China Elevator Stories
Inviting ghosts into our home
I put my umbrella onto the balcony outside my apartment in Shenzhen to let it dry.
At the end of March 2014, the Guangdong region is hit by heavy rainstorms. One day after coming back home in the evening, I put my drenched umbrella onto the balcony to let it dry. But seeing that it almost gets carried away by heavy winds, I decide to put the open umbrella into the living room to let it dry.
When my husband comes home a bit later, the first thing he does is to take the umbrella from the floor and close it. He says: “We have this belief in China that you can’t put an open umbrella into your home. It would mean that you’re inviting ghosts into your house.”
When I ask him about it another time, he explains: “A living person has a shadow. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, the ghosts of people who have died look like people without shadows. If you open an umbrella in your home, there’s a shadow beneath it. The umbrella would work as an entrance – a ghost would use the shadow beneath the umbrella like a door, using it to come into your home.”
Have you ever heard of this superstition?