Friday, December 2, 2016

The Manikins (人偶)

Believe it or not, manikins used to display fashions and accessories can be haunted subjects too. I have heard many such stories from various people from Malaysia to Hong Kong.

In mid-90’s, an emporium in Ipoh became famous because a night cleaner claimed to have seen fashion manikins in the display window winked and waved their hands at her. She was so scared until she passed out in front of the display window only to be revived by the security personnel on patrol.

One decade later in Hong Kong, same incident happened to a radio DJ, Wong who worked in an office located below ground level of an emporium. Wong normally worked from midnight to 8am daily and he must pass through a row of shop lots including some fashion boutiques with many manikins displaying the hottest fashions of the season. For some reasons that Wong was afraid of these manikins and he normally would walk with a faster pace so that his eye contact with those manikins was kept to a minimum.

An unforgettable incident happened to Wong one night during one of those ghost months. On that particular night, he was a little late for his work due to some transport delay. So, Wong hurriedly walked to his office and it was around 11:30pm. As usual as Wong walked passed the rows of fashion manikins displayed behind the windows, something caught Wong’s attention.

Since everything around the walkway and the shop lots was almost stagnant, some minor movements around Wong could be easily picked up by him or anyone else. As Wong passed by one of the manikins, he suddenly heard someone was knocking at the display window. Wong instinctively turned his head towards the source of the knocks and there he saw a lady manikin waving its right hand at him; and then it gave Wong a flying kiss.

That has done it. The lady manikin’s flying kissed not only broke Wong’s heart but also his nerve. So, Wong ran as fast as he could heading towards his office until he bumped into his colleague, Jack who was waiting impatiently for Wong to relief him. Not only Jack didn’t sympathize Wong’s horrific experience, he just thought Wong was finding an excuse for his lateness to work. A few days later, Wong fired his boss and quit his midnight DJ job.

DJ Wong told me his story over a cup of coffee. I thought he noticed my peculiar facial expressions when looking at him and while listening to his story; he stopped me and said: “I know what you are going to say Mr. Liew. I am not crazy and I really hate to come face to face with those manikins during midnight!” I shrugged and I rested my case.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Deceased Made Known (死者示警)

Do you believe that even dead people can give the livings some tell-tale signs as where to find their bodies so that they can be treated properly and with dignity? I am not trying to lead you into a twilight zone or something like that, such news is not unheard of in local mass medias. Folks in law reinforcement or emergency services will have some sort of stories to tell.

My friend John is a retired HK police officer and he told me many similar stories some time ago but I can only barely remember three of them. It is actually very difficult to record down stories told by my friends over a tea conversation. So, I will do my best:

In the mid 90’s, a tenant in a flat in Mong Kok (旺角) lodged a police report suspecting the tenant upstairs might be facing with some life threatening problem. So, John and a colleague was dispatched to the flat to investigate. The old lady known as Aunt Wong told John that she saw bloodlike liquid substance seeped through her ceiling and formed a bloody patch. She went upstairs and knocked on the door but there was no answer. Instead, she could smell very strong foul smell similar to those of dead animal. Hence as a good citizen, Aunt Wong alerted the police.

After hearing Aunt Wong’s story, John and company went to the flat unit to investigate. As there was no one answering the door, both of the police officers forced into the flat and found a man hung himself at the ceiling fan. And, there was a pool of black liquid suspected of dried blood below the dead man. Coincidentally speaking, the spot of black liquid was the exact spot where Aunt Wong found the strange mark on her ceiling.

This incident is pretty hard to explain scientifically because the floor between two floors are made of concrete. By no means that a small pool of liquid can penetrate through the solid concrete slab. Other than spiritual reasons, there is no way to explain such an incident.

Towards the end of 90’s, a mentally retarded lad was reported missing in Tsim Sha Tsui area (尖沙咀). So, policemen on petrol were alerted to look out for the described lad. It was a coincident that John and Lee were patrolling the area. Lee suddenly told John he got a sudden urge to look into an abandoned building at the corner of the street as he thought he heard a voice telling him to go to the rooftop.

As soon as both of the cops reached rooftop, there they both saw the body of a lad hung by a cooling tower. Very interestingly speaking, the face of the dead lad was looking at the cops as if saying: “I am waiting for you guys…”

Another notorious murder case also happened somewhere towards the end of 90’s in Tsim Sha Tsui. This was the case of Hello Kitty murder where the head of a woman was found tugged in Hello Kitty doll in a now demolished flat. One of the suspects told police officers that she couldn’t bear with the disturbances from the murdered victim, and as her last resort; she came to the police to surrender herself.

So, you can see that even the dead can make themselves known of their whereabouts. Maybe it is true that crime doesn’t pay, or it is merely a coincidence. What say you?

Luck Boosting With Joss Papers (金纸过运法)

There are many ways to boost a person’s luck with Taoist rituals. For example: the 7-star-lamps ritual (七星灯), life foundation (生基), 12-palaces-luck-boosting (十二宫补运), flower bath and many more ways that exceed our imaginations. Many of those luck boosting rituals are meant to be done by professionals only because of the complexity involved.

The best method of all to me, is the 12-palaces ritual which I have done for many people to bring up their luck on temporary basis. In this method, joss papers are burnt in so-called palaces which represent 12 basic necessities of our human life: food, companionships, career, clothing, life span, karmic debtors, luck, health, money, lodging, properties and ancestral blessings.

Having said so, it is tedious and time consuming to carry out this 12-palaces ritual as one ritual would take about 2 hours to complete and unless necessary, I would not do it for others. However, there is another simpler joss paper ritual that anyone can do to boost one’s luck momentarily. Of course, as the name implies; proper type of joss paper must be used. The preferred is the ‘gold ingot paper’ (金纸) which can be purchased in most shops selling Taoist praying materials in Asia.

The gold paper for short is normally burnt as offerings to gods, goddesses and spirits of higher order. It would be used in conjunction with the ‘silver paper’ when offerings are made to one’s ancestors. You can do this simple ritual: if you feel that your house altar looks gloomy, then you may just burn a few pieces of this ‘gold paper’ around the altar and you would suddenly feel the place has somehow became brighter. But just a word of advice, please don’t burn gold paper too often in the house or spirits may come into your house and create problems.

I have a businessman friend who tried the joss paper burning ritual twice a month in front of his shop and his business improved initially. So he thought to burn more to attract more luck. What he thought was wrong as this friend of mine was then possessed by a lady ghost and I had to remove the spirit before it can do more harm.

In that matter, we can also burn joss papers dedicated to ourselves. However, this ritual should only be done by the person for that person alone. If this joss paper ritual is done by a second person to another person, undesirable things may occur because only the dead deserved to accept joss papers. So beware.

If you want to boost your luck temporary, then it is best to perform the ritual in front of your ancestral tablets or in front of any higher Taoist deities. First thing to do is to get some quantity of joss papers and fold them into the shape of gold ingot. Then you may write a letter to your ancestors or the deities expressing your wish to ‘deposit’ some gold in your ‘soul palace’ (元神宫) which to be collected by your debtors, or any spirits which can help you as repayments; or merely as your underworld ‘fixed deposits’.

Please also remember to prepare 3 small cups of tea and 3 small cups of rice wine as offerings to the spirits. These tea and rice wine are poured encircling the burning ‘gold ingots’ to signify that the money belonged to you and no one else.

It normally takes a few days to see the effect. My friends who had tried it claimed to possess a brighter aura than before the ritual. Of course, I still have to throw out a reminder: the effects vary according to individual. And, no one can change his/her major fate for sure.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sighting In ICU (急诊室所见)

Buddhist believe that if a person is not a believer of Buddhism and that he/she does not engage in the correct dharma, then when this person dies; he/she shall not be able to be fetched by Buddha and bodhisattvas to the pure land. Instead, the person’s ancestors will come to fetch this person’s soul instead. Of course, life after death matters remain a research interest in the West as well. Again, there are many theories and real encounters by those who have managed to return to tell their side of the story. Below is just one from Aunt Helen:

About two years ago, my distant relative Aunt Helen was admitted to a private hospital in Ipoh due to heart attack. After spending some time in the operating theatre, her condition stabilized and she was put in the intensive care unit (ICU) for a week for round-the-clock observations. And luckily Aunt Helen was able to live to tell her experience while she was in the ICU.

After being escorted out from the operating theatre, Aunt Helen was placed in a ICU together with another 4 patients around her. Naturally, all of them were almost in very critical conditions. Aunt Helen’s sickbed was near the ICU entrance while another old lady was beside her and other two sickbeds were facing these two. Right after Aunt Helen’s condition has stabilized, I was allowed by the doctor in-charge to visit her.

When Aunt Helen saw me, she grabbed hold of my wrists and begged me to bring her home because she said that she started to see many ‘white people’ at night stood by her sickbed staring at her. As described by Aunt Helen, she couldn’t recognize who those people were because all of their face were blurred. Except that she could tell if the figure was a child, a man or a woman. All of them would assemble quietly starting midnight at the end of her sickbed. At first, a few white figures just stood by at the further end and gradually the number increased by many folds until Aunt was surrounded by those white folks. All of them just stood by quietly looking at Aunt Helen which made her very uncomfortable.

Then the night before I visited Aunt Helen, she saw those ‘white people’ started to gather around the sickbed beside her where the old lady was lying in. Strangely, there were no white figure by Aunt Helen’s sickbed. Then one of those white figures protruded its hands to grab the old lady’s hands. After some tries, a white mist raised from the old lady’s body and went into the crowd of mysterious white folks. A moment later, all of the white folks started to disperse and all of them were gone in a jiffy.

At this time, a nurse on duty came in to check on the old lady’s condition and she alerted the doc on duty as well. After a round of first aids, Aunt Helen saw the nurse pulled up the blanket to cover the old lady’s face. A moment later, some male nurses came and lifted the old lady into a stretcher and carried her away. When Aunt Helen asked the nurse on duty the next morning, the nurse just shook her head.

Perhaps Aunt Helen was afraid that the group of white figures would come to her again that night, she adamantly wanted to leave the ICU before the end of the day. Of course no one would allow her to do so in her dire health condition. So as to sooth Aunt Helen, I went to a Taoist temple downtown to beg for a ‘fu’ (talisman) and bring it to Aunt Helen and asked her to hide under her pillow.

Luckily, the group of white folks never returned to haunt Aunt Helen and she was discharged from ICU a week later. After spending another 3 weeks in normal sick wad, Aunt Helen was subsequently discharged from the hospital.

Although I am aware that a hospital can be quite a haunted place, but what were those white figures visiting the dying at night? They didn’t sound like those wandering spirits of the deceased as they seemed to have come with a motive: to get the soul of the dead. Maybe there are the ancestors of the dying; or the messengers from hell?

A Good Luck Guide (幸运指南)

A few years ago, I had afternoon tea with a few businessmen from Hong Kong. And all of those present were successful business folks except me. So, I asked about their advices concerning how to become lucky other than hardworking.

Uncle Chan said: “I make sure that there is one clothing I wear is not new or even torn. I would even put a hole in my underwear and wear it throughout the year and, I asked my children and wife to do the same. We are blessed up till these days.”

Uncle Lee said: “I would try to break an old item in my house every year and created a small loss. By doing so, I had in fact avoided many losses or in worse cases; I had cut my losses to the minimum.”

Aunty Fiona said: “I would celebrate my birthday every year when my business was not doing so good. Since I am having good luck on a row for a few years now, I would not celebrate my 60th birthday this year and the next.”

And the list can just go on and on. But what is the essence of what Uncle Chan, Uncle Lee and Aunty Fiona had said?

Well, everything can simply be summed up to: “You cannot have a perfect life.”

This is in accordance to I Ching too: When an affair has developed to its fullest, it will take a downturn and start from the bottom. The I Ching hexagram ‘splitting apart’ (山地剥) would be followed by ‘recovery’ (地雷复). So the Chinese would try to prevent anything from getting to its maximum and collapses. One of the way to prevent devastating failure to one’s luck is to make sure that his/her luck would never reach the maximum allowable limit.

In old days, there was an old Taoist sect known as the ‘Torn Shirt Sect’ (破衣教) where all of the followers must wear torn clothing throughout their lives. Such act was to prevent the practitioners from feeling contented by their accomplishments and hence attracted bad luck instead. Other types of Taoist Sects may require their disciples to swear on having a shorter life span and no offspring for the rest of the life. All of the above only meant to ‘force’ down the followers’ luck after they had learnt Taoist magic that was supposed to boost their luck. This is actually an effort to balance the law of nature.

There are just too many examples nowadays when people are having good foods, excellent houses, cars, partners, clever children and etc. and they are not happy as what entailed their wealth are their poor health, cash flow problems and a series of mishaps. A very good example was my former department manager after being promoted to the height of his career, he suddenly suffered from double kidney failures and he had to give up everything he had fought for.

I tried those advises from the rich Hong Kong rich ones and it worked for me at least that I do not have too much problems in my life to date. Of course, I cannot guarantee the method would work for you too. But, if you think you are having bad luck for many years; why not just give it a try? Of course, if you are amongst the top few multi-billionaires; then you are exempted as losing a few millions of dollars is only a chicken feed to those few lucky ones. But for ordinary folks like you and me, can you imagine that we lost one million dollars overnight? So, don’t complaint.

Of course, other methods to increase luck is to do charity works and donate blood. Whatever choices you choose: good luck or bad luck that is entirely up to you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Scents Of Ghosts (鬼魂的气味)

Do spirits have scents? Yes. They do.

For those folks who like to venture into tropical jungle in Malaysia, at times they would be able to smell very fragrant smell. The experienced ones would advise new comers just to keep quiet as some spirits might be lurking around. Local Malays believe that a pontianak (female vampire) carries the scent of ‘sundal malam’ or polyanthus lily (夜来香). However, not all spirits are fragrant. The spirit of a person died in fire could carry the scent of burnt meat while a drowned ghost would carry the smell of mud if it died in a river, and if a drowned ghost is from sea; then it will have the scent of salt water.

Normally speaking, an ordinary ghost would have the scent of smelly socks, salted fish and shrimp paste. A friend of mine, Aunt Fiona who migrated to Toronto, Canada and then returned to Hong Kong a few years later told me her side of the discovery.

Aunt Fiona bought a second hand house in Toronto and moved in to the house happily. A few weeks later, her family members were being disturbed by a series of ghostly knockings on their room doors at night. When they opened the room doors, there was no one to be found. Slowly Aunt Fiona started to experience hag-ride at night. She knew when the hag-ride will take place as she could smell the odour of smelly socks approached her and at the same time, Fiona could feel her bed rocked as if a boat was sailing in choppy sea. Strangely speaking, her hubby couldn’t feel anything at all. Then Fiona felt her body was bound by some invisible force which could last throughout the night.

Gradually, Aunt Fiona started to see things normally when she was alone. According to Fiona, at first she saw the ghostly apparition of an old Englishwoman shouting at her and asking her to get out of the house. Then Aunt Fiona saw the figure of an old Englishman sitting in the living room sofa. As per norm, the materialisation of the ghostly couple would be preceded by the scent of smelly socks. Aunt Fiona has kept her secret for a long time for she didn’t want to cause her household to panic.

One day, she took the opportunity to return to Hong Kong to visit her relatives. She told her relatives about her ordeal with these foreign ghostly couple, and her relatives introduced a Taoist master whom she later brought to Toronto to perform an exorcism ritual.

The master followed Aunt Fiona to her Toronto house and he invoked his patron god to possess him. After some chanting and headshaking activities, the now possessed master said: “I cannot exorcise these two ghosts out because they were the original owners of the house.”

Fiona panicked and said hysterically: “Well, they certainly can’t stay with me!”

The master shook his head again and after a while he spoken: “I can only chase them to stay in your garage for now, if they disturb you again; then I shall do something…”

Without waiting for Aunt Fiona’s consent, the master in a trance started to dance and wielding his peach wood sword and pointed the sword towards the garage. After a while the master told Fiona to set up a tablet inscribed with the words ‘nobody’ (无名氏) as a means for the ghostly couple to stay put. After the ritual, Fiona paid the master a hefty sum including a return ticket to Hong Kong.

Aunt Fiona did enjoy about two weeks’ peace of mind until one day, she started to smell the odour of stinky socks again. She knew the ghostly couple had broken loose again. This time Aunt Fiona decided not to bother about the ghosts and went on with her daily life. Her nightmare was officially over when her hubby had to return to Hong Kong to take care of his new business. Aunt Fiona’s house was then sold to another Hong Kong migrant.

One year later, the new owner returned to Hong Kong for some business; he met Aunt Fiona. They chatted casually for a while and the new owner suddenly said: “I could swear there was a dead mouse or something like that in that house for I always smell the scent of rotten meat!”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Head On Collisions (撞到正)

Normally ghosts would avoid collide with human beings because normal human have stronger and denser aura compared to ghosts. When ghosts do collide with human kind, they would temporary be disintegrated or trapped inside human bodies for a very long time; or until the ghosts are released or upon the death of the human hosts. So, old folks believe that ghosts would normally travel along road sides or building sides. Hence, people are advised not to lean on walls after dark especially during the ghost month. Of course, the more powerful ghosts would not be afraid of human especially those people experiencing bad luck.

My friend Stephen likes to travel. Many years ago he visited Fraser Hill and he stayed in a guesthouse on the slope. After dinner and since the sky was still quite clear, Stephen decided to walk along the tarred road going downhill. He walked and walked for about an hour or so and the sky started to drizzle. So, Stephen decided that it was time for him to head back the cottage and settled for the evening.

Perhaps in the midway, Stephen heard sounds as if boots striking on the road. The more he listened to the sound, he was quite sure that at least a group of uniform unit personnel were marching down the road. Being himself as a scout during his school days, there is no mistake about those uniformed sounds were from some well trained and highly disciplined professions.

Since there is only one road up and down, Stephen had no way to avoid the ones who marched down the road. At the same time too, he was curious who would march during this odd hour. Then after taking a sharp turn, Stephen saw in front of him was a uniform unit in khaki uniform and leather boots marching head on towards him. He was curious as those marching folks looked like Japanese Imperial Army marching in files. No one can imagine that one would come across Imperial Army in 2000’s of the 21st century unless someone is making a movie figuratively speaking.

There was no escape for Stephen so he just stood dumbfounded in the middle of the road waiting for the strange troopers’ next course of action. As Stephen waited, the Imperial Army procession became clearer. And they ware what Stephen thought they were alright. There was no sign that the army procession would stop or any attempt on the marching folks to avoid Stephen, they just march on a head on collision course towards Stephen.

When Stephen was preparing for the worse, suddenly the whole battalion of army marched through terrifying Stephen with him staying put in the middle of the road. And in a jiffy, the procession passed through Stephen and gone from his view after the military folks took a corner turn.

As recalled by Stephen later, he was as if hit by a chilled breeze that had penetrated his physical body and he could feel that something went in from in front of his body and it exited from his back. At one point, Stephen started to wander if it was himself that was transparent, of the procession of the Imperial Army.

Of course, I personally think what Stephen bumped into was some imprint from the past which has no intelligence at all. Hence, those ghostly apparitions cannot interact with Stephen.

However, another pal of mine; James was not so lucky.

It was during the Chinese Ghost Month two years back, James returned home from his Friday night fiesta and apparently he really had a mug too many. Instead of walking on pedestrian paths, he walked or should I rather say that he staggered along the side of the building perhaps due to alcohol intoxication. As he was making his way along the building wall, suddenly bumped into someone who also moved alongside the building wall.

Just before James could say ‘excuse me’, the figure bumped into James. As recalled by James, the sensation of the collision was very odd. He felt the figure as if bumped straight into his body as if entering into a tight-fit shirt. He couldn’t recall if the thing has exited from his body after the collision. But since then, James felt that he is carrying another person inside him. At times James could hear a voice talking to him. For example, when James wanted to order chicken hamburger, the voice would say that he likes fish fillet instead.

A few months later, James’s inner voice suddenly said that it wanted to leave and the only way was to ask James to commit suicide. It can only leave James once he is dead. After the voice has pestered James for long enough, he finally sought help with my guru Rinpoche. Apparently, it was a ghost that had trapped inside James’s body which was subsequently being delivered to the other side. And, after the spirit was gone; James did not hear the voice again.