A bizarre tale of a guest's encounter with a female corpse that comes to life in an inn, leading to a series of eerie events.
In Yangxin County, there was an old man from Caidian Village. His village was five or six miles away from the county town. The old man and his son ran a roadside inn for accommodating traveling merchants. Several cart drivers frequently transported goods and often stayed at the old man’s inn. One evening, four cart drivers arrived at the inn to seek lodging, but the guest rooms in the old man’s house were already full. The four of them couldn’t think of any other way, so they insisted that the innkeeper find a solution to accommodate them. After some thought, the old man came up with a place for them to stay, but he was worried that it wouldn’t meet the guests’ expectations. The guests said, “At this moment, all we need is a place to shelter from the wind and rain. We can’t be picky.” At that time, the old man’s daughter-in-law had just passed away, and her body was lying in the house. The old man’s son had gone out to buy wood for making a coffin and hadn’t returned yet. The old man thought that the room used as the mourning hall was very quiet, so he led the guests through the streets and alleys to that place.
Upon entering the room, they saw a dimly lit oil lamp on a wooden table. Behind the table was a curtain hanging over a mourning bed, with a paper sheet covering the deceased. In the inner room, there was a large communal bed. The four travelers had been on a long and tiring journey and were extremely exhausted. It didn’t take long for them to start snoring. Only one of the guests was in a half-awake state when suddenly he heard a “crackling” sound coming from the mourning bed. He quickly opened his eyes, and at that moment, the light in front of the mourning bed illuminated the surroundings. He saw that the female corpse had uncovered herself and sat up. After a while, she got off the bed and slowly walked into the inner room. The female corpse had a pale yellow complexion and a silk cloth tied around her forehead. She approached the sleeping guests and blew air on each of them one by one. The guest who was still awake was filled with fear, worried that the female corpse would blow on him. He secretly pulled the blanket over his head and held his breath, listening to the movements of the female corpse. Not long after, the female corpse indeed approached him, just as she had done with the others. The guest felt her presence and heard the sound of the paper sheet. He cautiously peeked out, only to see the female corpse lying motionless as before. Terrified, he dared not make a sound. He tried to nudge his fellow travelers with his foot, but they remained motionless. He pondered his options and realized that his best chance was to put on his clothes and escape. He sat up to get dressed, but the “crackling” sound started again. Frightened, he lay back down, covering his head with the blanket. He felt the female corpse approaching him once more, blowing on him several times before leaving. After a while, he heard the sound of movement from the mourning bed, indicating that the female corpse had lain down again. Slowly, he extended his hand from under the blanket, found his pants, and hurriedly put them on. He ran out barefoot, and the female corpse sat up, seemingly intent on chasing him. However, by the time she reached the edge of the mourning bed, the guest had already opened the room door and fled. The female corpse pursued him, and he screamed as he ran, but no one in the village was awakened. He initially thought about knocking on the innkeeper’s door, but he was afraid that the female corpse might catch up with him. So, he sprinted desperately towards the road leading to the county town. When he reached the eastern outskirts of the city, he saw a temple and heard the sound of wooden fish being struck inside. He hurriedly knocked on the temple door. The monks inside were surprised by his unusual behavior and hesitated to let him in. Just then, the female corpse arrived, only about a foot away from him. The guest became even more terrified and impatient. Outside the temple gate was a white poplar tree with a trunk about four to five feet thick. The guest hid behind the tree, and when the female corpse lunged to the right, he moved to the left, and vice versa. The female corpse grew increasingly frustrated, but both sides gradually grew tired. The female corpse eventually stopped and stood still. The guest was sweating profusely, out of breath, and still hiding behind the tree. Suddenly, the female corpse lunged forward, extending her arms and reaching around the tree trunk from both sides to grab him. The guest was so frightened that he fell to the ground. Unable to catch him, the female corpse embraced the tree trunk and gradually stiffened.
The monks in the temple secretly listened for a long time until there was no sound. Then, they slowly came out. They saw the guest lying on the ground, and when they illuminated him with a lamp, he appeared to be dead, but there was still a slight warmth in his chest. So, the monk carried the guest into the temple, and after a night, the guest finally regained consciousness. The monk gave him some hot water to drink and asked about the reason for the incident. The guest recounted the whole story in detail. By this time, the morning bell had already rung, and in the dim dawn light, the monk went to inspect the poplar tree and indeed found a female corpse. The monk was greatly alarmed and reported it to the county magistrate. The magistrate personally came to examine the scene and ordered people to try to pull the female corpse’s hand from the tree. However, the hand was gripping the tree too tightly, and they couldn’t move it. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the four fingers of both of the female corpse’s hands were curled like hooks, with the nails deeply embedded in the tree trunk. The magistrate had several people exert their strength together to finally pull the female corpse down from the tree. They discovered that the holes in the tree where the female corpse’s fingers had been resembled holes made by a chisel. The magistrate sent his officers to the old man’s house to inquire about the situation. Chaos had erupted there due to the disappearance of the female corpse and the sudden death of the guest. After the officers explained the situation to the old man, he followed them to retrieve the female corpse and brought her back home. The guest, crying, said to the magistrate, “We four came together, and now only I am going back. How can I make the people in my hometown believe this story?” So, the magistrate wrote a certificate for him and gave him some things to take with him as he returned.