Chinese New Year is close—February 10 this year—and is a reminder that things are sometimes similar and yet very different in other parts of the world. Other cultures have their own paranormal creatures and legends, some of which are familiar to us and some of which are quite unique. It’s a change of pace to look beyond the borders of our own cultures.
The huli jing is the legendary Chinese fox, able to transform into human shape when it becomes very old. In China, the fox was a part of certain folk religions and had a far more prominent profile in paranormal tales than it does in most Western cultures. The vampire makes an appearance in Chinese culture, as the jiangshi. The ways to ward off a jiangshi are very different those used on vampires of the Bram Stoker variety. Stories of ghosts, spirits, and possession abound throughout Chinese mythology.
It’s a great deal of fun for us to delve into the wealth of tales to be found in other cultures and discover how things have been imagined differently there. Whether its the tragedy of a lover’s spirit haunting another body to deliver a message to their beloved or the sly romance of a fox-shifter wooing an unwitting prince, there are many stories for us to find if we stop and look outside what is familiar to us.
Reading about the huli jing has certainly given us some ideas...
Anah Crow and Dianne Fox write sci-fi, paranormal, and contemporary queer romance for Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and Amber Allure. They’ve been writing together for more than 10 years. You can find them on the web at anahcrowdiannefox.com and on Twitter at @anahcrow and @diannefox.