Ghost of Dead Brother

The story takes place in Taiwan involving a family of three sons and two daughters. One of the son was ill throughout his childhood and soon died. On the third day of his death a stranger showed up at the house, a monk, claiming that he had seen the spirit of the dead son and that he was cold and hungry because he could not return to the house. The mother, who was very superstitious, immediately began to burn clothes, his belongings as well as food in the belief that burning things would transfer the objects to their respective owners in the afterlife. One of the sisters did not want the brother to be trapped outside the house as Chinese culture believes that within 7 days of one’s death, one’s spirit is allowed to roam the world before proceeding to the afterlife for eternity. Thus, she took off the “fu” posted on the doors, parchment with words on them that were supposed to keep spirits out. That very same night, both sisters woke up at the same time during the night to large footsteps and bumping of tables around the house and believed that it was the ghost of their brother. The following night, one of the sisters dreamt of her brother telling her that he was well now and that he was at peace in the afterlife.

There is a concept in Asian culture that claims that people who died are able to roam around on Earth, perhaps revisiting their loved ones or revisiting meaningful places before their final departure into the realm of the after life. After the “Fu” parchments were taken off, which had words on them written with brushes, which is an ancient Chinese form of writing and is seen today as a type of art. These parchments with brush strokes of words can be seen on doors and windows of apartments and houses during the ghost months and during times when people have died. They could also just be posted during random times just in case. Therefore, the source really believed that her brother had entered the house that night from hearing footsteps and knocking in the kitchen and living throughout the night.

To me, the story may have been unbelievable as the knocking and sounds during the night may have been other family members or just due to paranoia. However, the strange occurrence of a monk that was stranger showing up at the house with impossible knowledge of the death of a loved one seemed almost magical. His only purpose was to tell the family about what he dreamt and had no other motives, thus it seemed like he really did have a dream about the dead and was sharing it to the family out of the goodness of his heart.