A Haunting: Hungry Ghosts

Since I watch Ghost Hunters, my TiVo has taken to capturing every ghost show that comes around, and one of the things it catches a lot is the A Haunting series, which shows on Discovery. The basic idea of A Haunting is that in each show, we have a person or family telling their story in an interview style, intercut with footage of a dramatization that has a narrator using a Portentious Narrator Voice. I watch it occasionally, as it's a good thing to have on in the background and I'm doing other stuff, or when I'm bored stiff and there's nothing else to watch.

It caught a recent epiosode titled "Hungry Ghosts," which I was sort of interested in as hungry ghosts are a Chinese concept, which I thought might be a change from the relentlessly generic-North-American modern mythos it portrays*, although I wasn't necessarily optimistic about it. Especially when the program info read "Ghosts terrorize a group of bishops."

* It's schizophrenic as to whether neopagan and indigenous beliefs are good or evil, but it falls into the party line from most modern TV shows of what the spirit world is, and how it interacts with the human world.

Turns it it wasn't bishops, but Bishops. A family, in fact, named Bishop, who were expats in Tokyo and moved to Taipei when the father's company transferred him. They moved into company-owned housing, a mansion, about 15 miles outside of Taipei, in the mid-1980s. The mother interviewed that she knew the expat community considered this to be "a lawless country" so she was worried about keeping her family safe.

Bzuh? Taiwan? Taipei? Lawless? You'd think she was talking about being transferred to Bogota or one of those places where Americans keep getting kidnapped. I emailed oyceter, who I know lived in Taiwan and has family there, to ask ab out it since I don't know much about Taiwan, and she was just as puzzled as I was.

Anyway. They move in. As the mother and daughters unpack, they are terrorized by ... a tarantula. Which was filmed moving at great speeds so as to look menacing, which which mostly succeeded in looking silly. It was eventually dispatched by their driver with a shovel. MUST BE HAUNTED.

The mother would occasionally see lights and movements out of the corner of her eye* and the walls of the house leaked. None of the light switches was grounded, so they had to use a stick to turn them on in order to avoid being electrocuted. And one month their electric bill was $1100. MUST BE HAUNTED.

* I often see movement out of the corner of my eye, but it's usually either my hair or the cat. :D

They started getting more convincing haunting stuff in the second half of the episode, with the boyfriend of one of the girls seeing an apparition of their mother standing on a gate as his driver drove them off (he phoned the house to see if she was OK, and the mother was reading in her bedroom going "Uh? I'm fine, nothing's happening, what's wrong?"), and a bunch of doorknob-rattling and doors opening and closing by themselves. Accompanied by ominous music and camera angles, of course.

They eventually called in a Daoist priest, who explained that the feng shui of the house was completely wrong - the mother interviewed "This house was designed to kill us!" - and said he sensed two bodies, before scheduling a time to come back and exorcise the house. After this, they talked to their driver, who told them before the house was built there was a pig farm that burned and the farmer and his wife were killed. Whereupon I wondered why it was so OooOOoOooOO that the local priest, who'd be expected to be familiar with the area, would OMG sense two bodies!!

At any rate, he came back and went through the ceremony, and had the older daughter take offerings out to the grounds where the farm burned, while we were treated to a scene of the daughter fearfully taking the basket out there, putting it down, looking around, and running back to the house, accompanied by ominous music. Then the Daoist priest blessed every room in the house (in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which was another "Bzuh?" moment), and left, advising the family to move.

Then the mother interviewed that the oldest daughter graduated two months later, and they left then. So. Grand sum total of haunting: one spider, one badly-constructed house, some nightmares by the daughters, and a bunch of people freaking themselves out.

I think ghosts terrorizing a group of bishops might have made for more entertaining TV.

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded