Tue, Nov 26, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Woman loses spirit medium coercion lawsuit against sea goddess
女告神明逼當乩 法官駁回

Matsu deity, or goddess of the sea, seated at her shrine in Tzufeng Temple in Pingtung City on Nov. 20.
這張十一月二十日攝於屏東市的照片,是慈鳳宮媽祖神位。

Photo: Lee Li-fa, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者李立法

A woman in Pingtung City brought tort (civil wrong) litigation against Matsu, or goddess of the sea, at the spiritual center of Pingtung County — Tzufeng Temple, allegedly for forcing her to serve as a spirit medium and sending spirits to harass her, which subsequently caused her to suffer from mental infirmity and lose her job. The woman asked for NT$100 million (US$3.4 million) in restitution from the temple, but the judge said there was no way to summon the goddess to appear in court and therefore rejected the woman’s accusations.

Tzufeng Temple president Tu Hung-cheng says that the temple has never elected a spirit medium in the three centuries since Matsu was given a shrine in A-hou City (historical name for Pingtung City). The temple is the main religious center in Pingtung City, he says, adding that everyone knows the temple does not use spirit mediums, and that making claims Matsu is forcing someone to become a spirit medium is preposterous. The suit against Matsu is a first in the history of the temple, Tu says.

The father of the woman told reporters that his daughter’s mental state is unstable and that he took her to a psychiatrist for treatment, but when no cause was found they started wondering if she was indeed channeling external spirits. His daughter is an adult, so he is unable to keep her from doing certain things, but he is deeply sorry for any trouble that she caused to the temple.

The woman first filed a suit in February, which was overruled by the Pingtung District Court. She subsequently filed a case with the Taiwan High Court’s Kaohsiung Branch Court, which was also overruled. Then she filed a suit with the Kaohsiung District Court, paying NT$17,000 in judicature fees. Recently the case was moved back to the Pingtung District Court, and although the original indemnity being sought — NT$100 million — was lowered to NT$3 million, the judge said that the accused of the indictment was a figment of the plaintiff’s imagination, lacking evidence or causation, so the charges were overruled once again and the judicature fee of $17,000 was not returned.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. coercion n.

強制;強迫 (qiang2 zhi4; qiang2 po4)

例: If coercion is used to obtain a promise, it is not binding.

(若用強制方式取得誓言,就不需遵守。)

2. harrass v.

騷擾;煩擾 (sao1 rao3; fan2 rao3)

例: Annette had to switch schools because her classmates were constantly harassing her.

(安妮特因同學不斷地騷擾她,不得不換學校。)

3. summon v.

傳喚;召喚 (chuan2 huan4; zhao1 huan4)

例: The queen summoned him back to the palace.

(女王傳喚他回到宮殿。)


The right to choose someone to be a spirit medium rests with the gods, says veteran spirit medium Hung Wen-hsiung. Psychiatrists believe that from a medical perspective mediumship, or channeling, is a type of dissociative identity disorder. Some people have particular constitutions in which the brain’s nerve tissue is different from the average person, and in certain environments or atmospheres this can cause unique sensory responses and extreme, agitated mental states.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

屏東一名女子認為屏東市信仰中心慈鳳宮媽祖強迫她擔任乩童,還派遣神靈騷擾她,導致她精神耗弱丟掉飯碗,狀告媽祖侵權,並向慈鳳宮求償一億元,法官認為「沒辦法傳喚媽祖」,因此駁回女子之訴。

慈鳳宮董事長杜灴城表示,阿猴城媽祖開基三百年來不曾採乩(挑選乩童),該廟為屏東市主要信仰中心,眾所皆知該廟並無乩童,更遑論媽祖「逼民為乩」;媽祖挨告也是建廟以來頭一遭。

女子的父親向記者表示,女兒精神狀況並不穩定,曾帶往精神科問診,卻找不出原因,才會懷疑是否「卡」到外靈,女兒已成年,無法限制她行動,對廟方造成困擾,他深感抱歉。

女子今年二月第一次提告,被屏東地院駁回,她向高雄高分院提出抗告,仍被駁回;她又向高雄地院提告,繳交一萬七千多元的裁判費,最近該案移屏東地院,求償金額從原先的一億元降到三百萬,法官認為原告控訴的對象並非實體,且毫無事證及理由,再次駁回,一萬七千多元裁判費沒入。

資深乩童洪文雄指出,選拔乩童主控權操之於神明;精神科醫師則認為,「起乩」是醫學上的「解離狀態」,有些人的體質較特殊,腦神經組織的敏感度異於常人,在某種環境或氣氛中可有奇特感應,精神狀態也會極度亢奮。

(自由時報記者李立法)

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