Jiangshi (Hopping Corpse)

The myth of the hopping corpse of China comes from a story titled The Corpse Who Traveled a Thousand Miles. It is a tale about a wizard who enchants corpses to hop home so that they may receive proper burial and their P’O (soul) can be laid to rest. It has been speculated that if smugglers did not invent the tale, they most certainly capitalized upon it by dressing up as these corpses and hopping to scare away superstitious local law enforcement.

According to the myth, a corpse that has had its yin shocked and its P’O disrupted will become a vampiric revenant. Events that can cause this to happen are if a cat jumps over a corpse, moonlight falls on it, or the body was not sent back to its home for proper burial. If the P’O will not leave the body, the soul cannot be laid to rest.

A hopping corpse is described as wearing burial clothes from the Qing Dynasty and is accom- panied by monks, mourners, and Taoist priests. Its eyes are bulging out of its sockets and its tongue is lolling from its mouth. Its arms are out stretched and it smells horrible enough to make a man fall unconscious.

A hopping corpse hunts by its sense of smell, and when it finds someone, it goes right for the throat, either biting right in the jugular or strangling the person to death. It has the power to kill a person instantly with a single touch, never grows tired, and can fly if need be.

Yellow and red Chinese death blessings placed on its forehead will slow it down, as will throwing long grain rice at it, since it will be compelled to count them. It can be warded off for a while, as it is afraid of chicken blood, straw brooms, and Taoist eight-sided mirrors. However, to destroy a hopping corpse, only long-term exposure to dawn’s light or by burning it and its coffin to ash will work.

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