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Ghosts in Asia: To H(a)unt or Not to Haunt?

I asked Annie of FootTracker if she’d be interested in doing a guest blog. I noticed a pattern in some of her comments on my posts. After reading her post, “Proper” Way to Enter a Hotel Room, my suspicions were confirmed: We share an interest in ghosts and the paranormal. However, she appreciates a different cultural perspective of it. That’s what I asked if she’d be interested in guest blogging about. To my delight, she was!

Snuggling on the couch after work, holding a bowl of popcorn in my right hand, grabbing a pillow with my left hand, while enjoying shows like Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Destination Truth, and Celebrity Ghost Stories, has been my favorite weekly activities for some time now. The shows signify an era when people are able to watch the paranormal activities right in the comfort of their house without worries.  Furthermore, the shows also created some buzz for the haunted destinations that many businesses and hotels probably appreciated too.

But do we share the same passion and interest across the world? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Many scary movies from Japan have negative impressions about the supernatural. “Ju-on: The Grudge” perhaps is the best example of such movie: A house that looks so normal, just like any other location, has relations to many deaths and disappearances. Their legends, religion, and media, may have influenced the belief that having ghosts in their own house is unlucky, or rather creepy. Because paranormal activities and ghosts are often associated with unexplained death or car accidents, it is rumored to be part of the reason why government put on exclamation road signs at certain locations (talked about by a Japanese television show).

Awashima Shrine:

Possible Haunted Areas: 1. Exclamation Road Signs 2. Nice looking apartments with unusually low price in a big city like Tokyo and Osaka. 3. Shrines: Check out Awashima Shrine where they kept dolls sent in by people from all over Japan, with a particular one in their storage room that keeps growing hair!

2. Not all government welcome medias buzzing about ghosts and paranormal activities. In 2007 “Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait,” a movie about the old Vietnamese legend of a cursed portrait of a girl named Muoi (found in 1896), was the first of its kind in Vietnam. The making of the movie was rather tedious since the movie company from Korea did not know that Vietnam had laws against filming and showing scary movies in the country. It took 6 months of negotiation with the government, countless revisions of the script, scenes included to emphasize Vietnamese culture & history, and local’s enthusiasm about their famous legend that finally the government signed the agreement. The process of filming was not exactly an easy sail as well. Fearing the cursed spirit of Muoi would be awakened by the filming crew, locals spread lots of papers with spells on it all over the streets, and burned loads of paper money to please the spirit of Muoi. Police stopped the team a couple times too due to complaints from people.

Muoi Trailer 1 (Korean/Vietnamese):

Muoi Trailer 2 (Korean/Vietnamese):

Possible Haunted Areas: 1. Areas that have association with historical legends. 2. Past battle fields.

3. In Taiwan, people’s fear of owning a possible haunted/tainted house is like avoiding plagues at all costs. There has been several reports on suicide cases where when a body is found on the balcony of an apartment, the owners would refuse to let the police carry the body through the inside of their apartment because of the fear that the house would be “tainted” (Police transported the body by using a scaffold in the end ). Already well known haunted houses are usually deserted because no one would buy or rent the place no matter how low the price is. Some are transformed into churches, cafes, schools, and other kind of entertainment/public locations.

 Possible Haunted Areas: 1. Older schools are notorious for haunting because they use to be built on top of grave yards. 2. Mountains: Locals believe that there are spirits wondering in the mountains trying to lure people away from the path. Locals often follow some superstitions to ensure a safe trip when hiking.


Image from Nova Development US Art Explosion 500,000.


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5 thoughts on “Ghosts in Asia: To H(a)unt or Not to Haunt?

  1. What a brilliant additon to haunted places.It’s ages since I wanted to join a session with a medium. One day, I will. What fascinated me deeply is voodoo. Has a riveting history and traditions.

  2. @Inka, Japan also have a similar curse thing to voodoo dolls ^^ (They nail a straw doll onto a tree around certain sacred shrines at night)

    @Debbie, many of the Asians around me are pretty superstitious. I choose to obey some so I can sleep better XD (can tell you all about my dorm experience)

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