Tuesday, October 5, 2010


   In Chinese folklore Chiang-Shih, or "hopping ghost", is a combination of spirit monster and unburied corpse, which vaguely resembles a Western Vampire; it comes to life and wreaks death and misfortune.  The Chinese believe that an unburied corpse was a great danger because evil spirits could easily inhabit it.

   Traditionally the Chinese would bury their dead in garments that bound their legs together, so the spirit was thought to hop instead of walk.   The Chiang-Shih are blind but intensely powerful, with great supernatural powers, including gale-force breath, sword like fingernails, incredibly long eyebrows that can be used to lasso or bind an enemy, shape-shifting powers and the ability to fly.

   The Chiang-Shih is created when a person dies a violent or painful death or when the soul has been angered because of an improper burial or improper preparation for burial, or when improper respects are paid to the dead.  Something even being buried in the wrong location can cause a person to become a Chiang-Shih.
   Traditionally the Chiang-Shih are blind, they rely on their ability to sense the breath of their prey to track them and are believed to suck the breath out of their victims.  The main items used in defense against Chiang-Shih are death blessings, written on yellow paper and stuck to the forehead of the deceased, garlic, mirrors, straw and chicken blood.


   Japan like any other country is steeped in ghostly lore.  Here are a few of the more common Japanese spirits for you to read about and be amazed by.


   Translated as "haunted lantern", in Japanese folklore a Bakechochin is a lantern inhabited by ghosts.  According to folklore the lantern has a long tongue and wild eyes and is home for the ghosts of people who died with hate in their hearts; for this reason, they are doomed to hauntthe earth for all time.  If someone should light one of the haunted lanterns it is thought that a hateful ghost may leap out of it and attack.

   Buruburu, meaning the sound of shivering, is a terrible ghost from Japanese folklore that for reasons unknown is said to lurk in forests and graveyards in the form of an old person, who is sometimes one eyed.  According to legend it attaches itself to its victim's spine and causes a chill to run down them, or in the worse case causes them to die of fright.


   A Gashadokuro according to Japanese folklore is a giant skeleton many  times taller than a human.  It is thought to be made of the bones of people who have starved to death.  After midnight the ghost roams the streets making a ringing noise that sounds in the ears.  If people do not run away when the Gashadokuro approaches it will bite off their heads with its giant teeth.


   The Ikiryoh is the name used to describe an entity that is thought to be created by the evil thoughts and feelings of a person.  When it is energized by hatred the Ikiryoh becomes so powerful it can leave the person harboring hateful thoughts and enter and possess the person who is the object of the hatred.  Once it is inside the person at can kill the victim slowly by draining away the person's energy.  The Ikiryoh is thought to be extremely difficult to exorcise and there are numerous rites to drive it away, including some Buddhist scriptures.


   A Konakijii is the spirit of a baby who has been left to die in the woods.  The Konakijii lures people out to the woods with the sound of its crying, but when people get close they see that the baby has the face of an old man.  If  they pick the baby up it is impossible to put down and suddenly becomes so heavy that it crushes unsuspecting victims to death.


   The Kubikajiiri is a head-eating ghost, who has a distinctive smell that of fresh blood, and is said to lurk around graveyards at night searching for its head.  If it can't find its own head it will try to eat the heads of anything, living or dead that crosses its path.


   The Mononoke is a ghost that resides in inanimate objects.  It is found in temples, shrines and graveyards and likes to scare or even kill people.  Priests are thought to be able to drive it away be reciting Buddhist sutras.  According to Shinto belief, all things, including inanimate objects, have their own unique spirits (kami), which gives them life.


   According to Japanese folklore on the Island of Kyushu, the Nurikabe is said to be a wall ghost.  It appears as a large, white wall, with pairs of arms and legs, to people out walking late of night.  Now, if a person attempts to pas the ghostly wall, it may fall and crush them or if the person attempt to run around or run away the wall reappears in front of them.  According to the legend the only way to escape is to hit the bottom of the wall with a stick and it will vanish.  The origin of the