Author Archives: Marcus Wu

Shitty Luck

Informant is my friend that has grown up in Taiwan and Canada, while also studying in LA.


狗屎運 (Gou Shi Yun) literally means: “dog poo luck”. In our culture upon stepping on any type of poop is considered good luck. We just happen to say dog poo because there are more stray dogs that poo on the streets. Stepping on the dog poop on the street is in itself an unlucky event, but doing so is supposed to bring some personal good luck. Walking around carrying the luck everywhere as you go around!

I personally think that this is a pretty funny superstition about stepping on dog poop. It is like feeling bad for yourself to be this unlucky to step on poop, but thinking of it bringing good luck to yourself is a good way to get around being sad for oneself.


Informant is my friend that has grown up in Taiwan and Canada, while also studying in LA.



Never, ever, ever put your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice. This is a physical resemblance to burning incense. We only burn incense when you go to a temple and usually during a funeral, so putting your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice is like praying for someone’s death. Not tot the point of like a threat or anything but like a sign of disrespect.

My mom has always told me as a child to never do this. I never knew the reason, but only knew it was bad. This has really given me some interesting insight into my own culture and why we do these things.

4th Floor

Informant is my friend that has grown up in Taiwan and Canada, while also studying in LA.



In almost every modern apartment in Taiwan, they will usually have the 4th floor, but older buildings will not have the 4th floor because the number 4 is a homophone to the word death. 死(si) death and 四(si) four sound similar so to prevent people from living on the “floor of death” they got rid of the 4th floor. It is especially the case in Hospitals. There are no floors or rooms with the number 4, no one would want to stay in a hospital room or floor that has anything that reminds them of death!

I think this is very similar to the American unlucky number 13, although this seems to be more prevalent in Taiwan. Although not seen as much in newer buildings and such, it is still seen in the older buildings. Just goes to show that with time, some superstitions disappear in many ways.

Shaky Legs

Informant is my friend that has grown up in Taiwan and Canada, while also studying in LA.


I personally hate looking at people who shake their legs, especially seeing you do it so much annoys me so much. My dad used to say that it is bad in our culture because it is a sign of boredom as well as a sign of losing wealth. In ancient China, if you were to shake your legs, it is like shaking away your wealth. If you kept shaking your legs, you would lose all your coins as they would slip out of your pockets. That is why I always tell people this story to help them get rid of their bad habits.

I have a really bad habit of shaking my legs, after hearing this story I felt that although it does not really happen in our age with the invention of wallets and deep pockets, it is still partially true and definitely a better thing not to shake one’s legs.

Second Trip to Dun Huang

The same informant told me another story of a vision that came to her during her second trip back to Dun Huang for more information research for her dissertation.

Informant: The second time I went back to Dun Huang 3 years later. I had to change my dissertation topic because I could not trace the whereabouts of the paintings I wanted to study. As an art historian, I can not write my dissertation base on reproductions I saw on books. So, I went and talked to professors in Du Huang to help change a dissertation topic.

Then I got a premonition: a woman on the bed, and a man next to the person on the bed kneeling. The man was looking at the person on the bed. I could not make out any faces. I would see this image constantly. It really creeped me out. To the point that when I went home, trying to study, the image would always pop out. I had no one to talk to about it either.

3 to 4 months later, it faded away though. After changing my dissertation topic, I went back to Dun Huang again 2 years later. That time I spent a week in japan for a week first, then went to China. Went to Japan to study about temples in Kyoto. Then I went to Dun Huang for research. That time I was so happy, had my preliminary draft for dissertation done. My purpose was to go back for more photographs and final research. Not all the 400+ caves were published, so I had to apply to go to undocumented caves.

My husband told me that we had to go our separate ways him being non-religious and me becoming super religious. Then one night he told me that he wanted a divorce. He had told me that there had been another woman while I was in China, someone else had been in my house and in my bed with my husband.

After talking to my best friend, she told me that the premonition was what happened a year later. Except for the woman on the bed was not me, but another woman. The image I saw was a vision.


After hearing this story, I felt that this was incredibly sad and extremely personal. I was against putting this story on this website, but she said it was in the past and that it is something that it was fine for me to post this. This was an incredibly spooky story for me to listen too. It felt like it was going to be something like a memory or something, but it ended up being a very sad story with a terrible twist to the ending of the story. having the same vision haunt the informant for many months, only to finally understand the vision as a premonition for the event that was to come about in the future.