Maschalismos is customary to physically prevent the dead return to the world of the living and haunt in the form of undead. The word comes from Ancient Greek and was also the term for the laws and rules governing the custom in the Greek customary law.
Acts considered maschalismos are not limited to physical returns to life, but also seek to escape the malice of the victims. A common method is to cut the feet, hands, ears, nose, etc.., and tie a rope to the armpits, around the torso of the body.
Piercing feet when abandoning Oedipus child may be considered a maschalismos on a living being.
In The Libation Bearers and Electra tragedies (Aeschylus and Sophocles, respectively), Clytemnestra does a maschalismos on the corpse of Agamemnon after the murder of the latter to avoid revenge.
In some versions of the myth of Jason, the diasparagmos, consisting of dismembering the Apsyrtus body, is replaced by a maschalismos.
The term maschalismos has expanded to include the customs of other cultures involving the mutilation of corpses of the dead to prevent them from affecting the living.
In the Moluccas a woman who died in childbirth is buried with pins forced into the joints and an egg under the chin or underarms. This is due to the belief that the dead fly like birds and the eggs rekindle maternal instincts, causing the dead to not abandon the eggs and will remain so in his old body.
In Europe it was sometimes common to bury people committed suicide with a stake perforating the heart, the body turned upside down, or head cut off and placed between the legs.
The Omaha Indians of North America, were cutting the feet of people killed by lightning.
Basotho and Bechuana Africa cut the ligaments and spinal cord of their dead.
Herbert River aborigines of Australia beat the corpses to break bones and fill incisions with stones.