Your Family Would Pay A Poor Person To Go To Hell On Your Behalf
It used to be super hard to live a sinless life, and we don't mean that in a crazy hedonistic "looking at your neighbor's ankles" sense either. Hell, just thinking the word "hell" condemns you to one of the lower circles of the Inferno for blasphemy. (Sorry.) And woe betide you if you've ever eaten bacon-wrapped shrimp or gotten a tattoo. Christianity has mellowed a lot since those days, but to people in the 18th and 19th centuries, Hell wasn't just an abstract concept -- it was real and ugly and vicious and barrelling straight at them for the most minor of infractions. Enter the sin eater. When you were a little uneasy about your loved one's chances for Heaven, the sin eater was the guy you called to come over and literally eat their sins and go to Hell on their behalf.
Edward Lewes Cutts"You got any hot sauce?"
When someone passed, the family would place a piece of bread on their chest. The bread, which was said to "soak up" their sins, would then be eaten by the sin eater, commencing a Trading Places-like switch where he would take their spot in Hell, rooming with Vlad The Impaler, the no-plate-washing thermostat-adjusting dick.
And how much did it cost for rich dicks to buy their way out of Hell? An insultingly small amount. Sin eaters left the deceased's house with nothing but a few coins and the knowledge they were going to burn in Hell forever. That's why sin eaters were typically beggars who were on the brink of starvation, willing to eat any slice of bread no matter the filling. Most did not repeat the process too often, hoping they'd only absorbed some minor bathroom-related sins. Which is a shame. An atheist Medieval beggar could have led a sweet, carb-laden life exploiting the rich and paranoid.
Clker-Free-Vector-Images/Pixabay "My good sir, you have the look of a man with a few unsolved stabbings you'd like me to eat."
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