Tuesday, November 15, 2016
The Ghost Busters (捉鬼大队)
Taoists have many rituals meant to remove a ghost from a premise. Some of these rituals are seriously for the professionals; while others can be used as games by folks who want to seek thrills once upon a time when there is nothing good to do. Below is a very effective 5-men ghost busting ritual meant to put a ghost into a container so that it can be transferred to another place or for keeping as a ‘pet’ (provided that if you dare of course).
Traditionally, this 5-men game should be played by 5 persons after checking that their yearly animals (生肖) are not in conflict (对冲) with the ruling element of the day. However, if a player is already experienced; then he/she may do it alone. The other requirement is that all of the players must be brave for anyone who panicked may cause one of the members to be possessed by the ghost instead. And, if a master is not around; then undesirable incidents may happen. So, everyone is warned of this potential danger.
Basically, we would need 5 pieces of triangular flags of 5 colours indicating 5 directions: red, white, black, green and yellow. In the centre of these flags should be written the character ‘鬼’ or simply ‘ghost’; or ‘魔’ or ‘demon’ pending whatever spirit that the team was about to catch. Provided the type of spirit present in the place is known before hand of course.
Other than the flags, the persons who are to stand in four corners should hold a piece of incense stick in addition to the red, white, black and green flag. The person who stands in the centre would be given the most important task which is to put the spirit into a little coffin or any container. Now, this person in the centre would hold a piece of wood for binding the spirit instead of incense.
Once a location is selected, all of these 5 players should go to the place after night; normally after 9pm. As described earlier, four persons would guard the four corners while the centre person is the most important of all as he/she must make sure the spirit is correctly secured into the small coffin.
After everyone is in his/her own position, the spirit can be conjured into the boundary. The normal sequence is that the person who stands in the southern corner would start the call. He/she should raise the red flag and shout: “I am summoning the ghost from the south. Now turning to the west…” While saying the words, he/she should simultaneously turn to the west. The person who stands in the western corner must now raises his/her white flag and repeat the slogan: “I am summoning the ghost from the west. Now turning to the north…” While saying the words, this person in the western corner must turn facing the person in the northern corner. As such, the person in the northern corner repeated the slogan and looked at the person in the eastern corner. And, finally it is the person in the centre who must play his/her role.
This person in the centre must take his/her time to feel the presence of this spirit supposedly trapped within the boundary. Once he/she feels the spirit, then this person must first storm his/her left foot while holding the wood towards the spirit while shouting: “The spirit is bound onto the wood.” Immediately, this person must quickly put the wood into the small coffin and closes its cover.
Now, this spirit can be brought to any place for further ‘processing’. Gamblers would ask for lucky numbers or this spirit simply being incorporated into the sorcerer’s 5 legionnaire army to enhance his/her spiritual power.
However, it this spirit is to be released during anytime, then one of the player must go into a forest far away from human habitat. He/she must put the coffin on the ground and opened its cover. Then this person must plug a few pieces of wild grass and sweeps the coffin thrice away from his/her body. After the final ritual, this person must leave without looking back. This final point is of utmost importance or else this spirit will follow this person back.
I have used this 5-men ritual to help a friend who took over an old car repair shop which was haunted by the restless spirit of a foreman. This foreman was believed to have died after being crushed by a truck while it was being worked at some time ago. One of the ‘ghost buster’ was suddenly possessed by the spirit of this foreman perhaps he was frightened. Luckily, later the possessed person was able to be brought into control; and the foreman’s ghost was caught into a little coffin which I handled to my pal for further action.