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Death simulator lets you experience what it's like to be cremated

If you've ever wondered what it feels like to die, a new attraction in Shanghai aims to demystify the process.

Not a tanning salon.
Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

Of course, being cremated after you're dead doesn't feel like anything (probably), but the aim of Shanghai's Xinglai ("Awaken") is not to re-create a real experience, but to satisfy morbid curiosity and offer a new perspective.

The attraction opened this week. It begins with visitors being asked to choose to sacrifice themselves or another person, and explain why. The visitors then vote on whose explanation is the worst, and that person is "killed." this person then gets to lay down on a conveyor belt that leads into a tunnel that simulates a crematorium. At the other end, the person is "reborn" through a latex womb.

According to Reuters, the creators of the attraction wish to offer visitors a way of putting their problems into perspective. Visitors can also write down their problems, final thoughts and reflections, choosing to keep them or shred them in a sort of catharsis.

A participant who got a sneak preview of the attraction, 33-year-old Lu Si Wei, described the experience for Reuters.

"The 'death simulator' is really interesting. It at least gives you the chance to calm down and give in to some deeper thoughts and think about some of life's problems," he told the news agency.

"I think this (feeling) is different. When you walk through that door, you will experience some changes in your mentality, and it will be different from what it was before you entered. I think this is really great, and very worthwhile."

This is not Shanghai's first death simulation experience. In September 2014, Huange Weiping and Ding Rui, founders of hospice care organisation Hand in Hand, opened Samadhi Death Simulator in Shanghai. However, Samadhi Death Simulator is more of a room escape in which visitors compete with each other to complete tasks.

Earlier in 2014, another death simulator also opened in Shanghai. Also called Xinglai, it was built by a company called Lingxin Culture and Communication and is more about meditating on life and death. It was based on a similar death simulator opened in 2010 in South Korea, called the Coffin Academy.

Visitors to the newly opened Xinglai attraction will pay around $68 for the experience.