In the midst of the old one of the old hutong neighborhoods in Beijing it is a house that is said to be more haunted than others. In the Ming Dynasty a famous female military general used the courtyard of the Dongmianhua Hutong to behead soldiers not following her commands. 

An army of ghosts are believed to haunt one of the old hutong alleys in Beijin  because of the order of their commander, Qin Liangyu (秦良玉), a female general in the Ming Dynasty. 

Qin Liangyu was from Sichuan and is best known for defending the Ming dynasty from the Manchurian army, late in the 17th century. Unlike Mulan who went into battle instead of her father, Qin Liangyu went in place for her husband who died in prison of an illness after being falsely accused.

The Cotton Spinning Soldiers

According to legend she stationed her troops in the Dongmianhua Hutong (东棉花胡同) when she came to Beijing at least three times to aid the capital. The national treasury was empty and she had to make her own money to go to war. By military standards her army belonged to the lord, not the national army, and therefore the emperor didn’t pay the soldiers. So she had to figure out a way herself and the answer was cotton. 

It is said that she ordered her lieutenant soldiers to spin cotton clothes all night to earn money for the military and to pay her soldiers. This is allegedly why the Dongmianhua Hutong was named Cotton Alley after her and is to this day. 

Dongmianhua Hutong South to Jiaodaokouin the Dongcheng District, Beijing. There is however more than one Cotton Alley named after both a cotton market that used to exist and well. 

The Haunted Execution Courtyard

The exact house that are supposedly haunted is the courtyard of No.1 (棉花胡同头条1号). It was known as a haunted house because of the ghosts of the soldiers that haunted the place. The story goes that this was the place where Qin Liangyu beheaded soldiers who violated her discipline, although there really aren’t many historical records of this, it probably wasn’t that uncommon for a commander to give these orders. 

The terror doesn’t stop with the ghost from the headless stories though, as more have died over the years in this house. This was where the writer Lin Baishui was arrested and shot to death after he published writings that criticized the warlords that governed the territory in his time. Perhaps he as well has something to do with the haunted rumors of this place?

Or perhaps the ghost stories come from newer times? There is also a story about one of the last occupants of this particular house that says he burned himself after killing a young girl. Allegedly that is.

The Ghost of Old Beijing Haunting Today

Either way, the house now bears a stigma painted in blood that are hard to wash out. Now the cotton alley and old hutongs in Beijing are slowly swallowed by high rise buildings creeping closer on all corners, and soon, there might not be much left of it. Perhaps except for the ghosts. 

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Qin Liangyu – Wikipedia


棉花胡同名字的来由 – 北京 

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