The Ghost’s Purchase

Xu, the household registration secretary of Shanyin County, fell ill and in a daze saw his deceased brother come to him and say, “I’ve bought an official vacancy for you in the underworld. After you die, you’ll still be the secretary in the underworld, so there’s nothing to worry about.” Shortly after, another deceased local constable named Zhu came and said, “You don’t have to die, but you have to give me a large sum of money. 

Maidservant Enters a Hole

Zhang, a gentleman from Hangzhou, said: When my father, Mr. Xingzi(星子先生), served as the educational commissioner in Jiangxi, there was a maidservant who was originally dull but suddenly became clever, surprising the family.

One day, this maid closed the door to take a bath and didn’t come out for a long time. Calls to her went unanswered. Peeking inside, no one was there. Breaking in, they found the bathwater untouched. All the windows were tightly shut, and everything inside was normal, without a speck of dust disturbed. 

The Ghost at the Government Office in Suqian


The official residence of Yao Tingdong(姚廷棟), the governor of Huai-Xu Dao(淮徐道), was located in Suqian(宿遷). He celebrated his father’s birthday and invited a group of pear garden disciples to perform a play in the hall. The wall next to the hall was very high, and thousands of people could be seen outside the wall, all with wide-open eyes watching the performance. Initially, he thought they were subordinates such as soap slaves and officials, scolding them, but they still did not leave. 

The Unjust Case in Changle

《華山圖》冊 王履

In Changle County(長樂縣), Fujian Province, there was a woman surnamed Li. At the age of twenty-five, she gave birth to a son. Unfortunately, six months after the birth, her husband passed away. She was determined to raise the orphaned child. In the Li household, there was only a maidservant and an elderly servant. Apart from them, even close relatives rarely visited. The people in the village and surrounding areas who knew her held great respect for her. 

Elder Brother Ding

《柳蔭醉歸》南宋 佚名

During the Kangxi era, in the countryside near Yangzhou(揚州), there was a man named Yu Er(俞二) who made a living as a farmer. One day, Yu Er went into the city to collect the payment for the wheat he had sold. The owner of the grain store insisted on treating him to some drinks. By the time Yu Er was on his way back, it was already dark. As he reached Hongqiao(紅橋), a dozen or so small figures appeared and approached him, pulling and tugging at him. 

Ghosts Stealing Steamed Buns

《龜》清 華喦

Ge Wenlin(葛文林) said: In the area around Dongting Mountain(洞庭山), there are many starving ghosts who sneak into people’s homes to steal food. One day, in his house, they steamed a basket of buns. Just as they were done, upon lifting the lid, they saw the buns making a ‘chirping’ sound while gradually shrinking. What was originally the size of a bowl mouth quickly shrank to the size of a small walnut. 

Yu Yunshi

《梧竹溪堂圖》 宋 夏圭

When Jintan(金壇) Yu Yunshi(于雲石) was working in the Hanlin Academy(翰林), he had to bring his father to the capital for support.

Mr. Yu traveled alone to the capital. One day, halfway there, it was getting late, and there was no one around. After searching for a while, he finally found an inn and went in to stay for the night. However, the innkeeper said the rooms were all full and couldn’t accommodate him, asking him to find another place. 

Nine Husbands’ Grave

《海棠蛺蝶圖頁》 宋

Outside the southern gate of Jurong County(句容), there lies a grave known as the Nine Husbands’ Grave. Legend has it that there was a woman, exceedingly beautiful. After her husband passed away, leaving behind a son, their household became very wealthy. So, she remarried and bore another son. The second husband also passed away and was buried beside the first husband. Later, she married a third time, yet this husband, like the others before him, met the same fate. 

The Northern Gate Cargo

《漢宮乞巧圖》李嵩 宋

Two men from Shaoxing(紹興), Wang and Xu, fled to Henan in the late Ming Dynasty to escape the chaos caused by Li Zicheng(李自成) and Zhang Xianzhong(張獻忠). Everywhere they passed, they saw corpses strewn across the fields. One night, Wang and Xu encountered two soldiers under Li Zicheng’s command. Realizing they had no way out, they crawled into a heap of corpses within the city. At midnight, they suddenly saw bright lights, and a procession descended from the city tower. 

The Ghost Pagoda

《搜山圖》蘇漢臣 南宋

In Hangzhou, there was an elderly man surnamed Qiu who was a cloth merchant. One day, Qiu went to collect debts and returned late. The inn was fully occupied, and ahead lay desolate areas with no place to stay. Qiu discussed with the innkeeper, who said, ‘Old friend, I wonder if you’re brave enough? I have a small building behind the back wall, but it’s been uninhabited for a long time. 

The Fox Immortal Hangs Itself

《薇亭小憩圖》趙大亨 宋

In the west of the Zhang family house on Jingling’s Judicial Street(金陵評事街), there were three study rooms rumored to house a hanging ghost. No one dared to live there; it remained securely locked. One day, a young scholar, dressed in fine attire, arrived seeking lodging at the Zhang household. The Zhang family, citing the lack of available rooms, refused him. The scholar, angered, said, ‘If you won’t lend me a room, I’ll stay on my own. 

Fox Demon in the Belly

《幽竹枯槎圖》卷 王庭筠

Li Yi(李鷁), the son of Minister Li Hefeng(李鶴峰), styled as Yishan(醫山), passed the imperial examination in the 26th year of Qianlong’s reign and was selected to join the Hanlin Academy(翰林). He excelled in poetry and literature, and had a fondness for the Cheng-Zhu school of Neo-Confucianism(宋儒理學).

One day, while Li Yi was studying under the lamp, two exceedingly beautiful women suddenly appeared to tempt him, but he paid them no attention.