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Columnistsz Tracey Huntley's Column

Posted on - Friday 14th of August 2009

Author: Tracey Huntley
“When Hell is full, the dead shall walk the earth”

Dawn of the Dead

Are you hungry for a good ghost story? Read on.

I think the main reason I chose China for the next in my series is initially because of a movie I saw. The movie is called ‘They Wait”. From watching that movie, I learned about an Asian tradition known as ‘Hungry Ghost Month’ or ‘Ghost Month’, in which the Hungry Ghost Festival takes place. Just as here in the states we have Halloween – the month of October in itself is a spooky month that is evident by driving down the street and observing all the spooky decorations in peeps’ yards… along with the occasional Christmas lights left up from the year before…

In China, Iron Lions adorn rooftops to ward away evil spirits along with the smell of incense and Hell Money burning in the air create a somewhat eerie setting; a celebration for the dead.

After I watched ‘They Wait’, I immediately wanted to learn more about the tradition. There is quite a bit of information to be gained, and I have found that different parts of Asia have slight variations, but the tradition and festival(s) stays fairly similar.

Traditions run deep in China and all of Asia. They are taken very seriously to this day.

Beyond the bamboo gardens, amazing mountain scenery, and the cute pandas, lay mysteries that run as deep as the ocean.

China’s fascination with changing times and advancements in technology is an intriguing contrast with their desire to practice folklore and ancient traditional ceremonies. First we will take a look at one of my favorite celebrations called ‘Hungry Ghost Month’ or ‘Ghost Month’ in which the Hungry Ghost Festival takes place in the seventh lunar month of the Chinese calendar. Many parts of Asia including China, celebrate the tradition called ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’.

Hungry Ghost Month

Possible Origin

First let us take a look at how the hungry ghosts may have come about. The origin of the hungry ghosts dates as far back as the Jin Dynasty (third century). There are many stories from that era as to how the hungry ghosts came to be. It seems that a lot of the stories from ancient times entail a greedy woman that does not want to share food with the less fortunate. The ultimate punishment was becoming a hungry ghost when she passed on.

As time progressed, what classified as a Hungry Ghost changed quite a bit. No longer are the gluttonous women of yesterday the only ones subject to becoming a hungry ghost. Buddhists and Taoists essentially believe the same thing when it comes to modern day hungry ghosts. It can include family members, ancestors, and some sources say it may include entire families that have been killed in a tragic way. Thus began the Hungry Ghost Festival. With Buddhism, it is believed that a ghost may linger in space until reincarnated. Sort of a hungry ghost in limbo. Also if a deceased person is disrespected, it may turn them into a Hungry Ghost. With Taoism, it may be that if a family died in a tragic way or simply was an unhappy family, they may become hungry ghosts.

It is believed that the spirit contains elements of the yin and yang. The Yin is the kui—the demon part, the Yang is the shen – or spirit part. If the shen is neglected it becomes a kui. You can think of the Shen as sort of the family’s bodygaurd and bringers of good fortune. It watches over the family if properly worshipped.

The festival or ceremony is to pay tribute to their deceased family members. They also include any wandering ghosts that may not be so fortunate as to have family. Not only is the inclusion of wandering ghosts a sign of respect, it is also to keep them from haunting and bestowing bad luck upon their families.

The people prepare in depth for this time of year. Offering Tables of foods fit for a king are set up with all the bells and whistles. A quick search online will show you the beautiful displays of food. Entertainment is provided such as singing, dancing and Opera.

a table of food for the ghosts

Offering Table
Used with permission from Thetruthaboutfgs

Shops and businesses are closed down as well. This way the ghosts are free to roam the streets. The food is set up, and also ‘paper money’ is offered for the hungry ghosts. The money is burned in the belief that it is the only way to get it to the ghosts in the other realm. The money they use is not real, and is often called ‘Hell Money’.

Altars bearing incense and various fresh fruits are displayed in the middle of the streets. Monks are close by throwing rice for the hungry ghosts and singing songs only the ghosts understand. Shi ge’r is the custom, meaning ‘singing ghost songs’.

At this time the gates of heaven, hell and this world open up. The hungry ghosts are invited to pass through the gate into our realm and enjoy the offerings and entertainment.

In the evenings, incense is also burned in front of homes to gain prosperity. The more incense, the more prosperity.

Children are often cautioned by the elders to stay off the streets at night in fear that they may be possessed by a hungry ghost. If one does decide to take an evening stroll, it is best not to look back or respond if you hear someone whisper your name. Swimming is also ill-advised.

Fifteen days into Ghost Month, water lanterns are lit up outside peoples’ homes. The water lanterns are meant to help guide the spirits back to their respective worlds. Once all the lanterns are burned out, it is said that all the ghosts have successfully made the journey home.

In 2009 Ghost month begins on August 20th. You can find some Ghost Festivalessentials on this very cool blog post by FrancisH on

A Peek into Chinese Mythology

Many wonderful folklore tales derive from China. Although I could write an entire article on the mythology, there are others that have done it much better than I would. I will provide links at the end of this article. I wanted to mention a couple that I found intriguing.

Feng-huang; Also known as an August RoosterIn Chinese mythology, this bird is considered the ruler of all other birds. It is the Chinese version of the Pheonix. The bird is said to be made up of the most graceful parts of different creatures. The neck of a snake, fish’s tail, throat of a swallow. The bird had been appearing in chinese culture for seven thousand years, often as a good luck charm. It is also said that they hide when trouble may be nearby. Even though a bird of mythology, some people feel that the FengHuang deserves a spot in China’s cryptozoology field and compare it to the Mothman. Others strongly disagree with this theory and feel it does not need a place in Chinese cryptozoology, arguing that the bird is the complete opposite of the Mothman. It only shows up in times of happiness and peace.The belief is that four creatures created the world. The tortoise, dragon, unicorn and the Pheonix (Feng-huang). A link to more information on the Feng-huang can be found at the end of the this article.

The Four Dragon Kings They say that four dragons rule the four seas (North,South,East and West). They have the ability to control the rain and can flood towns if they so wish. It is best for the people of the town not do anything to upset the four dragons. They can also shapeshift into human form. The four dragons live grandly in castles in the seas. The crystal castles and their occupants are guarded closely by shrimp soldiers and crab generals.

The Dropa Stones (The Chinese Roswell)

One of the most debated cases of an alleged ancient UFO discovery derives from China.In 1938 seven hundred and sixteen circular stones were discovered in a series of caves (seven hundred sixteen caves) found in the Baian Kara Ula Mountains; a region of the Himalayans. The stones are said to be between four and twelve thousand years old, depending on where you look. Archeologist Chi Pu Tei from Beijing University and his students discovered the series of caves in 1938. In each cave rest one stone. Along with the stones, they found many skeletons that had small bodies and enlarged heads. They were suspected by many to be alien skeletons, and the Dropa Stones to be alien artifacts. It is interesting to note that this series of caves has never been found again.With some research one may find that the Dropa Stones are quite similar to ancient artifacts called ‘Jade Bi-Disks’. These disks are similar in description. Both the Dropas and the Bi disks have a hole in the exact centers and both are flat and round. The material used in creating the disks are however different. The Bi-disks generally consisted mostly of pure Jade. It is said that the Dropa stones are made up of mostly Cobalt metal. Cobalt metal has been used since ancient times for the making of jewelry and other artifacts. Another difference is that the Dropa Stones are said to have hieroglyphics engraved on them.

Possible Dropa Stones

Alleged Dropa Stones.One of two photographs known
to existof the Dropa Stones.

Photo taken by Ernst Wegerer
When Russian scientists were able to run tests on these Dropa Stones, they found that an electrical current ran through them.

The main purpose for Jade Bi-disks, were made mostly for the elite and the rich. When a person of wealth and or importance passed away, a Jade Bi-Disk was placed with them in the burial to protect them from demons. They were also used as ornamental objects. They vary in size anywhere from a foot to several feet tall.


An example of a Jade Bi-DiskUsed with permission

Is it a coincidence that the Dropa Stones were found in caves with skeletons? If these were to be found to be Bi-Disks versus Dropa Stones, then it stands to follow that the people who buried their dead in those caves must have had many important and wealthy people.The skeletons that were said to be found, bare a vast resemblence to a tribe found in the same region (Baian Kara Ula ) called ‘The Dropa Tribe’. I will talk a bit about the Dropa Tribe soon. Some time after 1938 the stones mysteriously vanished. For years no one knew what became of them. Then in 1974 an Austrian engineer by the name of Ernst Wegerer visited a small remote museum in China; The Banpo Museum.. Some say what he found there, was proof of the much disputed Dropa Stones.

Upon entering the museum, Mr. Wegerer had already known the story of the Dropa Stones. While perusing the museum, he notices two unassuming disks in a display case.

He enquired to the curator about the history of the disks. The curator shrugged and stated that they were simply Bi-Disks.

The reply must not have satisfied Mr. Wegerer, because he then took couple of photos with his Polaroid. They are the only known photos of the ‘Dropa Stones’ One of them is shown further up in this article. Days later, the curator was ordered off the job, and the two disks mysteriously vanished. Did the Chinese Government have something to hide as some suggest?

It is mostly agreed that the photos he managed go take lend precedence to the case.The Dropa TribeThis tribe of people lived in somewhat peace in the desolate region with another tribe sometimes called ‘The Ham Tribe’. You could call the two tribes ‘frenemies’An interesting point that I think plays an important part, is the size and general weight of the tribes. They are around four feet tall. The weight fluctuates between approximatly thirty-eight and fifty-two pounds. Their heads are rather large and are not porpotionate with their torsos. The skeletons found in the caves had similar aspects.

Dropa Tribe

Dropa Tribe members
Some people believe that the Dropa Tribe are direct

descendants of aliens; an alien/human hybrid.

In 1962, before the stones vanished, a Dr. Tsum Um Nui claims to have deciphered the hieroglyphics that were inscribed in the stones. He said that the hieroglyphics told a story of a UFO crash landing. The Ham Tribe, the story said, was the one to have found the crash site. It is rumored that the beings on board the ship were perhaps the Dropa Tribe. There was fighting between the two peoples but also at some point produced what is thought of today as alien hybrid beings. An example is shown above.

Researchers dispute the authenticity of Dr. Tsum Um Nui’s translation of the hieroglyphics. They argue that back in the 1960’s, if he were truly able to ‘crack the code’ so to speak, that it would be a more amazing feat than deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Not to mention that sources say that Dr. Tsum Um Nui only knew two languages.

They also dispute his claim because deductive reasoning would tell one that it would be next to impossible to decipher an unknown, perhaps extraterrestrial language.

Dropas Debunked?

In my research I came across an interesting email from Professor Bob Murowchick. He makes several thought-provoking points. Some of which are:

He claims it is a “hoax that simply refuses to die”. He claims that the artifacts are Bi-disks There is no evidence of a Chi Pu Tei or Dr. Tsum Um Nui ever existing. He states that a man by the name of Erich von Daniken could perhaps be the source of the story and why this may be so. I will provide a link to the full email. Some people dispute what Professor Murowchick has to say.

Important names to remember when it comes to this mysterious case:

Chi Pu Tei (Beijing University) and his students discovered the Dropa Stones in the Himalayans in 1938. It turns out that there is possibly no record of him ever existing.

Ernst Wegerer The man who is said to have discovered two of the Dropa Stones in a small remote museum in 1974 and took two photographs.

Dr. Tsum Um Nui Is the Doctor who is said to have translated the hieroglyphics on a Dropa Stone(s). He claims that translated it tells a story of a crash landing of UFOs, tribes and alien encounters. It is also possible that this man never existed.

Professor Bob Murowchick Do the opinions and or facts in the Professor’s email hold water? Are the Dropa Stones a hoax? Perhaps misinterpreted? Decide for yourself.

Modern Day UFO Sightings

The more sightings there are, the more people watch the sky. The more people watch the sky, the more sightings there are. =P

China is amongst the top in the world when it comes to UFO sightings. Current UFO sightings in all of China are on the increase.

There have been reports anywhere from entire flight crews reporting a round silver disk to over twenty school children witnessing a UFO. One or two of those children were able to take pictures and video.

Nanjing, China UFO sighting – There is a video that has been circulating the web for quite some time. It is commonly known as the ‘Nanjing UFO’. I am sure that many who may read this article have come across faked UFO footage on Youtube and other video hosting sites. I myself have been fooled, and will most likely be fooled again. If I find a piece of footage interesting enough, I will dig deeper. I did this with the Nanjing footage.I still cannot find any proof that it is hoaxed, only speculation. The footage is taken in the daytime, and is very cool fake or not.In the footage you see the object hover and move very slowly across the sky. It then vanishes in a flash of lights in less than the blink of an eye! Link provided at the end of the article.

Nanjing, A UFO Hotspot? Since 1892, there has been UFO sightings reported in this area. An artist by name of Wu Youru urged the crowds to look at the sky, just in time to witness a ‘fireball’ near the Confucius Temple. Another UFO sighting was reported there in 1999.

Many other parts of China are experiencing sightings. Among the areas are Jiangsu city, Hebei, China in 1942, 1994 Mt. Phoenix and again in Nanjing in 2006. There are of course many more sightings that are not mentioned here.

Crypto Creatures

It seems that ‘Bigfoot’ is a world-wide phenomenon. China is no exception. In China, ‘Bigfoot’ is primarily known as ‘Yeren or Ye Ren’ Meaning ‘wild human’ they are also sometimes called ‘Wild Man’. Disbelievers may criticize that Western influence and stories of Bigfoot may have attributed to the tales of the Yeren. This can be debated if it is true that China has had Yeren sightings years before they had contact with the West, eliminating any suspicions that the West influenced their thoughts. There have been documented sightings in China as early as BC, third and seventh centuries.

Descriptions of the creature vary depending on who you ask. Some describe it as grey with medium–length black hair on its head and approximately five feet tall. In the same area, others report the creature as standing at an amazing nine to ten feet tall with red hair covering the body. Some of the reports sparked the government’s interest. The Chinese Government went on to conduct several official investigations over the years. The investigative teams were made up of professionals spanning several fields of interest, including scientists and military. It seems that in the mid 70’s and again from the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s

The government conducted several official searches. Some of the searches came up with intriguing evidence; others came up with nothing at all.

A few sightings and expeditions are as follows, dates are approximate:

1976-77 the Chinese government sponsored a Yeran expedition in the Shennongjia Mountain Forest There are conflicting reports, some say the expedition came up empty handed, while other sources says that the government collected footprints, red hair samples and possible feces samples. When the hair samples were tested at different facilities, it was found not to be from humans or apes and classified as ‘unknown’.

Approx June 29th 2003 Shennongjia Nature Reserve Six people were driving along a quiet road enjoying the scenery when they made a turn onto another road. That is when they spotted the grey creature that donned shoulder-length black hair and stood approx 5 ft tall. The ape-like creature vanished almost immediately, but may left behind a few presents. Some footprints and a fairly large puddle of foul smelling liquid that is better left for the scientists to ponder…

Approx Nov 18th 2007 Four tourists could have possibly spotted two Yeren in the Shennongjia in Central China’s Hubei province near the Licha River. Described as large and dark creatures. Unusually large footprints and broken branches were later found.

A Look Back in Time

Could the creature that people are witnessing be the Gigantopithecus? Gigantopithecus was an ape like creature that existed from as late as one million years ago, to as recent as three hundred thousand years ago.

The Hubei province seems to be a popular area for modern day Yeren sightings. Although there have been findings of Gigantopithecus jawbones, teeth and more throughout China, it is noted that the jawbones from the Hubei province are from a later date, and the teeth are larger. The Gigantopithecus from that region is estimated to be approximately 10 feet tall.

Tibetan Book of the Dead

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a series of texts that was initially named after an author/anthropologist explorer named Evans-Wentz. While on an exibition, Wentz discovered the texts. He ultimately had them translated and turned it into a book.

The book is now used as a guideline by Buddhists. They use it to help one transition from life, to death. Reincarnation may be a factor. What you were in a past life and what you may become is what determines the time for cremation. Transition between life and death could be a series of planes that must be visited, one to the next.

It seems that for 49 days one cannot fully transcend. That is why the Buddhists help them through this state of limbo, even spiritually crossing into the realm of death to advise the deceased and to help guide them through this confusing period.You won’t encounter a wrathful deity unless you are not at peace with yourself, your situation and your thoughts.

If the dead fail to recognize the teachings of the Bardo Thodol; Book of the Dead, in the sense that the deceased do notexcept their new existence or the peaceful deities as creations oftheir own minds, then the peaceful deities turn into terrifying wrathful ones.

So just remember, if your time has come, just roll with it.

Thanks for reading…

Tracey Huntley


You can read more about Chinese mythology at this site.

This site describes all jade bi-disks as generally flat, round, with a hole in the center.It also tells of its uses. The Dropa Stones are also flat, round with a hole in the middle o.O

Here and heremore information on the Dropa Stones can be found. Also mentions that Chi Pu Tei worked at Beijing University. Also discusses opinions that the burials in the cave system were first thought to be apes, but later thought to be aliens.

cobalt metaland it's uses.

Dropa Stone discussions.

Explains more about the four Dragon Kings.

Yeren Sighting

More info on the Yeren

CNN reports on Yeren sightings in the central Hubei province.

A list of different Yeren sightingsin China

Info on the Gigantopithecus

Info on Hungry Ghost Festival

More info on Ghost Month/Festival

Some essentials for Ghost month: very cool blog post:

In depth article on the Feng-huang

A story about the four dragons.

Another tale about the Dragon Kings.

Very cool trailer of ‘They Wait’ at IMDB

Explains what a Jade Bi-Disk is used for.

Link to the email from Professor Bob Murowchick offers explanations for the Dropa Stones.

Special thanks to Kenny and Singapore Paranormal Research

Link to Nanjing UFO footage on Youtube.

UFO sightings

More UFO sightings.

The man who discovered the Tibetan Book of the Dead scripts.

A video series showing the ceremonies that Buddhists use with the Tibetan Book of the Dead texts.

Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead).

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