The Chiang-Shih - Vampire Mythology from China

Chiang Shi | Movie Still from Ultimate Power (2006)

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The Chinese vampire, referred to as the Chiang-Shih or (Hopping Ghost) is more like a revenant or ghoul then the western ideal of a vampire. The reason these creaures are called hopping ghosts is not completely known, traditionally the chinese would bury their dead in special garments, these garment would bind the legs together, thus the creature would have to hop to move. The other believe is that perhaps these creatures hop because of the rigor mortis that has set in after death.

The Chiang-Shih are created when the soul or po of a person does not exit after the person dies. This usually happens when the person experienes a violent or extremely painful death, or when the soul has been angered, this is usually because of improper burial or improper preparation for burial. The soul can also become angered if the family fails in their obligation to pay the proper erspects to a deceased family member, or if the grave has been disturbed. Something even as simple as being buried in the wrong spot can cause a person to become a Chiang-Shih, this is a notion from the belief in Feng Shui.

The Chiang-Shih are blind, they rely on their ability to sense the breath of their prey to track them. Traditionally the Chiang-Shih were believed to suck the breath out of their vicitims, in more modern movies they are just as likely to suck their blood of their victims.

There are also many prescribed ways to keep a Chiang-Shih at bay. Religon is perhaps the key center point for all of these beliefs, and Taoist and Buddist priests are the primary workers in the art of destroying a Chiang-Shih. The main items used in defense against Chiang-Shih are death blessings, written on yellow paper and stuck to the forehead of the Chiang-Shih, this would successfully imobilize them. Taoist mirrors (feng shui mirrors), glutinous rice, straw, and chicken blood are also an integral part of the chinese vampire hunters arsenal.

The Chiang-Shih are considered intensely powerful and hold many supernatural powers including powerful, gale force breath; sword-like fingernails; incredibly long eyebrows that can be used to lasso or bind an enemy; shape shifting; and the ability to fly.

© Ransim

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Published: 2003