The Chongqing Business Daily is reporting an unpleasant story of a Chinese man applying burning cotton to his granddaughter’s body in order to exercise her of evil ghosts.
The girl had been turning gradually yellow after she was born on July the 5th. The condition, however, was typical neonatal jaundice and not uncommon.
The ritual involved inserting burning cotton threads into the girl’s nose and laying them over her stomach. She was admitted to hospital and released on the 21st.
“The girl could have died,” said Wang Yongming, the baby’s doctor. “If the burns were infected, the girl could be killed by blood poisoning that normally follows serious infections.”
The use of burning cotton to rebuke ghosts is not unique to China. Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs* describes how cotton can be planted or scatted in the yard to keep ghosts away and how cotton balls soaked in vinegar can be placed on windowsills to keep evil at bay.
In Pure Spirit
How should authorities react in cases like this? Should the grandfather be kept away from the child? What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done in order to try and keep evil away?
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