Thursday, 14 July 2011

Hungry Ghost Festival - notes

Some notes in why I find the Hungry Ghost Festival particularly creepy and other stuff in which I'll copy pasta from Wiki and link some (hopefully decent) pictures.

Building on what was written on the last post, the [Hungry] Ghost Festival is probably the Eastern version of Halloween.  I can't remember what Halloween really represents (apart form all the commercial jazz) but the Ghost festival are more for those who died by suicide, accidents, drowning, hanging etc and have been denied entry into Heaven.  They are angry since they are forced to dwell in Hell without food or comfort so when released from the Gates of Hell, they search for souls to take their place in misery.

To appease the angry restless spirits, street entertainments are performed and meals are cooked but this is the creepy part: all the seats are empty lol (or at least the front row seats for performances: reserved for ghosts). I read that shops will closed and altars/offers are placed in the middle of the empty road for the spirits which is again really creepy in itself.

Reserved for Ghosts yo'. (KL, Malaysia - Wikipedia)

More on this link.

This is a really good blog for pictures. I find it creepy that it's just so...empty. Especially when you read some of the captions lol. Seeing those pictures in the blog gives me the creeps; maybe it's different for me because I've actually seen stuff like that when I was a kid but didn't really know about it XD. Anyway that's the back story for the festival.

Other links if you wanna check em out (I'm only really putting them up here so that I can finally close some of the tabs I have open in my browser):

Ghost Festival
Obon Festival
Hungry Ghosts in Chinese Religion
Chinese Ghosts

Superstitions: (copy pasta via wiki)

There are many superstitions and taboos surrounding the Hungry Ghost Festival. Spirits are thought to be dangerous, and can take many forms, including snakes, moths, birds, foxes, wolves, and tigers. Some can even use the guise of a beautiful man or woman to seduce and possess. One story refers to a ghost which takes the form of a pretty girl and seduces a young man until a priest intervenes and sends the spirit back to hell. It is believed that possession can cause illness and/or mental disorders.[12]
During the 7th month of the Chinese calendar children are advised (usually by an elder in the family) to be home before dark, and not to wander the streets at night for fear a ghost might possess them. Swimming is thought to be dangerous as well, as spirits are believed to have drowned people. People will generally avoid driving at night, for fear of a "collision", or spiritual offence, which is any event leading to illness or misfortune.[13] While "ghost" is a commonly used term throughout the year, many people use the phrase "backdoor god" or "good brother" instead during the 7th month, so as not to anger the ghosts. Another thing to avoid is sampling any of the food placed on the offering table, as doing this can result in "mysterious illness". Any person attending a show at indoor entertainment venues (Getais) will notice the first row of chairs is left empty. These seats are reserved for the spirits, and it is considered bad form to sit in them. After an offering has been burnt for the spirits, stepping on or near the burnt area should be avoided, as it is considered an "opening" to the spirit world and touching it may cause the person to be possessed.
- I would also like to add that if an altar is disturbed by an animal, we wouldn't chase it away because that is the animal's misfortune...not ours lol.
- Lastly I've never actually attended these kind of festivals as I grew up in England but I've heard of it so I won't be able to answer any specifics. Anyway hope you enjoy the reading material, it may help in the building of the 'creepy' factor.

Cool beans, I can finally close several hundred tabs now!
ps We also don't have to stick to the Chinese Culture, we can use another (or make up something like they did in Higurashi). I just thought this is quite a cool and unknown concept XD


  1. this reminds me a little of spirited away.. when at the beginning they're in the town and no one is there but later on they see that its inhabited by spirits XD

    jade you should DEFFIINNAATELY incorporate this in the game *w* its perrfecct for teh paranormal aspect and because its also true it makes it even more scary! i really enjoyed reading and looking at the blogs for this concept, great work :D

  2. Omg yes those scenes were just so creepy! I just couldn't stop watching it! It makes a lot of sense now especially the idea of the bath house for the spirits...why didn't I see that before XD

    Cheers Michelle! We now have a lot of pictures to base the artwork on now mwahah ;D

  3. My initial thoughts on this is that what makes it so scary is largely due to the fact that its for people who have died violent deaths. Gives you a lot to explore in terms of disturbing and violent imagery. Maybe the trigger for the events is someone, somehow (possibly the main character or their sibling) disrespecting one of the spirits. Those images on some of the sites are scarier when you know the context of them, otherwise like in the picture of little girls toys I'd of just assumed that no one had turned up to the little girls party.. OR HAD THEY? There was a lot of art on the same site which gives you a lot to draw on too.

  4. Cool! I do like the creepy vibes it does give too- I didn't know that it's for people who have died violent deaths but I do also remember reading that 'they have long needle-thin necks because they have not been fed by their family, or as a punishment so that they are unable to swallow.' Ah I see so it's more for people who have died violent deaths or died young or did not have a proper burial ritual- so it can branch out to more areas.

    So basically:
    - Violent deaths
    - Improper burial
    - Accidents (I like to add that if someone younger than you dies, people older than the decease would not attend the service...another superstition in which I can't 'remember the technicalities.)
    - No funeral rites are performed for babies and children and are buried in silence (see superstition above).

    Lol yeh it's a bit like Troll 2, once you know the context it makes the scene even more 'terrifying'. This is brilliant guys, a lot of imagery to play around with ;D

  5. This could lead to some really cool and creepy stuff I think, nice out.

  6. haha, does this mean we get to watch some Troll 2 for research? awesome XD

  7. YES. I've already told Mike about this but I'll post some links to movies/music soon XD


  8. Then they're gonna eat me!


  10. that was a team effort right there :D


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