any early burial rites and customs were practiced to protect the living, by appeasing the spirits who were thought to have caused the person's death. Such ghost protection rituals and superstitions have varied extensively with time and place, as well as with religious perception, but many are still in use today. The custom of shutting the eyes of the deceased is believed to have begun this way, done in an attempt to close a 'window' from the living world to the spirit world. Covering the face of the deceased with a sheet comes from pagan beliefs that the spirit of the deceased escaped through the mouth. In some cultures, the home of the deceased was burned or destroyed to keep his spirit from returning; in others the doors were unlocked and windows were opened to ensure that the soul was able to escape. In 19th century Europe and America the dead were carried out of the house feet first, in order to prevent the spirit from looking back into the house and beckoning another member of the family to follow him. Mirrors were also covered, usually with black crepe, so the soul would not get trapped and not be able to pass to the other side. Family photographs were also sometimes turned face-down to prevent any of the close relatives and friends of the deceased from being possessed by the spirit of the dead. Some cultures took their fear of ghosts to an extreme. The Saxons of early England cut off the feet of their dead so the corpse would be unable to walk. Some aborigine tribes took the even more extreme step of cutting off the head of the dead, thinking this would leave the spirit too busy searching for his head to worry about the living.
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