Author Archives: Huibing Yang

Ghostly game

I asked a lot of my friends if they had any fantastic ghost stories to tell. They all racked their brain so hard, but hardly came up with one. At the time I felt helpless about my story collection, Shirley saved my life. She told me a spooky story happened in her high school in America.

“I am even trembling now every time I try to recollect the story. At that time, I was in my senior year in Massachusetts. My friends were bored of study in the school. So they decided to play some paranormal activities to entertain. The game should be conducted in an abandoned house with lights turned off. Four participates will stand in four corners of a squared room with eyes covered with black mask. As the game begins, the first person walks towards the second person. When he approaches the second person, he pats the person on his shoulder. Then the second person goes to the third person and does the same thing. After the third person approaches the last participate, the last person is supposed to walk to the original place where the first person stands, where no one is there after the first round starts. As anyone passes a empty corner, the participate should cough and continue to walk towards the next corner to pat the next person. The game goes on until no one coughs anymore. The wired thing of this game is who is the extra person shown in the game? My four friends were brave and curious about this game. Thus they follow the rules one by one and. However, the game was stopped when one of my friends, Nick, touched “someone” in the empty corner.

It happened a long ago that I couldn’t remember some details. That afternoon, something horrible all happened to four of them. The only thing I remember is Nick fell down and broke his legs bones after playing the game. And when he returned home after school, his dog in his family barked loudly at him. Since it is believed in Chinese culture that dog can see ghost, we all started to imagine what were following Tom as he returned home.”

I took a long pause to think and go over Shirley’s story in my mind again. It made me scared actually. I then did some research of this frightening game and discovered that it was regarded as a taboo, because the extra “person” will emerge in the dark room for the most situation. What will you feel if you touch a “person” who doesn’t exist in the dark? My nerves tightened even I just think about rather than take part into the game.  Although many ghostly games like this four-corner one spread widely in traditional society, four-corner game haunted Shirley during her high school year the most, since it took place around her life. What’s more, she was actually sitting at the corner where Tom touched the fifth “person”.

Funeral traditions


This is a belief prevailing among small towns and villages throughout China. I heard this belief from my friend Sue, who finished her high school in Hangzhou City and went back to her hometown village in Huzhou several times a year to visit her grandparents and old relatives there. Sue’s village has a 100-year history. Villagers there believe there are ghosts existing in the world, and they have special understanding of ancestor ghost and have special rituals to hold funerals. This is what Sue told me:

“From what my father told me, every time an aged villager died, after his or her funeral, there was a tradition that offsprings of the dead had to participate into a race in his hometown. This tradition passed down from the generation my grandpa lived in.

The process of Chinese funerals has changed a lot in past years. In my father’s generation, the dead body would be put into the coffin and covered by his or her off springs’ quilts. Every son or daughter of the dead should provide one quilt at least. Then, friends and relatives who were holding the funeral came to pray and bow to the dead, for showing their respects to the dead before people buried the coffin.

After everybody bowed to the dead, offsprings would take quilts out of the coffin and bury the coffin respectively and solemnly. Then descendants of the dead would carry their own quilts and start to run while competing with each other. The first person who reached his home was regarded as the one who would be blessed most by his dead ancestor in the future, because they believed that they carried their dead ancestor home first. Good fortune would come to that family.”

Sue is from a town in Huzhou where is in the eastern part of China. I think this tradition not only dominates in Huzhou, but also in my father’s hometown, Zhuji. Although the ritual of the funeral varies a bit, the main belief is the same. The belief is that the spirit of the dead ancestor will never go away even his body is cremated. The ancestor’s spirit will keep watching, blessing, protecting and bringing good fortune to his offspring. After my grandfather passed away, every time the Tomb Sweeping Festival comes, my father will take the whole family go back to his hometown and visit my grandfather’s grave and pay respect to him. My father always murmurs in front of the grave to ask the spirit of my grandpa to take care of us.