Thursday, April 16, 2015
Ghosts Eat Candles (鬼食烛)
If I would ask anyone a question:
“Why do we offer candles to spirits?”
Perhaps the answers are many and vary. For old Chinese however, the candles are for ghosts to consume! Not only candles, Chinese spooks also like incense and joss papers too. So if one burns joss papers in his/her house, then spirits would congregate there. What about other food stuffs that we offer to spirits? Well, people believe that foods are good while they are hot and steamy; but when they become cold, the spirits cannot eat them. An alternative source is the incense and candle lights.
So if you have the habit to burn candles during your prayer sessions and that the candle light suddenly turns blue or become elongated, then it is perhaps that a ghost is sucking its energy.
An old retired police know by his nickname Paul told me a story when he was posted to KL in early 70’s:
It was during of the weekends during the Chinese 7th lunar month or better known as ‘ghost month’, Paul and a colleague was patrolling Petaling Street. As they were walking and chatting along the street, suddenly Paul heard a lady shouting:
“Help! Someone has snatched my handbag!”
Paul immediately turned to the direction from where the sound came from and he saw a man was heading towards his direction with a lady’s handbag in his hand. So, Paul’s police instinct sets in and he immediately gave chase. Paul’s partner was a little slow to react but as Paul gave chase to the suspect, he too followed behind Paul.
After some chase, the suspect ran into an abandon building and Paul was close behind him. After Paul entered the building, the suspect was nowhere in sight and finally Paul nail down a toilet as there was some chewing sound coming out from within. So Paul shouted: “Come out! Police!”
After some rounds of charge, the toilet door remains shut still. Without hesitation, Paul kicked at the toilet door and it gave way with a bang. And… Paul saw a grey figure squatting beside toilet bowl eating a piece of white candle! He was stunned and when the grey figure saw Paul, it too passed the half eaten candle to Paul…
Paul was nearly passed out due to fright, but before Paul really fainted; someone tapped his shoulder. Paul turned his head and there he saw his partner panting at his back and said:
“I don’t know why you suddenly ran away madly down in the street… I had to follow you and …”
Before his partner officer could finish his sentence, Paul asked:
“Didn’t you hear a lady shouting?”
“What lady? The only lady I could see was a lady manikin burnt as offering to the hungry ghosts!” His partner answered with surprised.
This is one secret that Paul and his partner kept until they retired. Now days Paul would stay away from ghost month street offerings for the fear that history would repeat.