A family in Chiayi County’s Yichu Township (義竹) that had for years been disturbed at night by eerie noises and ghostly apparitions in their home has reportedly solved the problem after following the instructions of the main deity at their local temple.
Chen Jung-wen (陳榮文) said that he and his brothers purchased a 230m2 piece of land in their hometown, Ansiliao Village (安溪寮), in 1988.
They built a three-story house on the land costing more than NT$6 million (US$201,300 at current exchange rates). The house had six large suites, one for each of the brothers and one for their parents. The luxury mansion in the middle of a rural farming village was the envy of their neighbors.
However, when the family moved in, they had problems sleeping. Family members said they felt shadowy phantom shapes moving about at night and when they were in bed and half-asleep, they saw ghostly heads floating in front of their eyes.
“Almost every night we were disturbed and did not sleep well. On some nights it was so noisy, it sounded like a sports event. We were also attacked by sharp objects on several occasions. It was really scary,” Chen said.
Neighbors also said that they often saw strange beings coming out of the Chen family house at night and villagers began to call the residence a “haunted house.”
“When the house was newly completed, 16 family members were living there. Almost every day, three or four of us would fall ill. We took medicines and got injections, but they were not effective. I was diagnosed with oral mucosa cancer 12 years ago. Our family businesses started suffering and went downhill fast. We once owned family assets worth several hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars. However, we lost everything within five years and even worse, we ran up debts,” Chen said.
“Our family was scared and fed-up with the ghostly disturbances. One by one, family members moved out. In 1995 we sold the house to our creditor for more than NT$9 million,” he said.
“When the creditor registered the deed in his name, he immediately fell ill. He also was unable to sell the house,” Chen added.
Chen said that about four years ago the family decided to seek guidance from the main deity at the village’s Baoan Temple (保安宮) and the deity instructed the family to buy back the house.
The family did not have much money at the time, but the creditor was happy to sell the house back to them for NT$3.7 million. The Chen family moved back into the house in 2009.
Chen said the family were again disturbed when they moved back in. The ghosts and supernatural phenomena still haunted them at night, and their grandchildren were often so frightened that they wet their pants, he said.
“This year we again asked the deity at the Baoan Temple for guidance. This time the deity told us that the disturbances by the fiendish ghosts came from skeletons buried beneath the house, and instructed us to dig them up. We started digging on Feb. 12 and found human skeletal remains. Our family realized that the house must have been built on a graveyard and that was the reason behind the hauntings all these years,” he said.
Chen said they found human remains at more than 10 sites around the house.
“The more we dig, the more we find. We have not finished digging yet and there are likely more bones beneath the house. However, the disturbances and unwelcome activities of the fiendish ghosts have been reduced by about 90 percent,” he said early last week.
Following the instructions of the temple deity, the Chen family conducted Taoist ceremonial rites to release the souls of the dead from suffering and to help them achieve reincarnation.
Chang Ming-yung (張銘勇), a geomancer, said although ghosts, spirits and deities exist in popular folk beliefs, people should not become too superstitious.
“If someone believes he or she is seeing strange things and starts to make something out of nothing, any house can become a ‘haunted house.’ Such people normally scare themselves, rather than being frightened by ghosts,” Chang said.