Variations: Kitsune, Kumiho
In China, a type of vampiric spirit known as a huli jing (fox fairy) is invisible in its grave by day, but at night it becomes apparent, and its bushy fox tail is easily seen unless great measures are taken to hide it. Each evening it rises from its grave and shape-shifts into an appropriate form in order to find its prey, preferring to look from a perch up on a rooftop. Huli jing are particularly fond of the life-energy of scholars because of their virtue (see ENERGY VAMPIRE). It seduces them, and during sexual intercourse, drains them of their life-energy. One of its hunting tactics is to shape-shift into a person who has died a long time ago and return to their home, haunting it.
Huli jing can shape-shift into a number of forms, including a beautiful woman, a scholar, or an old man. It can live to be over 1,000 years old, has the ability to see miles away, and can pass through solid walls as if they were not there. It has been known to possess a person and drive him insane, as well as bestow the gift of flight onto a person who worships it.
The vampiric spirit can be bribed with offerings of food and incense. Also a potion can be made and consumed to keep the huli jing away. To make it, take prayers that have been written on rice paper, burn them to ashes, and mix them into tea.
Unfortunately for the huli jing, all of its powers reside in its tail, so if it is cut from its body, it becomes powerless. A female huli jing can be easily tricked into drinking too much alcohol, which will cause it to reveal itself for what it truly is. From time to time, a female will fall in love and take a human as its husband; it will even have children with him. It will tire of the relationship and leave as soon as its tail is discovered. It should be noted that if someone attempts to cut the tail off and fails, the huli jing will haunt him and his entire family line forever.
Source: Brill, Nan N?, 97; Jones, Evil in Our Midst,
15861; Leonard, Asian Pacific American Heritage, 452;
Pomfret, Chinese Lessons, 143