I just love Metafilter — I’m always coming across something I have never heard of before, which is one of my favourite things to do, and there are always lots of links to find out more about whatever it is. This time it was Sokushinbutsu, the mummified monks of Japan. Apparently hundreds of years ago, Buddhist monks would occasionally try to mummify themselves while they were still alive, by eating a special diet for several years and then drinking a special herbal tea that effectively embalmed them. Near the end, according to this article, the monk would be buried alive in a stone tomb with an air tube and a small bell, and when the bell stopped ringing they would be exhumed and then reburied for another few years before being put on display. Fascinating. More details here.