Thursday, March 5, 2015

Finding A Replacement Body (找替身)

Perhaps it is unique to Chinese ghost culture that a ghost of untimely and violent death must first find a replacement body before it can be reborn as a human again. This type of ghost is known as vengeful ghost (厉鬼). There are many folk beliefs concerning these vengeful ghosts:

Some folk belief that a vengeful water ghost can transformed into a small fish, a log or someone drowning in a lake. Believers also think that vengeful ghosts cannot recognize their relatives in human world.

Let us talk about hung ghosts (吊死鬼) as this may be the most common form of ghost that one would come about now and in the past.

Old Chinese believe that only a female hung ghost can seek replacement while the male ones are not permitted. This is because the male ghost is too barbarous and they tend to bully the female ghost. So the Indra Bodhisattva (韦陀菩萨) has forbidden the male hung ghosts to seek replacement bodies.

Below are two stories concerning female hung ghosts seeking replacement bodies:

Story 1

Mr. A returned home at midnight, he met a young woman and this woman asked him: “Where is the house of Mr. A?”

Mr. A heard the question but he purposely asked the woman:
“What is the relationship between you and him?”

The lady replied:
“I am his relative and tonight I am going to his house.”

Mr. A understood that he has just saw a ghost, but due to his curiosity; he still managed to tell the woman his address. The lady thanked Mr. A and then parted with him. Mr. A quickly took a shortcut and reached his house.

Mr. A’s wife saw her husband, she want to get intimate and she cooked a bowl of noodles for her hubby.

Mr. A took up a pair of chopsticks and stirred the noodles. Surprisingly he found much wok coal and hence Mr. A concluded that the hung ghost has entered his house! So he tried to flirt with his wife and said:
“Now I don’t feel like to eat, let’s go to bed early.”

Mr. A put the bowl of noodles in the kitchen and pulled his wife’s to the bedroom.

Mrs. A was bewildered to his hubby’s behaviour and asked:
“Is it because of the noodles doesn’t suit your taste or you think I am trying to poison you?”

Mr. A smiled and said:
“No, no. It is not that. I only want to sleep early.”

Mrs. A picked on the fact that her hubby refused to eat her noodles and kept on with her interrogations. But Mr. A tried every effort to avoid confronting with his wife and he only countered with some intimate talk.

After some tug of war, it was soon dawn. With the cockadoodledoo of a chicken, the female hung ghost gave a shriek and left the house.

Story 2:

A scholar was staying at his relative’s house. One night he saw a beautiful young lady passing through his room and then entered the house. When she passed the scholar’s room, she suddenly squat down and seemed to hide something.

The scholar waited until the lady went into the house, he came out to investigate and he found a ring similar to a bracelet. So he picked up the ring and slipped it into his I Ching texts.

Suddenly crying and cursing voice of a lady came from the house:

“Did you pick up my stuff? Please don’t play pranks with me. I want my thing!”

The scholar:
“Tell me the reason why you come into the house at night?”

The lady:
“Can you return my stuff?”

The scholar:

Suddenly the lady showed her ghostly appearance and charged towards the scholar.

The scholar laughed and took up his ink brush and painted his face then asked:
“What do you think of me now?”

The lady saw that this scholar is not afraid of her, she return to her peaceful form and said:
“To tell you the truth, I am a hung ghost. Please return my bracelet!”

The scholar:
“What is the purpose of the bracelet?”

The lady:
“When a person hangs himself, he would feel confused. His would see the hang loop as a small window and outside of the window would be beautiful scenery. So he would stretch his head outside the window to enjoy. And at this point, he would realise that he couldn’t breathe. He would then try to use his hands to free his neck. At this point, I would use my bracelet to bind his hands until this person kick the bucket. You would find the buttock of a person died by hanging would have the sign of green and black haemorrhoid spots. This is due to the fact that when the person is having difficulties to breathe and that his hands could not extend; he would use his hands to beat against his buttock…”

The scholar:
“I am not convinced still. The bracelet is so small, how can it be used to bind the hands of a man?”

The lady:
“The bracelet can expand or contract as needed…”

At this point, the chicken crowed and the lady ghost gave a loud shriek and gone with the wind.

After the ghost is gone, the scholar opened up his I Ching and found the bracelet has become a coal ring.

This is the reason why people would break coal ring on a wok when a wok is being cleaned.

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