S. Korean woman found dead after sleeping inside coffin in ‘spiritual ritual’
SEOUL — A woman in her 40s was found dead in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, reportedly after sleeping in a coffin as part of a spiritual ritual, regional police have said.
According to police, the woman’s body was found inside a wooden coffin at about 6:30 a.m., Friday. The cause for her death may be suffocation or heat-related given the ongoing heat wave, authorities added.
Police believe the woman participated in a religious ritual aimed at bringing good fortune by “getting rid of the bad spirits,” along with two other female acquaintances at a studio apartment in Gumi. It is believed the deceased first got inside the coffin at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
According to the two other participants in the ritual, the woman initially got out of the coffin after spending two hours inside, saying she could not breathe inside.
She went back in the coffin after the others encouraged her to keep going. She fell asleep while the other two women slept near the coffin. It is unclear why the ritual required only one of the three participants to sleep inside the coffin.
When the other participants woke up in the morning and opened the coffin, they discovered the woman had died.
Police said an autopsy is to be performed Saturday. Authorities will also decide whether to charge the two acquaintances with negligence.
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