Taoist Sorcery, Black Magic, Witchcraft and the Paranormal.
(To See Hungry Ghosts)
Written by SPI on 23 August 2008
SPI members on Sarinbum beach in the ritual experiment
Are hungry ghosts real? How do they look
like? Can a Taoist magic ritual really let us to go down to hell
and see them?
In summary, we observed some relations
between the paranormal phenomena and hypnosis. But some are
still unexplained. Also our food tasting experiment yielded new
Journey to Hell Experiment
On Saturday, 23 August 2008, SPI invited
Master Wilson (from KL, Malaysia www.taoistsecret.com) to
Singapore and conduct an experiment in a special place for a
The special purpose is to verify how hungry
ghosts look like in hell during Seventh month. Do they receive
the offerings and return to Hell? Is Hell now really empty after
the hell gates opened and the ghosts roamed out to this world?
The special place we chose is at Sarinbum
beach that is a reputably haunted place with many violent deaths
given its gruesome history of WW2 Japanese landing site.
Historical record has it that the British spilled out the oil to
the sea; lit up and burnt alive the Japanese soldiers who were
swimming half way in Johor Straits.
With such a battlefield history of violent
deaths resulted from an unethical invasion, the place should
theoretically be heavily invested with many hungry ghosts.
Master Wilson commented that this is the
first time ever that such journey-to-hell ritual was
conducted outdoor, during Seventh month in order to meet hungry
ghosts. Usually this ritual was conducted in a Chinese temple,
with the participants sitting on chairs and in front of a deity
By the magic which he learnt from his
and successful conducted many times in Malaysia, he is confident
that it could be conducted outdoor without constraints. He told
us the most important thing is the power of the secret spell and
citing the names of the appropriate deities – he joked later
that this is similar to using login name and password nowadays
to gain “access” to the power from the other realm.
Other Taoist masters which SPI interviewed
claimed strongly that it is impossible for a live human to be
sent down to hell (of course with the exception of only when he
died). Journey to hell, Master Wilson described this ritual is
similar to opening a portal which one’s soul is unable to fully
‘experience’ with all his senses of the happening of the other
world. He emphasized that it can be taken as just an illusion,
and advised participants don’t take it too seriously.
proceeding of the ritual
30 SPI participants were selected out of 50
people who attended the seminar, for the journey-to-hell
experiment. They naturally form a good mix of gender and ages
and different backgrounds.
The set up of the ritual is to make a fire
ring about 6 meters in diameters. Three batches of ten
participants were seated in the center. Master Wilson said at
one round its at best if only includes 10 people, because if too
many people it will be difficult to manage.
At the beginning, Master Wilson prayed to
the earth god at the beach as a courtesy of the informing the
surrounding natural spirits. Every participant was blind-folded
with a red-cloth that is embedded with a secret talisman inside.
Wilson said the secret talisman is very important as this is
like the ‘coach ticket’ identifying to the hell guards that the
soul of this participant will be sent by the ritual magic to
hell, and to be allowed entry into that particular dimension.
The ritual is actually very simple. Wilson
was in-charge, leading and guiding the participants. But he
needed two assistants to continuously chanting two prayers – one
for the entry to hell, the other for exit back to this world.
Repeatedly the entry prayer was chanted, as
the ritual started.
Wilson has instructed the participants to
raise their hands as soon as they began to have a vision of a
light, like light from the end of a tunnel. Then he would walk
in front of the participant and move a bunch of joss-sticks in
circle. At the same time, he would verbally interact with the
participant by asking him/her what he/she saw. The participant
replied while being blind-folded, describing the scene of the
When I asked Wilson later, why his hand
needs to move in circles with his joss-sticks in front of the
participant’s face, he said that he was actually drawing a
secret talisman in air (as a hand gesture) – and that is the
ultimate secret force that enables the participant’s soul to
travel into the other world. The hand gesture is like a secret
seal of authority that commands the hell guards to move the
participant along to hell.
Thus to sum up, the following ritual items
are required in order of importance to move the participants’
souls to the underworld.
The hand gesture
The talisman that is embedded in the red-color
The talisman that is burnt over the water and to
be drunk by the participants (it is called activation
The entry and exit prayers that needed to be
chanted by the assistant masters during the journey
Likewise, the following factors are mostly
importantly needed from the participants themselves to decide
whether his journey to the other world is successful or failed.
The sincerity, willingness and confidence towards
The level of concentration
Date, time and environment
Wilson commented that there is no guarantee
that this ritual will work for everybody every time. Some had
tried for a long time several times but never get to see
anything. Some however can see light just a few minutes soon
after the ritual started.
The secret talismans used by Master Wilson
Three rounds of the ritual were conducted,
each have 10 participants on site. The first batch has a success
rate of 2 girls out of 10 people being able to have a vision of
hell. The second round success rate increased to 3 out of 10.
The final round we achieved up to 5 out of 10. The success rate
was increasing, why?
In these three rounds of experiments,
everything else was kept unchanged except the tune of the chant.
It was deliberately done so for studying the relation of
hypnosis effect and the subjects. In the first round, the chant
was read out word-for-word with a mechanical voice tune with
minimum emotion. For the same prayers, the second round was
chanted in a somewhat hypnotizing tone like trying to induce
people into a trance. The final round, the pronunciation of the
text was blurred out, but purposely sang it into a prominent
As for the vision of what the participants
have seen, below is a selected list of individuals’ accounts
that are relatively interesting:
Yuiiko Tan, female, the first to be able to
see vision after about three minutes the ritual began. She saw
first a group of blue lights (more than 8). The blue lights
which like torpedoes with a face and big eyes, were trying to
whisper to Yuiiko, asking her to come in now. Yuiiko took a step
forward, saw a door with dragon motif on, immersed in very
bright light. Behind the door is a bridge like that in our
Chinese Garden. The water pond under the bridge has beautiful
lotus flowers, big and white with some pinkish color.
Surprisingly Yuiiko said this place looks
very familiar to her. When her grandfather passed away, she used
to have a dream (when 4 years old) about her grandpa brought her
down to the underworld for a tour. And that place was exactly
the one that she went before. During the ritual experiment,
Yuiiko even saw items that used to belong to her grandfather for
example playing chess board, bowls and glasses that he used. But
this time she didn’t get to see her grandfather. There were
people there, but less than last time she saw. You can contact
Yuiiko for more details (hp: 93294331)
Yuiiko in the ritual
Yuiiko being the first participant who can have the vision
Other participants’ vision in the
underworld can be generalized by features as below:
a very cold place, but with ominous bright light
in the sky (like fluorescent light) that is turned on 24 hours a
day. No sight of sun however.
a peaceful ancient Chinese town, with houses and
streets in the medieval times.
there are people dressed in Chinese medieval
clothing, walking leisurely around. But their faces are abstract
which you can’t really identify their facial features. Some of
these people are trading, selling soya bean drinks and buns
a comfortable place after all
Surprisingly they all have seen about the
same things with only few who had the following differences:
One guy, aged about early 20, said he was riding a
horse (Wilson interpreted it as he has a very good karma, or
reincarnated from an important deity; so he has this special
One Nepal lady, aged between mid-30’s and early
40’s said that the light she saw was so bright that first she
thought she played cheat by peeping through the bottom hole of
the eye-fold. When she was seeing the light, she thought
somebody was shinning a torch light on her eyes. So later she
adjusted the eye-fold by pulling it down a bit more and covered
the gaps. But surprisingly she continued to see the light only
gets brighter (which doesn’t make sense as she pulled further
down the eye-fold). She was frightened and immediately took off
the eye-fold. There was this moment about a second she still saw
the very bright white light after she took off the eye-fold.
Over the moment, her vision returned to reality which is dark in
a beach and nobody was shinning any light on her. Her ritual
experiment was interrupted then.
Master Wilson together with two assistants chanting the text
Overall, all the participants who can see
visions of the underworld saw about the same thing. The vision
lasts for about several minutes, as Wilson said it is for their
safety not to stay for too long. He used to know some people,
who stayed too long, get too emotional and do not want to come
back out. Hence it became a grave problem.
There are some rules regarding the ritual
anyway, to be obeyed by the participants:
Always follow the instruction by the master
Do not touch or take anything down there
Do not speak or respond to anybody who talks to
Always remind oneself it is only an illusion
though it will look very real
Don’t cast a mindset of wanting to stay there
Don’t get too emotional especially when see
his/her deceased family members or lovers
In a layman term, Wilson described that the
feeling is like those Role-playing 3D game which you can
navigate around a place, but you cannot see yourself.
Master Wilson was briefing the participants prior to the ritual
at Sarimbun beach
Hell? Where are the Hungry Ghosts?
The participants were surprised on how come
they cannot see hungry ghosts, and “hell” is such a nice place.
Wilson explained that the dimension which
the participants went into, is actually a temporary place (some
religions call it Limbo) where the souls stay before they get on
with their journey – reincarnation or transforming to an
immortal – after they died and parted from this physical world.
In Chinese this place is said to be temporarily resided by
ghosts of ‘中阴身’
that means those who had just recently died – fresh ghosts.
Then how come no hungry ghost?
Wilson said he tried, but not successful to
bring the participants enter the hell. The explanation from him
is that Hell is a very restricted place for human souls – only
those who are condemned would allow access in and out, like only
prisoners can go prisons.
Participants in the middle of the ritual
In other words, even with the strongest
talisman Wilson has (as far as he knows) one cannot easily enter
into hell for just a visit. He said this tallies with the
Buddhist hell concept where the hell is a place that has one of
the underworld army guarding, like a prison which doesn’t allow
anyone anyhow drop for a visit without a valid reason.
Nevertheless, he tried, though
Wilson then told us that this kind of
‘journey-to-hell’ ritual was originated in about 15BC in China,
where an emperor wanted to meet his deceased queen very
desperately. A shaman wizard created this magic spell for
allowing the emperor to visit the hell to see his family
members. And that place (limbo) however is only for those who
died of a pleasant death, usually from either a noble background
or with relatively good karma to temporary reside.
The bad guys who did very sinful things are
subject to Hell, where usually ritual magic could not easily
gained access to. Rules are rules that cannot be easily broken
even in hell, strictly no visitor. This might have created the
legend of Ulambana in Buddhism and the story of Mu Lan whose
filifialty touched the heart of a Buddha, hence the legend of
the merciful one month hungry ghost holidays for the suffering
Although Wilson is Taoist priest, he is
earning his PhD in psychology in November 2008. His current
research topic is on Memory Regression Therapy which he finds
many similarities to the tradition Taoist ritual magic of
Our special guests, Mr Tony Kern and Ms Genevieve Woo, with
SPI proceeding to Sarimbun beach for the ritual experiment
Scientific theories of
Out of this experiment, we observed
interestingly a few points which are summarized below:
The reciting of the prayer text is like
inducing people into a trance; this is further testified in the
experiment when round 2 and round 3 of rituals in which more
rhythmic chanting was used, then more participants could easily
succeed in getting the vision
Blind-folding the eyes with a hard object
of a folded talisman strip can cause hallucination. You can try
close your eyes, use your fingers to press on the eye-balls, you
see tiny bits of lights
Subconsciously when a person believes into
the ritual, the dark environment, plus the trance-like chanting
enables one to “visualize” things that he/she wants to see. The
pre-occupied concept of “hell” being in Chinese decoration is
hidden in sub-consciousness, will fill into the picture in one’s
mind, making him to see scenes of hells playback from his
This typical scene of hell in Chinese style
has already been implanted in our minds in Chinese community
from sources of information since young.
Interestingly during the experiment there
were three Caucasians who tried, but all failed to visualize
such picture of hell.
The master was interactively guiding the
participants to see during the tour of the underworld. This
technique is very similar to hypnosis who regressively recall
the hidden memories out from the participants’ minds. The
hypnotist guides the subject to bring out the pre-exist memories
from the mind, and project the image out as if a real vision
really could be seen.
Lastly blind-folding is necessary as it
shuts off the visual information, making room for the images to
appear in our mind from our subconscious memories.
Food samples – plan egg cakes like those used for offering to
We separated them into 2 samples – one to let the ghost eat,
another we keep aside
In the past years, SPI used to conduct food
tasting experiment to test whether food after offered to ghost
will taste differently.
Our results in the past showed it was
rather random – in other words, there is no significant
difference in the favours of the foods that were offered and
unoffered to the ghosts.
This year, however, we found there are two
fundamental mistakes we made in our past experiments. One is the
food sample used was wrong; we used fried fish ball, fish cake,
pork meat cakes (Lo Xiang) for the experiment. These foods carry
many and complex favours with pepper and spices, and their taste
was relatively strong. The other mistake was we tested only one
part of the sample (e.g. a random cut out of a meat, assuming
the taste distributed evenly).
This year we repeated the same experiment
but using a consistent food sample – just as a typical egg cake
with simple favours – sweetness and fragrance of egg.
One sample of food was offered to the
ghosts summoned by Master Wilson from the water at Sarinbum
beach at midnight during hungry ghost month. Incense and a pile
of burning paper offerings were set aside near the cake samples
put on the beach. (we used 4 cakes for offering, 4 for control
samples without being offered. They are equal in size, and
bought in one same box, likely to be manufactured in the same
batch. They should be quite identical).
In the food tasting experiment, we let our
participants (30) tried both samples in turn, without telling
them which is which in advance.
But we separated this tasting process into
two steps. The first step, we let them taste the “outer” layer
of the cake. The second round, we dig into the center of the
cake, and let them eat the inner part of the cake.
Very interestingly, the first round has a
significant tendency of results that show most people (up to
90%) said the offered cake outer layer tastes blunter than that
of the control sample. The control sample without being offered
carries full favour.
But in the second round, when we dig out
the inner part of the cakes of each sample, our participants has
almost the same percentage (90%) that they are equally sweet!
Master Wilson prepared a ghost feeding ritual, invited ghosts to
eat the cake
He said ghost eat them in the form of sniffing off the taste
away as a cultural belief.
We speculated that the loss
of favour of the offered cakes to the ghosts is due to exposing
the food to the open air. And the smoking effect by the incense
and offerings also are responsible for destroying the favours of
the cakes. Smoke in air actually carries many ash particles,
which can be examined under a micro-scope that they clot on the
out surface of the cake.
So this additional ‘coat’ of ash when eaten
with the cake will make our taste bud sense the loss of favour,
especially in terms of sweetness.
But the inner part of the cake under the
surface, was relatively unaffected by the pollution of the tiny
ash by the smoke from burning incense and paper offering. It
still tastes same level of sweetness as the unoffered samples.
Strange apparitions were captured, albeit some said it is just
Here's the link to
Photos and Updates
up and photos courtesy of www.spi.com.sg)
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