Edict: Quell the Haunting Ghosts

Discover the fascinating story of Shi Maohua, a prefect in Qingzhou, who issued an imperial edict to quell vengeful spirits haunting a water pit, putting an end to their malevolence.

In the past, when Shi Maohua, the Prefect of Qingzhou, was still a scholar, there was a large water pit outside the city gates of Qingzhou that never dried up even when it didn’t rain. Yìdū County had once captured dozens of notorious thieves, all of whom were executed near the large water pit. Surprisingly, the lingering spirits of these thieves continued to haunt and harm the people, often pulling anyone passing by the pit into the water.

One day, a certain individual was attacked by these ghosts and found himself in grave danger. Suddenly, he heard the ghosts frantically fleeing in all directions and shouting, “Prefect Shi has arrived!” Shortly thereafter, Shi Maohua arrived at the water’s edge, and the individual recounted what he had witnessed. Shi Maohua then used lime to write a notice on the wall, which read:

“Announcement by Shi: If you have wicked intentions that incur the wrath of heaven, and in the past, you were punished with execution for your sinister schemes, it is time for you to repent for your past sins. Perhaps, by doing so, you can cleanse the bloodstains of your crimes from your withered bones and escape the depths of your current torment. However, even after enduring extreme punishment in your previous lives, you still gather and commit evil deeds in death. At times, you suddenly appear before people in groups, disheveled and frightening, while other times you deliberately linger without advancing, pounding your chests and stamping your feet, emitting terrifying screams. You have already blocked your ears with mud, yet you dare to display the audacity of wicked spirits in broad daylight, obstructing the paths of pedestrians! Beyond your three-foot graves, you are under human jurisdiction, but how can the vast universe and the heavens and earth tolerate your continued malevolence? I now warn you that from this day forth, you must each hide and refrain from evil deeds. As spirits, you must patiently await reincarnation; only then can the souls of your loved ones dream of returning to their hometowns. If you persist in harming others, you will surely regret your actions!”

Since that day, there were no more incidents of ghosts causing trouble in Qingzhou, and the water in the large pit finally dried up.

《谕鬼》

青州石尚书茂华为诸生时,郡门外有大渊,不雨亦不涸。邑中获大寇数十名,刑于渊上。鬼聚为祟,经过者辄被曳入。一日,有某甲正遭困厄,忽闻群鬼惶窜曰:“石尚书至矣!”未几,公至,甲以状告。公以垩灰题壁示云:“石某为禁约事:照得厥念无良,致婴雷霆之怒;所谋不轨,遂遭鈇钺之诛。只宜返罔两之心,争相忏悔;庶几洗髑髅之血,脱此沉沦。尔乃生已极刑,死犹聚恶。跳踉而至,披发成群;踯躅以前,搏膺作厉。黄泥塞耳,辄逞鬼子之凶;白昼为妖,几断行人之路!彼丘陵三尺外,管辖由人;岂乾坤两大中,凶顽任尔?谕后各宜潜踪,勿犹怙恶。无定河边之骨,静待轮回;金闺梦里之魂,还践乡土。如蹈前愆,必贻后悔!”自此鬼患遂绝,渊亦寻干。

Leave a Comment