In Shucheng County(舒城縣), Luzhou Prefecture(廬州府), there was a villager named Chen(陳姓者). His wife was suddenly haunted by a female ghost who sometimes strangled her throat with hands and other times tied her neck with straw ropes. No one around her could see the haunting ghost. Tormented and in agony, she frequently clawed at her clothes, pulling out many straw ropes.
Chen gave his wife a bundle of peach tree branches, saying, ‘If the female ghost returns, use these to strike her!’ Unexpectedly, the female ghost became even more furious and troublesome. Having no other options, Chen went to the city seeking a Taoist named Ye(葉道士), offering him twenty taels of silver to come to his home.
Chen set up an altar at home, and Taoist Ye performed rituals. He arranged an Eight Trigrams formation(八卦陣) facing the four directions, with a small deer at the center of the altar. Around the vase were more than ten pieces of women’s clothing made from red, yellow, blue, white, and black paper. The Taoist chanted spells with disheveled hair.
Around midnight, Chen’s wife exclaimed, ‘The ghost is here, holding pork in its hand.’ Chen approached with the peach tree branch and struck, and indeed, several pieces of meat fell from the air.
At this moment, the Taoist advised Chen’s wife, ‘If we can make the female ghost wear the paper clothes I cut, it will be easier to capture her.’
After a while, the female ghost went to wear the five-colored paper clothes. Chen’s wife deliberately shouted, ‘Don’t steal clothes!’ The female ghost smiled and said, ‘Such beautiful clothes should rightfully be worn by me.’ Subsequently, the female ghost put on all the paper clothes, which instantly transformed into layers of a dense net, ensnaring her. Initially loose, it gradually tightened, trapping the ghost within the Eight Trigrams formation set by the Taoist.
Taoist Ye drew more symbols, chanted spells, and threw a cup of consecrated water towards the ghost’s head, yet the cup remained intact. If the ghost moved east, the cup struck east; if the ghost hid west, the cup hit west. As the cup shattered, the female ghost’s head split open. The Taoist swiftly captured the ghost, sealed it in a small bottle on the altar with five-colored paper seals and buried the bottle beneath a peach tree. The Taoist then made two small balls using ash from burnt symbols and powdered cinnabar, handing them to Chen’s wife, saying, ‘This ghost has a husband. Within half a month, he will seek revenge. When he comes, use these two balls to fend him off, and you’ll be safe.’
Sure enough, a ferocious male ghost appeared a few days later. Following the Taoist’s instructions, Chen’s wife acted accordingly, and the male ghost fled.
Original text in 《鬼著衣受網》 from 《子不語》:
🎨 《黃山圖（之十二）》局部 , 石濤