Selling salt at the cemetery: A ghostly ritual to get rich

The more cultured among our readers will probably have heard of certain… methods to obtain material riches by enlisting the help of supernatural entities. Some of them are fairly well-known – asking spirits for 4D numbers, rearing a toyol, worshipping Kuman Thong (Thai ‘golden boy’ statues), the list goes on.

If you’re Chinese or you’ve been to Thailand before, you’ve defo seen these Kuman Thong statuettes before. Img from Wikimedia Commons

And during his annual Halloween horror content binge, this writer came across something that’s similar, yet different to the practices mentioned earlier: selling salt at a cemetery. Most Malaysians we’ve spoken to haven’t heard of this ritual, but apparently, it’s a classic in Singapore.

Here’s how it works.


You have to stay in a cemetery from midnight until sunrise… alone

In the silence. Img from Foursquare.

Before you head out to your local cemetery to peddle your salt, there are three things you have to first prepare:

  1. Enough salt for all your ‘customers’ (in packs)
  2. A wide brimmed hat
  3. A piece of tarp or cloth to lay out your packs of salt on

With everything in hand, you’re good to go. It’s best if you arrived at your chosen cemetery before 12am, because you must be there by the stroke of midnight, and you can’t bring anyone with you. Once you’re there, try to set up your ‘stall’ beneath a tree. The tree acts as a landmark for the spirits, so to speak. Unfold your piece of tarp or cloth, lay out your packs of salt nicely, put on your hat, sit down, and wait. If all of that sounds easy to you, you’re right. That was the easy part. The difficult part comes later.

And as you sit in the dark graveyard with only the sound of the wind in your ears, you’ll hear a rustling in the grass, or a scraping in the dirt. Eventually, your first customer will come knocking, accompanied by the smell of roadkill. You’ll see a trembling hand, with darkened skin and rotting flesh, come into view from under the brim of your hat.

Img from IGN.

Do not look up. Keep your gaze lowered for as long as you’re conducting your business.

Now, gently place a pack of salt in your ‘customer’s’ outstretched palm, and you’ll receive your payment in dirt, dried grass, dead insects, and/or half-burnt joss paper. More customers will come, and just repeat the process. At some point, you might hear voices whispering in your ear, or the sound of a baby cooing. You’ll be tempted to look up but resist any of your urges to do so. What happens if you look up, fall asleep, or leave before sunrise? No one knows. We’re guessing nobody’s done any of those things and survived to tell the tale.


You have a week to spend the money

When the first rays of sunlight appear on the horizon, pack up your belongings with your head bowed, and walk out of the cemetery without looking back. Upon reaching home, you’ll find that the ‘payment’ you’ve received in the cemetery is now in the form of cash. While we’re not entirely sure how much you’ll actually get, some people say they’ve earned thousands in one night. Here’s the catch, though: supposedly, you have to spend all of it within a week.

This writer wanted to try the ritual out, and he went to a cemetery in Petaling Jaya a few nights ago, but no dice. The gates were locked tight, and there was no way he could scale the cemetery’s walls. No way to get past the guard dogs either – they’re arguably scarier than any ghost. These security measures were probably put in place after the cemetery got heavily vandalized a few years ago. Shame.

If any of y’all reading this are in charge of a cemetery, let us know, and we’ll give the ritual a try to see whether it works or not. Happy Halloween!

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