Wayfarer Ghost Repelling Ritual(客鬼)

Wayfarer Ghost Repelling Ritual

Headword

객귀물리기 ( 客鬼 , Gaekgwimulligi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Worship of Household Gods > Rites and Officiants

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Gaekgwimulligi is a ghost-repelling ritual held at home to heal an urgent symptom or a disease believed to have been caused by a gaekgwi, or wayfarer ghost, who has invaded the household.

Gaekgwi is the haunted wandering spirit of one who has met a tragic death; one whose death did not receive a proper funeral; or one without descendants to memorialize him through annual jesa rites. These wayfarer ghosts are caught between the world of the living and that of the dead. Holding a deep grievance against the world, they will attach themselves to the living at every opportunity and refuse to go away. This results in physical damage in the invaded individual that can cause sudden illnesses, which has to be cured by repelling the gaekgwi, the source of the illness. It is suspected that a wayfarer ghost has invaded one’s body when an individual, who was in a healthy state before leaving home, upon returning shows sudden symptoms of headache, stomach cramps or indigestion, chill or other signs of a cold. Further evidence of a gaekgwirelated disease is found when modern medicine fails to treat or improve the symptoms.

If symptoms are urgent, a repelling ritual is held immediately, but in other cases, it is held when symptoms persist for a given period. Attempts are made to treat early symptoms by applying simple sorcery like having the afflicted person hold a cauldron lid in front of the kitchen deity Jowang, or splashing water on the eaves of the outhouse then collecting the falling drops to be given to the patient to drink. When these methods fail, family members carry out a repelling ritual. A more professional approach is to seek the help of sinhalmeoni, or elderly village sorceress, and in the case of critical illnesses, shamans or professional sorcerers were asked to officiate the ritual.

Gaekgwimulligi is held at dusk. The afflicted person is to be seated or lying down in a room. The officiant swings a kitchen knife around the patient’s head three times while chanting a spell to threaten the ghost. Then she uses the knife to cut three locks of the patient’s hair, which is placed in a gourd bowl and the patient is told to spit three times into the bowl. The hair and saliva symbolize the spirit of the afflicted, or the individual himself. The officiant then turns out the light and leaves the room, scattering salt or red beans on the door as she slams it shut. Stepping out to the courtyard, she slings the knife toward the gate or to the ground outside the gate. If the knife lands with its tip pointed toward the house, it is slung repeatedly to force the ghost out of the house. If it lands with the tip pointed outward, it is deemed that the wayfarer ghost has been expelled.

Wayfarer Ghost Repelling Ritual

Wayfarer Ghost Repelling Ritual
Headword

객귀물리기 ( 客鬼 , Gaekgwimulligi )

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Beliefs > Worship of Household Gods > Rites and Officiants

Writer LeePilyoung(李弼泳)

Gaekgwimulligi is a ghost-repelling ritual held at home to heal an urgent symptom or a disease believed to have been caused by a gaekgwi, or wayfarer ghost, who has invaded the household.

Gaekgwi is the haunted wandering spirit of one who has met a tragic death; one whose death did not receive a proper funeral; or one without descendants to memorialize him through annual jesa rites. These wayfarer ghosts are caught between the world of the living and that of the dead. Holding a deep grievance against the world, they will attach themselves to the living at every opportunity and refuse to go away. This results in physical damage in the invaded individual that can cause sudden illnesses, which has to be cured by repelling the gaekgwi, the source of the illness. It is suspected that a wayfarer ghost has invaded one’s body when an individual, who was in a healthy state before leaving home, upon returning shows sudden symptoms of headache, stomach cramps or indigestion, chill or other signs of a cold. Further evidence of a gaekgwirelated disease is found when modern medicine fails to treat or improve the symptoms.

If symptoms are urgent, a repelling ritual is held immediately, but in other cases, it is held when symptoms persist for a given period. Attempts are made to treat early symptoms by applying simple sorcery like having the afflicted person hold a cauldron lid in front of the kitchen deity Jowang, or splashing water on the eaves of the outhouse then collecting the falling drops to be given to the patient to drink. When these methods fail, family members carry out a repelling ritual. A more professional approach is to seek the help of sinhalmeoni, or elderly village sorceress, and in the case of critical illnesses, shamans or professional sorcerers were asked to officiate the ritual.

Gaekgwimulligi is held at dusk. The afflicted person is to be seated or lying down in a room. The officiant swings a kitchen knife around the patient’s head three times while chanting a spell to threaten the ghost. Then she uses the knife to cut three locks of the patient’s hair, which is placed in a gourd bowl and the patient is told to spit three times into the bowl. The hair and saliva symbolize the spirit of the afflicted, or the individual himself. The officiant then turns out the light and leaves the room, scattering salt or red beans on the door as she slams it shut. Stepping out to the courtyard, she slings the knife toward the gate or to the ground outside the gate. If the knife lands with its tip pointed toward the house, it is slung repeatedly to force the ghost out of the house. If it lands with the tip pointed outward, it is deemed that the wayfarer ghost has been expelled.