The magistrate of Pingyang, a man by the name of Zhu Shuo, was renowned for the extremely cruel way he meted out punishments. Indeed, the cangues and cudgels produced in the territories under his jurisdiction were particularly thick and heavy.
In all cases involving women, Magistrate Zhu would be sure to give a moralizing lecture on adultery. His punishment of prostitutes involved stripping them and repeatedly ramming cudgels up their vaginas, ensuring that they remained swollen for several months. The magistrate would then declare, "Let's see her take a client now!" and promptly order that clients' faces be smeared with blood from the prostitutes' buttocks.
If the prostitutes were beautiful he would be even more brutal, saying, "If all beautiful women are made to be plain, then our society will be rid of the scourge of prostitution!" He would then order the prostitutes' heads shaved and their nostrils slashed.
He often bragged of this to his colleagues: "I am totally impervious to sexual desire. How would I be able to mete out such punishments if I didn't have a heart of stone?"
When Zhu had completed his term in Pingyang he was reassigned to Shandong. During the shift, he and his family stayed in a guesthouse in Chiping County. The top floor of the guesthouse was firmly sealed and when Zhu asked the innkeeper why, he was told, "There are ghosts up there so the floor has been kept locked for many years."
Zhu replied in his typically obstinate manner, "What possible reason do we have to be scared? When those specters hear of my reputation, I guarantee they'll beat a hasty retreat."
Despite his wife's desperate entreaties he rented the upper floor, put his family in one room, and, armed with a sword, kept watch by candlelight in another.
At the third drum there was a knock at his door and a white-haired