Chiang-Shih

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The Chiang-Shih (or Kiang Shi, Kuang-shi, or Jiang Shi) is the Chinese vampire derived from the believe in two souls. Each person had a superior rational soul and an inferior irrational soul. The former had the form of the body and upon separation could appear as its exact double. The superior soul could leave the sleeping body and wander the countryside. For a short period, it could even possess the body of another person and speak through it.  If accidents befell the wandering soul, it would have negative repercussions on the body.

The inferior soul (the p’ai or p’o), was the soul that inhabited the body of a fetus during pregnancy and often lingered in the body of a deceased person, leading to the unnatural preservation of the body. When the p’ai left the body, it disintegrated. The p’ai could inhabit the body for a long time and could use the body for its own gain, but only if the p’ai was strong.

The body when animated by a strong p’ai was considered the Chiang-Shih. It appeared normal and was not recognized as a vampire until some action gave it away. Sometimes, the body would have a hideous appearance and a green phosphorescent glow; when in this form, the Chiang-Shih would develop serrated teeth and long talons.

The Chiang-Shih lacked the powers of Slavic vampires. It could not rise from the grave. The transformation to vampire had to occur before burial.

The Chinese vampire was nocturnal which limited their activity during the day. It, also, had trouble crossing running water, but the Chiang-Shih was very strong and vicious. There are detailed reports of attacks upon living people, where their heads and limbs were ripped off by the Chiang-Shih vampire.

The vampire often absorbed the qi (life’s essence) of the living.

It’s not uncommon to hear the Chiang-Shih as the hopping vampire, as it commonly moved around by hopping with its arms outstretched. Overtime, the vampire may master the art of flying and gain the ability to change into a wolf.

In order to ward off the Chinese Chiang-Shih vampire, garlic kept them away and salt had a corrosive effect on the vampire’s skin. Loud noises offended them, and thunder would occassional kill them. You could literally sweep a vampire into its resting spot with a broom. Iron filings, rice, and red peas could be used as barriers to the entry of the vampire and would often be used around a vacant coffin to keep a vampire from taking rest there.

If the vampire reached the age where it could transform and fly, only thunder or a bullet could bring it down. Cremation was the ultimate solution for getting rid of a Chiang-Shih.