The Ghost Wearing Clothes Falls into a Trap

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》:

廬州府舒城縣鄉民陳姓者妻,忽為一女鬼所憑,或扼其喉,或縛其頸,旁人不能見,婦甚苦之。時將手抓領內,多出麻草繩索。夫授以桃枝一束,曰:「來即擊之。」鬼怒,鬧更甚。夫無可奈何,乃入城求葉道士,贈以二十金,延之家中,設壇作法。布八卦陣於四方,中置小瓶;以五色紙剪成女衣十數件,置瓶側。道士披髮持咒。漏三下,婦人曰:「鬼來矣,手持豬肉。」夫以桃枝迎擊之,果空中墜肉數塊。道士告婦人曰:「如彼肯穿我紙衣,便好拿矣。」少頃,鬼果取衣。婦故意喝曰:「不許竊衣。」鬼笑曰:「這樣華服,理該我著。」乃盡服之。衣化為網,重重包裹,始寬後緊,遂不能出其陣中。道士書符作咒,以法水一杯當頭打去,水潑而杯不破。鬼在東,杯擊之於東;鬼在西,杯擊之於西。杯碎,而鬼頭亦裂矣。隨即擒納瓶內,封以法印五色紙,埋桃樹下。復以二符入絳香末,搓為二團,付婦人曰:「此鬼亦有丈夫,半月內必來復仇,以此擊之,可無患矣。」越數日,果有男鬼猙獰而來。婦如其法,鬼乃逃去。

🎨 《黃山圖(之十二)》局部 , 石濤

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