Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors.
In the Chinese fairy tale “Sung Ting-po Catches a Ghost,” the protagonist stumbles across a ghost while heading to market in the city of Yüan, and tricks the ghost into believing he, too, has crossed over into the ghostly realm. Along the way, it’s revealed that above all else, ghosts fear human saliva. Sung Ting-po manages to wrangle the ghost all the way to the market, and when he drops it on the ground, it turns into a sheep. In order to be sure the ghost doesn’t change form again, Sung Ting-po spits on it, and comes out 1,500 coins richer.
In the long-running TV show Supernatural, salt is used extensively as a means of not only dissipating ghosts, but also entrapping them and even torturing them (as vaguely seen above). The lore behind salt affecting ghosts is a rather fuzzy one, and some have guessed that it was born out of Medieval knowledge that since salt can preserve a body, or meat, it must also affect significantly the beings that continue to live on after that flesh has bailed on living. Other innovations in the show: salted bullets. Now, I wouldn’t mind one of those at the dining room table.
First seen in the 1984 film Ghostbusters, this ghostbusting tool, as wielded by Harold Ramis’ Dr. Egon Spengler, is a portable particle accelerator capable of holding a ghost in stasis so that it can be dropped into a trap. Unlike simple spitting, it seems like the proton pack/Neutrona Wand is capable of causing a great deal of harm to its user as well, especially if one turns it to 500,000 MHz, or, even worse, cross the streams. Stay tuned to the all-female reboot of the franchise to see more proton packs in action.
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Fairy Tale Review Managing Editor Joel Hans.