Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Skull 2: Conversation (骷髅2:谈天)

"Skull, skull what can you tell me?"

Poking a skull for answers is a very ancient game when there were not so many entertainments around. I am not sure when this game started but a record from Song Dynasty (宋朝) mentioned something similar:

Poke the eye sockets of a skull with weed and hang it up, and it shall talk.

Another similar game is to find a skull in wilderness and wash it with flowers and water. After it is cleaned thoroughly, then put it on a stool and light a piece of incense stick. Then poke this burning incense stick into the eye sockets of the skull and murmur some words such as: "Skull, skull tell me about yourself..."

Repeat the words until the incense stick is burnt half way. After that go to sleep and the spirit of the skull will appear in your dream and have a conversation with you.

If you do not intend to keep the skull, then either bury it or leave it where you found it and the game is over. Otherwise, you can keep this skull for further use as when you are more attuned to the spirit of the skull, it can be your informant on the forthcoming affairs.

For example, the skull will make noise or it will jump up and down if it is placed on a table if a very serious disaster is approaching. So said, not many decent people like to keep a skull in their homes not to mention that real skulls are extremely difficult to find these days... In some countries, the possession of human remains is illegal too.

When I was a kid and staying in a rubber plantation, human skulls could be easily found in bushes in between rubber trees then. Kids then especially in rural areas have nothing good to do and they can play with just about anything they can find.

Human skulls naturally became one of targeted games after dinner for kids. The adults too may sometimes make use of this little game to ask for lucky numbers and my late grandma won a few thousands of ringgit once after she asked for lucky numbers from a skull I picked from a bush behind her house.

I had played such games many times in my granny's rubber plantations and indeed, all sorts of spirits came into my dreams to talk and tell their stories. Some were just talking while others demanded food offerings, yet some asked me to help them find their survived relatives.

My skull game halted when my granny became an ardent Buddhist. She forbade me to play with skulls instead, granny coaxed me to accompany her to the temple when I was a little too free. So I gradually lost interest with human skulls. Furthermore, when old rubber trees were being chopped down for replanting; most human remains were exhumed and cremated. With the end of skull supply, I was forced to convert to do other stuffs else.