Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dealing With House Ghosts (家鬼)

Aunty Lee from Singapore dropped by my place and told me that her son just bought a second-hand flat but she suspected that the flat is haunted by the ghost of the previous owner. Because one evening after dinner, while she was washing dishes; Aunt Lee thought she heard a whisper beside her ear asking she to burn some joss paper. Since the request was a fairly simple one, Aunt Lee complied and she bought some incense and joss papers the next morning while doing her marketing. Later in the evening, Aunt Lee burnt those items as asked by the voice.

A few days later, Aunt Lee dreamed of a relatively plum middle aged man came to her and asking for more offerings and a place for him to sit. Again, Aunt Lee thought it was just a small request. So, she filled some rice grains in a can and tugged in three pieces of incense sticks and then she placed the can somewhere near the main entrance of the flat. About a week later, Aunt Lee started to see white figures often passes through beside her eye sights.

One morning, while Aunt Lee was sweeping the floor in front of her flat, her neighbour quietly pulled her aside and asked: “Did you find any problem with your flat?”

Feeling strange, Aunt Lee asked her neighbour but the neighbour refused to reveal. After some persuasions, Aunt Lee’s neighbour finally said: “Didn’t you know? The previous owner of this flat committed suicide by gas inhalation?”

Aunt Lee further asked her neighbour to describe the owner. The neighbour said: “The guy lived alone, he was fat and about 40 years old.”

At this point, Aunt Lee knew that she has seen the ghost of the previous owner. The question now remains that what can she do as her son just bought the flat, and it would be quite a while for them to sell the flat? So, once Aunt Lee came to Penang, she immediately called upon me.

Well, there are indeed two options Aunt Lee can do:

1.       Keep the house ghost since it seemed to cause no harm. If this option is chosen, then Aunt Lee just need to set up an earth god altar or simply an incense burner with some food offerings. This is the same as keeping a ghost or a Kumanthong. In this case, the house ghost may bring some fortune to Aunt Lee.

2.       Aunt Lee can also opt to send this spirit away by buying 5 sets of praying materials, 5 colour beans, a small boat and a road ticket (路票). When the incense is burnt halfway, Aunt Lee can start to ask the ghost to leave. At the end of the ritual, she can throw all of the materials in a designated place. If she wants more oomph, then she can go to a local Taoist temple to ‘borrow’ their 5 legionnaire army for a while. One important to remember though, the worship must be done outside of the house or more ghosts will come into the house.

I am not sure what option Aunt Lee have chosen. Both options above would be fine in her case. However, not all cases should be treated the same as we shall see later. In Aunt Lee’s case, since the ghost meant no harm and since it has expressed its requests; this ghost shall not create any more trouble.

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