Pu Song-ling's Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio

Mention Liao Chai and people well-versed in Chinese Literature would instantly think of Pu Song-ling (1640-1715) and his Liao-Chai Chi-I (Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio) which features 500 odd stories of ghosts as well as spirits in the human world. I remember watching a movie based on one of his stories when I was a kid and the memory of it still send chills down my spine. It was late in the evening and a man, carrying a lantern, was on his way home. On his way, he had passed a graveyard and there was a pretty woman weeping at a grave. The woman was devastated as she had lost her husband and was now all alone in the world. The man pitied her and had thus invited her home. He kept her in a wing of his mansion, keeping her away from the knowledge his wife and the rest of the household and had from them on, visited her daily. He was under her spell, that was for sure, until one day, when he saw her peeling off her skin, and spreading it on the floor so that she could paint on it. The woman was actually a ghost and had with the help of the painted skin, put on the guise of a pretty lady so that she could snare human beings! Pu Song-ling's stories are mysterious, chilling and you'd be tempted to put them under the same category as Twilight Zone or Stephen King's stories only that, they are less gory, less violent and less bloody. I would say the chills they send down your spine are very subtle and the stories, set in a bygone era, lends it an eerie feel,and the stories, as a matter of fact, are in a class of their own. Many movies and TV series had been made based on the stories for as long as I can remember and an old TV series from Singapore Broadcasting Corporation which I happened to stumble upon had a haunting theme song to boot, prompting this post....


Comments

icepricessa said…
interesting post =)
footiam said…
Interesting and haunting song too!

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