Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei

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Ghosts Hate Poverty

In Yangzhou, a man by the name of Luo Liangfeng boasted that he could actually see ghosts, and insisted that every evening at dusk they wandered the streets in huge numbers. He said that ghosts particularly liked to live around wealthy families.

The ghosts were generally a few feet shorter than an average adult, and instead of having distinct facial features their heads were simply puffs of a black smoky substance. Whether walking around or leaning up against walls, these creatures kept up an incessant chatter.

The places where these ghosts preferred to gather for their evening strolls were usually crowded with people. The warmth of human activity was a form of comfort and sustenance.

Yang Ziyun explained their habits in more detail: "Ghosts especially like to reside near the houses of the wealthy and powerful. They can pass straight through walls and windows and even straight through a human body. Nothing can stop them. If they encounter someone who can actually see them, then they concentrate their energies on bewitching this intruder in a ghostly revenge.

"Poorer families are very rarely troubled by ghosts, because ghosts don't want to live in such cold and miserable surroundings. In fact, there's an apt local saying to the effect that 'I'm so poor that even ghosts wouldn't want to come and live with me.'"

-115-

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Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei
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