One of my favorite things about travelling in Asia is the ‘Magick’ that seems to surround you at all times, something I enjoy, even if I don’t necessarily buy into it in its entirety. While here in England, ghosts are, in general, paid little thought in the average day. Elsewhere in the World. Things can be very different. So that while in my home country, openly admitting to believing in ghosts may well lead to being mocked, openly, in turn. In other cultures, the existence of all manner of other worldly entities is taken as a given, a belief that can, have a very real affect on the lives of those surrounded by these ‘spirits’.
In Hong Kong, ‘Hongza’ (Haunted Houses), provide a perfect example of how belief in other-worldly entities, most commonly in the form of spirits of the dead, or ghosts, can affect peoples daily lives. Hongza, according to superstition, is a home in which a previous resident has died of ‘unnatural circumstances’. And it’s believed that these now deceased unfortunates continue to reside within their properties as ghosts, passing on their bad luck to those who move in after.
However, while tales of haunted houses exist the world over, in Hong Kong, belief in the detrimental affects of living within a Hongza are so strong, that homes, and properties labelled Hongza, have historically been very difficult to sell, or rent. With Hong Kong’s haunted houses selling, as standard, for upto 40% less than an un-inflicted property of the same standard. Something that foreign investors, and those willing to share their homes with these tormented spirits, have learned to take advantage of. Snapping up massive savings, at a time when the cost of property in Hong Kong (at time of writing) is higher than ever.
To legally be classed as a Hongza, the previous owner must have died in one of three ways: murder, suicide, or in a bad accident. With one example being that of the apartment formerly inhabited by a professional footballer, who weighed down with gambling debts, and unable to cope, threw himself to his death below, from the 36th floor. Forever transforming the apartment in which he'd lived into a Hongza, and adding to the increasing number of properties which many Hong Kong natives, would prefer to avoid.