The chiang-shih is the Chinese version of the vampire. In Chinese belief, each person has two souls, a superior or rational soul and an inferior irrational soul. The superior soul could leave a sleeping body and appear as the body's double as it roamed about.
It could also possess and speak through the body of another. However, if something would happen to the disembodied soul during its journey, its body would suffer. The inferior soul, on the other hand, was called p'ai or p'o and was that which inhabited the body of a fetus during pregnancy and often lingered in the bodies of the dead. It was thought to preserve the corpse. If the p'ai was strong enough, it could preserve and inhabit a corpse for a length of time, using the body to serve its needs. The body animated by the p'ai was called a chiang-shih.
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