Spirits of the Nine Emperor Gods
All he wanted was a vegetarian dinner from a temple in Alor Star, but got more than he bargained for
To my delight, the duo skews their conversation towards one of the lesser known myths related to the origin of this important Chinese celebration. Their version, dating back to the Han dynasty, tells of a Taoist magician Zhang Daoling who gained fame by using charms and talismans to alleviate the suffering of victims who sought his service. Zhang charged a standard fee of five pecks of rice for each person who was cured.
The magician’s remedy was so effective that he soon became very wealthy and powerful. Zhang’s influence grew so immense that he no longer bothered to pay taxes to the Emperor. At the same time, rumours began to circulate saying that the powerful magician, with his indepth knowledge of the dark arts, was the primary source of the epidemic plaguing the people. The rumour mongers alleged A spirit medium hitting himself with a club with iron spikes. that Zhang had purposely spread the terrible disease to make the people turn to him for remedy.
News soon reached the ears of the Emperor in the capital. Furious at the rumoured misdeed, he summoned Zhang to the palace with the intention of teaching him a lesson. Prior to the magician’s arrival, the Emperor hid nine brotherly scholar-musicians in the audience hall’s secret chamber and ordered them to play eerie music as soon as an agreedupon signal was given.
Everything went as planned and the Emperor put on a good act, imploring Zhang to help exorcise the spirits that were causing unrest in his palace. The guards and courtiers present at the scene could hardly contain their excitement as they were certain that the magician would fail and be severely humiliated in the process.
Realising that it was a trap, Zhang kept his nerve and calmly surveyed the hall. Then, he unfolded his magic fan which immediately revealed the position of the hidden musicians. The magician recited incantations and brought forth a pouch containing rice and salt before scattering the contents on the floor. Finally, Zhang wrote several enchanted spells on the mixture using his magic sword.
The music stopped as soon as the blade was lifted. Stunned by the chain of events, the Emperor had no choice but to grant the triumphant magician leave. When opened, the secret chamber was a gruesome scene of lifeless bodies and decapitated heads.
Worried that the spirits of the dead scholars would return to haunt him, the Emperor ordered the severed heads to be interred in a large, water-tight earthenware jar and thrown into the sea after the receptacle was sealed with talismanic paper charms to prevent the spirits inside from escaping.
Soon after the incident, the Emperor began having recurring nightmares where the headless apparitions of the nine scholars appeared in his bed chamber, asking to be canonised as the Nine Emperor Gods. The Emperor, eager to put an end to the terrible episode, acceded to their request.
Suddenly, without warning, a middle-aged man appears, resulting in the story’s abrupt end. It seems the man is the women’s mutual friend. As they begin to enthusiastically discuss their plans to partake in the
A spirit medium deep in trance with a long skewer pierced through his cheeks.