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#206575 - 11/20/05 07:31 AM mizuko, ghosts and weapons
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Bizarre question...

Just reading about mizuko. These are the spirits of 'unborn' (aborted or miscarried) babies and in Japan there are large "cemeteries" with figurines for the spirits to live in. The parents can then pray and make offerings to the baby's spirit (mizuko).

Apparently it is also not uncommon for families to have figures of a baby on the family altar when the mother-to-be is pregnant, to distract wrathful spirits from attacking the real baby.

Likewise, I have read that puppets were once used for shamanic cleansing, by containing the spirits or ghosts which might be troubling a place.

Now, my question is, does anyone know of any tales where a weapon (for example) might be 'possessed' by a spirit (perhaps it's former owner)?
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#206576 - 11/20/05 03:31 PM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: trevek]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Let me rephrase the question: is there a cultural belief of spirit possession of weapons in Asia?

Any replies that don't conform to this will be edited.


Edited by harlan (11/29/05 08:54 AM)

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#206577 - 11/21/05 08:16 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: harlan]
trevek Offline
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Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Thanks, something like that, but I'd also like examples, please.
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#206578 - 11/21/05 09:01 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: harlan]
ButterflyPalm Offline
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Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Stories of spirit possession in general and of weapons in particular have been told and re-told for generations in the countries of south-east asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand) The weapon most frequently figured is the 'kris' I have a collection of antique Malay weapons, one (a 'tumbok lada')owned by a bodyguard of a sultan in the last century and said to have been used in battle and thus 'tasted' human blood. I've not heard it rattle in the night as stories claimed; the rattling is supposed to happen when it wanted to taste human blood again, or when the owner is in danger.

However, there was one incident of spirit possession involving my late father. No, he was not possessed.

This was how it happened. It was in the mid-sixties.

My father was once in the jungle prospecting for gold. I did not go along because of school. With him were some helpers and an aborigines guide. They had with them heavy prospecting tools, including huge metallic wrenches; those things used to tightened nuts and bolts a few inches in diameter.

One night while sitting around a camp fire after dinner, one of the helpers (an ethnic chinese) went into a trance; violent shaking of the body and uttering incomprehensible words. What he did next was unbelievable. He took hold of a huge metallic wrench and snapped it in two like a matchstick, something no human, however strong, could do.

The experienced aborigines guide knew what it was about and starting talking to the spirit in the aborigines language. My father, being the leader of the group, had to take charge and asked for a translation. The 'spirit' said he resides in a cave behind a waterfall and had a long list of complains about humans, who, 'he' claimed, were too concerned with human affairs and have neglected the spirit world, then took another wrench and broke it as well.

Through the guide, my father asked what did he want to peacefully leave the helper's body. He wanted a sacrifice. Everyone had a sigh of relief; sacrifice could mean a slaughtered animal, usually a white feathered chicken. No, the spirit said; he wanted a human sacrifice. Imagine the terror felt by everyone there. It was night, in the middle of the jungle and miles from civilisation.

My father kept his cool and told the guide to apologise for all the wrongs humans have committed and try to negotiate for an animal sacrifice instead. After some bargaining, the the terms were a few white feathered chickens, some chicken eggs, the burning of 'kemayan' (frankinsense) It was better than expected and though it was dark and dangerous, my father quickly went down to a nearby aborigines village to get those items. The kemayan was a problem; such items were not commonly found in these remote villages. There was no choice but to go back to the camp site, apologise to the spirit and hope for the best. The spirit, to everyone's relief, agreed.

The chickens were slaughtered by cutting the throats and spilling the blood on the ground and the eggs broken. Everyone mumbled a few words of thanks in the Malay language and the possessed worker came out of his trance. When asked, he couldn't remember anything.

This is true and I leave you to form your own opinion.

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#206579 - 11/21/05 05:21 PM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: ButterflyPalm]
trevek Offline
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Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Butterfly Palm, thank you so much. That is a fascinating story.

I had forgotten about the kris, which are of course used in trance dancing too. I knew a wayang kulit dalang who had a magic kris to protect him and his puppets from attack and he said his father had once had to fend off an attack during a show.

Thanks agin.
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#206580 - 11/29/05 11:54 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: trevek]
funstick5000 Offline
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Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 759
Loc: West Yorkshire, England
there is a kung fu cult in china that perform ceremonys were non MA people are possessed by aincent warriors they then perform actual kung fu techniques which they couldn't have known in front of a big fire and shout war crys etc. i saw this on mind, body and kick ass moves though, which isn't the most reliable of sources.
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#206581 - 11/29/05 11:59 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: funstick5000]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Thank you, but this thread is specifically about weapons. I think that it is a specific enough topic due to the Japanese appreciation for the sword.

Religious practices, and folk beliefs on the topic of ghosts/hauntings are another thread.

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#206582 - 11/29/05 12:20 PM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: harlan]
funstick5000 Offline
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Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 759
Loc: West Yorkshire, England
okie doke then the only possessed war thing i can think of is a drum in one of the abbeys/cathedrals of england that beats its-self when england is under attack.
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#206583 - 11/30/05 06:49 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: funstick5000]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
I'd heard of that one, also the fairy flag which one of the Scottish clans had (but maybe that was more magic than possessed).
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#206584 - 11/30/05 09:28 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
This whole topic is summed up in a word 'Kwaidan'. meaning 'Ghost Stories'. The further back in time you look, the more bizzarre and mystical the stories get...sound familiar? it's human nature. and a common theme throughout history for all cultures. Ghost stories help people deal with the reality of death. what better symbol for death than a spirit trapped in a instrument of killing.
Have a look at the movie 'Dreams' by Kurosawa and (appropriately named) 'Kwaidan' by Kobayashi

The tie-in to the cultural aspect of this topic is just Japan's unique way of superstition. Every culture has their own expressions of superstitions. Some of Japan's stories happen to include sword possession.

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#206585 - 11/30/05 11:35 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
"Now, my question is, does anyone know of any tales where a weapon (for example) might be 'possessed' by a spirit (perhaps it's former owner)?"


Edited by harlan (11/30/05 11:36 AM)

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#206586 - 11/30/05 11:44 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
thats exactly the question I was answering to. I was trying to point general directions. but if I am to strickly answer the question...then I'll say: "No. I haven't memorized any such tales."

sorry if you think I'm off topic...if you watch the references I gave, you'll see some pretty good examples of answers to the topic question.

relax. let the thread flow...

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#206587 - 12/04/05 06:18 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: Ed_Morris]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Hi Ed,

actually that is useful information. I'll try to find the movie. Thanks.

Basically I am thinking of writing a fiction based on the idea of object possession. Being a puppeteer i am interested in the use of puppets in possession rites and found the book, "Puppets of Nostalgia", which is about Japanese puppets, very interesting and useful.

My next thought was whether the aforementioned weapon possession was known. All info gratefully accepted.

Thanks to harlan for keeping a close eye.
_________________________
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

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#206588 - 12/04/05 11:32 AM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: trevek]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
...make sure you watch kurasawa's 'dreams'. Look into 'Hina Matsuri' (girl's day doll celebration) and it's history first.
The use of dolls in the purification rites of Shinto is also mentioned in the 1,000 year old book 'Tale of Genji'.

As a puppeteer, you'll be fascinated.

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#206589 - 12/04/05 02:35 PM Re: mizuko, ghosts and weapons [Re: Ed_Morris]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Thanks again.

Trev:-)
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