There are a variety of Chinese supernatural beings in Chinese folklore and fictional culture, originating from traditional folk culture, as well as contemporary literature.
A Partial List of Chinese Ghosts
* Ba Jiao Gui 芭蕉鬼 - “Banana-tree ghost”, a female ghost which dwells in a banana tree, often haunting under the tree by appearing at night and wailing sadly, sometimes carrying a baby. Folk tales in Singapore and Malaysia tell stories of greedy people asking for lottery numbers from this ghost by tying a red string around the tree trunk and sticking sharp needles into it, then tie the other end of the string to his/her bed. At night, the ghost will appear at the bed of the person asking for mercy and granting the person lottery numbers. After winning the lottery prize money, if the person did not fulfill the promise to set the ghost free, he/she will meet with a tragic death.
* Nu Gui 女鬼 - A female ghost often with long hair and clothed in a long white dress. In the legend, women who commit suicide in a red dress return as a ghost in a red dress to take revenge on the living. Some ancient folk tales tell stories of beautiful female ghosts appearing like a woman, seducing lecherous men and then killing them for their blood or for revenge.
* Er Gui 饿鬼 - A hungry ghost which has green or grey skin and a big belly, suffering from malnutrition and insatiable hunger. It haunts the streets and kitchen, searching for food offerings and sometimes decomposed food. * You Hun Ye Gui 游魂野鬼 - Wandering ghosts of the dead. Many of these roam the living world during the 7th month of Hungry Ghost Festival for a period of one month. Some which have lost their way and were unable to return to the underworld continue to be wandering spirits.
* Wu Tou Gui 无头鬼 - Ghost of the beheaded. In ancient China, people who committed heavy crimes were sentenced to decapitation, and these headless ghosts roam the execution site.
* Diao Si Gui 吊死鬼 - Ghost of people who were hanged to death in an execution or suicide, often appearing as being hanged by a rope and with a long tongue. * Yuan Gui 冤鬼 - Those who died due to injustice or wrong accusations become such a ghost and cannot go to the underworld because of their depressed and restless spirit. Their helpless cries can be heard at night, sometimes looking for people to help them clear their names or resolve their problems in the living world.
* Japanese Ghost Soldier 日本鬼兵 - Although this ghost is in the form of a Japanese soldier from World War II and often carrying a Japanese sword (katana), it is only common in Chinese ghost tales. While the Japaneses view their World War II soldiers as a symbol of honor to their country, the Chinese regard them as brutal murderers of countless commoners in China and South East Asia during World War II. The appearance of such a ghost gives a spooky feeling of loneliness, death, cruelty, torment, fear and ruthless killing.
* Zhi Ren 纸人 - This means “paper man”. These are dolls made of paper which are offered to the deceased as servants or maids. Usually they come in a pair of ‘male’ and ‘female’, known as Jin Tong Yu Nu 金童玉女 which mean “Golden Boy and Jade Girl”. While they are not spirits themselves and can’t move with their limbs, they can take the bidding of their deceased master to appear and scare people from out of nowhere.
* Gui Po 鬼婆 - Ghosts in the form of an old lady. They are particularly concerned with matters of young children or babies. While some can appear in hideous appearance and hostile, some others look friendly and help people who are in trouble.
* Gui Shu 鬼树 - This means “ghost tree”. These are haunted trees which do not move but can confuse the paths of travelers by appearing in random locations, causing them to lose their way in the forests. The spirits that dwell in them do not appear to people but the mere appearance of the tree itself gives a spooky shiver to those who look at them at night.
* Shui Gui 水鬼 - Ghost of the drowned or “water ghost”. It seeks to drown a person by pulling his/her leg and drag the victim into the water, so as to take over his/her place in the living world and return as a newborn. These ghosts dwell in rivers, lakes or seas and stay wherever they formerly drowned.
* Hei Bai Wu Chang 黑白无常 - Also known as Da Ye Bo and Er Ye Bo 大爷伯 二爷伯 which means “great grand-elder” and “second grand-elder”. These two were guards of the Chinese hell whose tasks were to bring the souls of the dead to hell for sentencing by the King of the Hell, Yan Luo Wang 阎罗王. They had tall hats and long vestments which covered their limbs, sometimes carrying a seal on the right hand and a stick with cloth pieces on the left hand. The elder one wears white while the second one wears black. Both have very long tongues.
* Niu Tou Ma Mian 牛头马面 - These two guards of the underworld have about the same role as the above mentioned Hei Bai Wu Chang, but they had the heads of a horse and a cow, carrying pitch-forks and chains in their hands to bind spirits or ghosts. Their names mean “cow head” and “horse face”.
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