Chapter 1.22: An Shi (Extra)

Uncle Two leaned against the rattan chair and slowly continued to explain to us while looking through the genealogical record, “Xu A Qin said that our ancestral grave was the place where the old well was dug up. In the end, Shan Cheng Gong didn’t change to a different location but was buried in the same place. Moreover, this matter involved a more powerful feng shui master so there’s a part that doesn’t make sense—the feng shui of the place was very normal and they dug up a corpse from the ground, which meant that it was a place of yin and evil spirits, so why did Shan Cheng Gong insist on keeping the ancestral tomb there?

“The rumors that the villagers treasured the well were obviously unfounded. Mao Shajing generally refers to the drought in that area. Our old village was well-known for its drought, and famine was the worst in this area. According to them, it’s strange that our ancestral tomb would be built in an area that was devastated by drought. It definitely wasn’t an ideal spot to bury them there. Since Shan Cheng Gong didn’t do it because of the benefits, it shows that the situation was just the opposite—he was forced to do so.”


“Yes, building the ancestral tomb in that location was a last resort. It must be related to One-Eyed Shen’s note. I think the only problem revolves around the corpse that was discovered in the old well.”

Biao Gong listened to this, took a puff of his pipe, and then said hesitantly, “So you’re saying—”

“I’m very certain about these things, so I began to consider what was most likely to happen in light of these factors. After thinking about it, I realized that the woman’s snail-covered corpse was like a cellar corpse. When it was dug up before, the big bluestone that had a word engraved on the wellhead was obviously used to seal the well. So, this cellar corpse may be the problem since it was sealed inside. And a few generations ago, bandits flourished here—”

When I heard this, I suddenly understood, “You mean, One-Eyed Shen thought that this ancient corpse wasn’t killed, but—”

“Naked, without any jewelry or jade… she was apparently robbed of everything after a bandit raid and then thrown into the well. Moreover, there were other bones outside the old well, so it may have been the place where the bandits disposed of the bodies before. They may have also stolen fresh goods from recently buried people.”

I immediately nodded in agreement, “Brilliant.”

“This woman’s corpse was a rotten green color, and even though she was dead, her body wasn’t showing signs of rigor mortis. There were suspicions that she would become a zombie, and at that time, they were afraid that she would come out to harm people if she was buried.” Uncle Two continued, “The thieves at that time may have also thought this, so they quickly threw her into the well, covered the wellhead with huge stones, and made a warning sign. Many rotting corpses were thrown into the well and the snails multiplied in great numbers, so they fought for new corpses and were poisoned by the corpse poison. The snails covered the surface of the corpse and formed a closed coffin, which preserved the woman’s body—of course, this is only speculation.” Uncle Two then turned around, “Archaeology can only get infinitely close to the truth, but it can never be equated with the whole truth.”

Biao Gong nodded, “Go on.”

“Then the next question arose. Shan Cheng Gong dismantled the dried-up well, dug up the corpse they discovered, and placed it in the ancestral hall. If it was an ordinary corpse, it would probably be burned. The planned location of the grave was inauspicious, so they would normally change to another one. But why did they invite a feng shui master at that time? I think it must be because some strange changes took place with the body they discovered, which caused Shan Cheng Gong to panic. When I think about it, I find that these things seem to be connected.” Uncle Two rubbed his temples, “Feng shui masters at that time were mostly frauds, and they would definitely take this opportunity to ask for money. A lot of them must have made up some strange lies.”

“Xu A Qin said that the feng shui master didn’t want money.”

“According to the custom at that time, feng shui masters that were invited weren’t given money but gifts. The same is true for many fortune tellers now. They say they don’t want money, but if you want to sincerely thank them and they want something from you, then you ‘gift’ it to them. Your father was tricked out of a watch last time. Therefore, feng shui masters will not suffer losses and will definitely receive greater benefits than money,” Uncle Two said. “So I started to wonder, what kind of bad idea did this feng shui master come up with? After going through the usual tricks that frauds use, I came up with a rather shocking idea.”

“What is it, Number Two? Can’t you just say it? You’ve almost caught up with Master Cai, the storyteller in your teahouse,” Uncle Three said.

“It’s a yin marriage.”

“Yin marriage?”

“Yes, it’s where you marry a ghost wife. The feng shui master must have said something like this—Shan Cheng Gong had disturbed the ghost’s corpse. This woman’s corpse appeared abnormal and was bound to become a fierce ghost. To ensure the family’s safety, this dead woman had to get married, and allowing her to enter the family tomb could prevent the whole village from suffering. Therefore, under the pressure of the patriarch, Shan Cheng Gong had no choice but to build the ancestral tomb in its original place.”

I broke out in a cold sweat and felt a little sick. None of us spoke. After a while, Uncle Three asked, “Did they need a bridal room?”(1)

“We don’t need to know the details,” Uncle Two said in a leisurely manner. “These are all just my theories, so I want to look at the genealogical record to see if I can find any clues to prove them. Now it seems that this kind of speculation is still possible. I estimate that the An Shi discovered in the well is the corpse in the nameless coffin. Even though He Shi was called the concubine, she was actually the first wife, so both coffins had to go into the ancestral tomb. But this thing is too strange, so—”

“If it were me, I wouldn’t want anyone to know,” Uncle Three said.

“Then according to the feng shui master, isn’t the shadow formed by the snails the fierce ghost of the ancient corpse?” I suddenly felt a chill on my back.

“No!” Uncle Two put down the genealogical record, “So-called fierce ghosts and terrible monsters are unfounded. They were just a product of the Qing dynasty at that time. People believed in such things during those times, but how can we believe in them now?”

<Extra 1.21> <Table of Contents><Extra 1.23>


TN Notes:

(1) Tiffany said Uncle Three wanted to know whether Shan Cheng Gong needed to have sex with the corpse when he made the decision to marry the ghost wife. (Yuck lol)


Updated 12/4/2021


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