What Does Your Soul Look Like?

He suddenly saw a crowd of ghosts standing in front of him.

In the first year of Yongming of the Southern Qi dynasty, Ma Daoyou, the historian of the Secretariat of the State, was sitting in the palace when he suddenly saw a crowd of ghosts standing in front of him. The people around him could not see them.

After a while, two ghosts entered his ears and pushed out his soul, which fell on his shoes.

Ma Daoyou pointed to his soul and showed it to the people around him: “Did you see that?” The people around him could not see it.

When they asked what his soul looked like, Daoyou said: “My soul looks like a frog.” He also said: “I must die, the ghosts are still in my ears.”

The people around him saw that his ears were swollen, and he died the next day.

Original text in 《述異記》:

南齊馬道猷為尚書令史,永明元年,坐省中,忽見鬼滿前,而傍人不見。須臾兩鬼入其耳中,推出魂,魂落屐上。指以示人:「諸君見否?」旁人並不見。問魂形狀雲何,道猷曰:「魂正似蝦蟆。」雲:「必無活理,鬼今猶在耳中。」視其耳皆腫,明日便死。

Painting by ancient artist 费丹旭, 《仿龚开终南鬼趣图》

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