The corpse bride

03Dec09

Necrophilia we know – but pseudo-necrophilia? Where’s Sigmund Freud when you need to be laid across a chaise longue and have such complicated matters of the heart and mind explained to you.

He — Sigmund — might be able to get to the bottom of the curious tale regarding Le Van, the 55-year old farmer, who hails from Ha Nam town in Thang Binh district of Quang Nam province.

You see old Van has apparently been sleeping on or with his wife’s remains for nigh on five years now. Yup, the header Corpse Bride suddenly seems rather inspired, non?

This poor widower lives at home with his three younger children and next door to his two eldest children and their families. Word eventually got out about the Corpse Bride and left town spreading from one bia hoi or tea stall to the next across the land until a reporter from VietNamNet tracked him down and now Le Van is a wee sensation (apparently he gets out of town visitors).

He told the reporter that although her body was dead her “soul is still alive.” Fair enough. But disturbingly, the man’s youngest son also shares the bed with the statue, though the 12-year old seems unconcerned.

“My father and I hold my mother while we sleep every night,” he told the reporter. “My mother didn’t die. She was reincarnated!”

Reincarnated as her own bones in a statue?

It could, perhaps, have been worse. Le Van had slept on top of his wife’s tomb every night for nearly 20 months. Then — perhaps on a really cold rainy night, but, hey, I’m speculating here — he decided to dig a tunnel in the ground to sleep next to her. His children drew the line so instead he dug up the coffin and brought his wife’s remains home.

End of story? Never. His older children were old enough to be highly concerned and decided to alert the local authorities. Officials and police officers came to his house and insisted that Van re-bury the coffin. But four months later, Van disinterred her tomb, removed the bones and placed them inside a statue he made in the image of his  — [cue creepy music] – wife. He even dressed the statue in her clothes and apparently placed it on his bed, proudly telling the reporter how he hugged his wife every night before sleeping.

What would the neighbours think? Well, yes, needless to say his odd behaviour — or stories of his odd behaviour — have ostracized him somewhat from the community. His neighbours certainly aren’t popping over for tea and asking, “How’s Mrs. L doing? She’s looking a bit stiff there.”

In fact, apparently some of them are plain terrified of him. Though I think the community needs to play some cunning reverse psychology, much like in one of my favourite films of the last 18 months or so, Lars and The Real Girl, in which Ryan Gosling plays a lonely, plastic-girl-philia in the arse end of Canada, who really believes his plastic girlfriend is real. The community at first is aghast and agog and it all looks bleak for Lars — read: destined for a padded cell in a funny farm. But eventually everyone rallies together and embraces Lars’ delusional feelings for this doll-woman, who’s called Bianca. People invite her out to lunch and offer her part-time work and yadda-yadda-yadda [plot spoiler ahoy] eventually Lars gets pissed off with her and dumps her and gets with a real woman. Moral of the story: He’s probably still mad, but at least he got conventional.  Okay, maybe that’s not the point of the story. Perhaps, it’s about community spirit and perhaps that’s what Le Van needs [eat that Sigmund].

The reporter who visited Van claimed he got the sense that the perpetually grieving widower was simply trying to be faithful. Really, really faithful. Til death do us part just wasn’t good enough, like our old pal Heathcliff of Yorkshire.

The local police have apparently decided to pay Van another visit and he admitted to a “breach of environmental regulations” — eh? — and agreed it was wrong to bring his wife’s remains home – okay… — but he put it all down to “the depth of his love for his wife” and it seems the police can’t really do anything about it anyway.

At the time of writing the authorities haven’t reached an official judgment on whether the statue contains the remains of Van’s wife or not, and if so, what to do, and if not… um… well, what to do. Van has also made veiled threats, claiming he would “live or die” with the statue so obviously nobody wants to see the poor old pseudo-necrophiliac pop his clogs…

Who’d take care of his wife?



4 Responses to “The corpse bride”

  1. Hey, that’s great. Not impressed with the lack of frequency in posting though. How about an article about your favorite hats? I have this merino wool one that covers my ears…

    • Merino wool eh?

      Tis true though — we’ve been lost in the quagmire that is the offline world and struggling to fulfill our Comical Hat duties. Gradually trying to claw our way back…

  2. Brilliant, I like this, it sums up why I love Vietnam and makes me wonder will I ever get taken to lunch after I’ve kicked the bucket?


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