to last until death do you part. But in the Chinese custom of "ghost marriages," death is just the beginning of a couple's wedded bliss.
"Ghost marriage" is the practice of marrying two corpses in an effort to keep them from being lonely in the afterlife, NBC News reported Sunday. It is believed that if a person dies unmarried, they will be alone in the afterlife and haunt still-living family members, so the deceased's living relatives must find them a dead spouse to keep them company.
NBC News reported that though ghost marriages were outlawed in 1949, the tradition is still practiced in some rural regions. In fact, according to ABC News, ghost marriages have been making a comeback recently as China's economy has improved.
So what does a "ghost wedding" look like? In some ways, it's like a "living" wedding -- family members eat, drink and socialize, and the family of the groom gives the bride's family a gift (typically cash). Relatives will also continue to keep in touch after the wedding.
But here's where the wedding takes an unusual turn -- in most cases, the deceased bride's relatives dig up her remains and bury the newlyweds together, and the two are pronounced husband and wife in a graveside ceremony.
Families often hire a matchmaker to find a spouse for their dead relative. But it can be tough to find an available corpse, however, so some families turn to the black market -- grave robbers steal corpses and sell them for upwards of $4,000, according to The Guardian.
Earlier this month, a Chinese court sentenced four men to two years in prison for digging up 10 female corpses and selling them for nearly $39,000 total.
Click through the slideshow below to see spooky images of ghosts through the years.
In 1916, retired Scotland Yard Inspector Arthur Springer took this picture in Tingewick, Buckingham, England. At the moment he captured the photograph, there was reportedly no dog in the frame at all.
One of the most famous ghost images ever taken, this is allegedly the ghost of Lady Dorothy Townshend, who lived in Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England during the 1700s. After her death, Townshend’s spirit was reportedly seen many times, and in 1936, a photograph of the interior of Raynham Hall revealed the ghostly form of a woman descending the stairs.
In the mid-1940s, a Mrs. Andrews of Queensland, Australia, photographed the grave of her daughter, Joyce. When the film was developed, a small child appeared in the picture. Years later, two graves of young infant girls were found near Joyce’s grave.
In the early 1960s, the Rev. K.F. Lord photographed the interior of his church in Newby, North Yorkshire, U.K.. When the film was developed, a translucent hooded figure appeared to be standing to the right of the altar. See next slide for a close-up of the figure.
This is an enlargement of the Newby, U.K. church ghost from the previous slide.
This recent image, taken by Bret and Gina Oldham, shows two ghostly figures in an area of Nashville known as Printers Alley. In the foreground is a figure of a large woman in a long dress and her hair pulled back. And in front of this "spirit," the figure of a man appears to be standing against a building wall.
Image photographed in 2011 by Frank Lazzaro of a strange figure peering through a doorway of the Old Bernardsville Library in New Jersey.