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Tuesday, 27 August 2013



1.Selling Salt in Cemetery

Only a brave or a desperate man would do this. It was rumoured that selling salt in a cemetery is one of the easiest way of earning money. Ghosts need salt, lots of salt, to preserve their decomposing state.
The courageous one first had to pack salt in many packets for his business, so that his supply would not run out. Before dusk, he would make his way to a suitable spot in the cemetery.
There he sit comfortably with his head bowed, and waited patiently for his 'customers' . There were two important rules for his business; he must not look up all times, and he must never fall asleep or leave his spot before dawn. Any violation would endanger his life greatly.

The brave man had to resist any urge to peep at his 'customers', who would place the money on his hands after taking the salt. When the first light arrived, the man must quickly pack up and leave with his stack of cash, which would not turn to hell notes, unlike the poor taxi driver whose story was discussed in my last post.

2.Black Magic (Gong tau)

Black magic or Gong tau (???), was a popular topic for discussion especially in the Southeast 
Asia.  Scorpions, centipedes, snakes, spider, corpse oil stands of hairs or bits of fingernails were often the items associated in making powerful charms for revenge, love enhancement or simply a change of luck.

Likely to be originated from Yunnan of China; some said it was the work of Maoshan Taoist Priest, Black Magic flourished in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia.
Many locals in Singapore also believed in black magic, especially when things in life went wrong. It is said to be extremely difficult to heal a person suffered under a strong curse, and the one who placed the curse usually had to pay a high price in the end.

Interest in black magic reached it's peak in Singapore in the seventies, thanks to influence of many scary Gong tau movies made popular during that era.

3.Toyol (Gui Kia)

Toyol, on the other hand, was a child spirit used to create mischief or steal money from others.
It was also known as qi gui kia (???) in Hokkien. In the early days, there were consistent  rumors that the hardcore gamblers would keep toyols to help them win money in chap ji kee.

The way of creating a toyol was gruesome. The bomoh would get his human foetus, usually just died from abortion or  miscarriage, from the cemetery and placed it in a jar. After the some rituals, the spirit of the fetus was revived, and it was sold to anyone who wanted to keep it for his own personal gains. He would then need too feed it everyday, sometimes with his own blood.

It was not uncommon to hear the stories that the toyol would later become too rebellious and uncontrollable. Or it simply went berserk after the owner forgot to feed it regularly. In the end, he was killed by his "money-making too".

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