The ghostly month
The ghostly month or the month of ghosts and goblins is the seventh month of the lunar year, or in the Western calendar, August 3 to August 31, 2016.
Haunted places on Taiwan have become relatively popular “tourist” attractions, and the most popular places are the Kaohsiung Chiching 25 maindens’ memorial, the Pingtung vocational high school’s student’s tomb, the guard post of the military barracks in Chizitou at Chih Pen in Taitung county, and the abandoned theater in Tung Shen on Penghu.
A ferry boat between Chiching and Kaohsiung carrying 25 young female factory workers overturned and sank, and all 25 girls drowned. On April 28, 2008, a memorial and a park opened to the public, and since then, weird happenings have occurred, including male motorcycle riders experiencing motor malfunction, the lights of the motorcycle suddenly went out, and riders have flipped and fell from their motorcycles by unknown forces. It is said that the spirits of the drowned victims want to catch a groom.
The Pingtung vocational high school has a history of 160 years. Since the tomb was set up in memory of a student who died on campus, weird happenings have occurred, including an incident in which the “arm” of an “excavator” broke in midair.
In the 1990s the Chih Pen army camp had a guard post. Whenever there was a changing of the guards, people have seen a ghostly figure of a soldier in line marching towards the guard post.
The abandoned theater in Tungshen in Penghu is said to be haunted by a little boy who fell from the roof of the theater after chasing after a bird, and then the theater was destroyed by fire, and many people inside were burned to death.
Folk customs and superstitions abound during the month of ghosts and goblins. One is not supposed to hang clothes outdoors because the ghosts and goblins will come and take them and wear them and curse them. If one then wears the clothes, one will get sick or die. One is not supposed to undergo surgery during the month nor give birth since surgical opening of the body will allow the ghosts, spirits and goblins to enter the body, causing sickness, disease and death. One is also not supposed to visit any grave sites or cemeteries , especially children, since physical and spiritual possession by evil spirits may occur. And special ceremonies are performed to pay tribute to the dead and their spirits to pacify them.
On the first day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, temple would perform ceremonies to “open the gates of hell” for spirits to roam the world of the living for a month. Each year, the memorial temple dedicated to 179 men who died in a fight between the Chuanchow and the Changchow clans who have come to settle in the Keelung area in the 1600s and who engaged in a deadly clan war on the first day of the seventh lunar month would hold a ceremony to “open the gates of hell” to allow these spirits to roam the world of the living. They are known as the “little brothers” on Taiwan.