Episode 15: Beijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs

WildChina > Podcast > Episode 15: Beijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs

For our fifteenth episode we asked Jim Nobles, founder of Bizarre Beijing, to chat with us on some of China’s more haunting facets.

We cover a range of afterlife and ghoulish topics, from joss paper burnings going virtual due to growing awareness of environmental impacts to Chinese Ouija boards and supernatural beliefs, and of course there’s a smattering of local ghost stories woven in along the way. We hope you enjoy this seasonally-themed special: Beijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs.

Listen to Episode 15:

Episode Overview:
  • 02:41 – Mei’s go-to ghost
  • 04:36 – Ghost culture in China
  • 06:21 – Ghost marriages in China
  • 07:19 – Chinese books that have influenced ghost stories
  • 09:25 – Chinese Ouija board “bixian”
  • 10:30 – Chinese burial traditions
  • 13:43 – Chinese ghost festivals and supernatural beliefs
  • 14:02 – Chinese joss paper burning
  • 14:59 – Chinese vs Western supernatural beliefs
  • 19:50 – A Chinese ghost story
  • 24:03 – How Jim got interested in Chinese ghost stories and tales
  • 25:38 – Haunted places in Beijing
  • 27:23 – The story of Traveler Inn’s haunted restaurant in Beijing
  • 28:28 – How local Chinese travelers feel about ghost tours
  • 29:45 – What Bizarre Beijing is doing for Halloween in Beijing

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Places, resources and tips mentioned in the podcast:

Ghost culture in China

  • Liaozhai zhiyi (聊斋志异) – Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio
  • Jiyi ji (集異記) – Records of the Collected Extraordinary written during the Tang Dynasty (9th Century)
  • Bixian (笔仙) – Chinese Ouija board
  • Some types of Chinese ghosts:
    Hungry ghost – egui (饿鬼)
    Female ghost – nvgui (女鬼)
    Water ghost – shuigui (水鬼)
    Weird ghost – yaogui (妖鬼)
    Headless ghost – wutougui (无头鬼)

Beijing’s mass grave areas

  • Fengtai (丰台区)
  • Haidian ( 海淀区)

Related holidays in China

  • Tomb Sweeping / Qingming Festival (清明节)
  • Hungry Ghost Festival / Zhongyuan Festival (中元節)

Chinese supernatural beliefs

  • Zhongshi (僵尸) – Chinese vampire/zombie
  • Yaodao (妖道) – evil Daoist priest

Chinese ghost stories shared by Jim

Haunted places in Beijing

eijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs
Haunted Beijing
Beijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs
Beijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs
Beijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs
Beijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs
Beijing Ghost Stories and Chinese Supernatural Beliefs
The haunted Traveler Inn restaurant (华侨饭店) near Beixinqiao