Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Request Of A Hung Ghost (吊死鬼的要求)

Talang is a small housing estate situated in Kuala Kangsar county. Behind this small housing estate is a Chinese cemetery. There is a big earth deity’s shrine situated at the entrance of the cemetery where all of the visitors of the cemetery would first pray in this shrine before proceeding to the cemetery area. Many years ago, a giant banyan tree grew on the right side of this shrine. No one knew for sure if the banyan tree was there first or the shrine was setup first.

What I know for sure, is that a lady hung herself on this banyan tree when I was still studying in standard one. It was a commotion in this small region and rumours had it that the lady committed suicide after she was jilted by her boyfriend. Soon, this tragic case was forgotten in time. My school mates and I used to play under this banyan tree after Friday classes and the place felt quite decent.

Just 50 yards away from this banyan tree was a small Taoist shrine which is taken care by a ‘tangki’ (spirit medium). This shrine has an annual festive to celebrate the birthday of a Taoist deity and this is when the shrine would be packed by visitors from around this area. During this festival, the medium would fall into trance and the believers would gather to ask for the deity’s advices. I too started to visit the shrine when I was 9 mainly for the free foods offered to the shrine visitors.

Everything went well until during one of the annual celebrations, the medium was possessed by an unknown sprit which later identified itself as the hung ghost which dwelled in the banyan tree. This turned out to be a big case in local Taoist circle and a few mediums were summoned to perform exorcism ritual in the hope to expel this hung ghost. These mediums brought with them sharp weapons such as swords, spiky batons, spears etc. to harm the ghost. But after a few rounds of physical torturing, the hung ghost still had no intention to leave the possessed medium. The crowd decided to stop the exorcism ritual since the said medium already covered with his own blood and his physical conditions were not looking too good. Looked like the lady hung ghost was far from being harmed.

The poor medium was sent to the hospital for treatment but he remained to be possessed by this hung ghost for days even after being discharged from the hospital. He could only moan and groan in pain. Finally, the news was brought to the attention of a local headman, Lee. For the first time, the hung ghost spoke through the tongue of the medium and it demanded that a small shrine be built under the banyan tree.

After some negotiations, the headman agreed and the hung ghost left the medium’s body. People thought the case was settled then.

A year later, the promised shrine for the hung ghost was not built perhaps due to lack of money. No one brought up the case anymore.

About 50 yards away from my house was a Singh family who had a few cattle. My pa used to buy fresh cow milks from the Singh every other morning. The Singh’s cows were normally tame and always stayed in their bullpen. Somehow, one of the cows suddenly went berserk and rammed into the house of the headman, Lee. After the cow had created much damage, it gently strolled out and return to its barn as if nothing had happened.

The news of the destructive cow spread like wildfire. Feared for his own safety, Lee decided to fork out some money and built a small shrine as requested by the hung ghost. Everything went well for a few more years until during one stormy night, this old banyan tree was struck by lightning and toppled. The newly built shrine was destroyed under the tree weight. The rubbles then caught fire and burnt to the ground. That was the end of the tree, shrine and the hung ghost as no news or new requests were heard ever since.

People said that the hung ghost had asked for something that it does not deserve and that invited the wrath of gods. Or perhaps there is a more scientific explanation to this matter?

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