An urban legend about a ghost ordering takeout has been one of the most retold ghost stories in Hong Kong for a while now. And according to some of the sorcerers, we can trace the origin of the story back to a real thing that happened. 

One of the more famous urban legends in Hong Kong is the story about the ghost that ordered takeout from the same restaurant, 鬼叫餐, in Chinese. 

The story most likely started out in the 1950s in a post war Hong Kong. A young man was working in Chiu Yong Kee, a cha chaan teng restaurant and delivered food in Yau Ma Tei (油麻地). 

The Ghost Money

He was ordered out after a food order came by phone and he headed out to a nearby condo around Leighton Road. When he came to the door, he knocked, and the door opened just slightly. A hand came out and gave him the money for the food. The young man checked the money and went back to the restaurant. 

When the owner counted the money for the register later that night he saw that it was ghost money in the register, small sheets of paper Chinese people burn as offerings to the dead. The owner thought it was the young man that had scammed him and stolen from the register and told him so. His employee refused that it was him and promised he didn’t take the money, it had to be the people at the nearby condo. The owner forgave him. 

The next day the same thing happend. They got the call, and a hand from the door gap gave him the money. He double checked them, and everything seemed fine. But when he returned to the restaurant they had turned to ghost money again. 

The third day the owner decided to go by himself when they got another order from the condo. The same thing happened and the owner became sure that they had to be professional scammers, so he called the police.

The Dead Mahjong Players

The neighbors had also noticed the sound of people gathering in the apartment, and when they peeked in they saw the shapes of men playing Mahjong in the dark night. That wasn’t an uncommon sight, but what was horrifying thought, was that they all looked like they were missing their heads.

When the police came around there was no one answering, and they ended up knocking the door down. Inside they found four decomposing bodies around a Mahjong table. The food containers from the restaurant were next to them. 

When they examined the bodies, they found out they had died from carbon monoxide poisoning, and had been dead for some time and wouldn’t have been alive to take the deliveries from the restaurant. After further examination though, it did really look like they had gotten their food in their bodies after their death. 

The Truth Behind the Story

Unlike many urban legends, there seems to be a thing that happened that transformed into what is now known as the takeout ghost. Although the origin of the story was very different. 

On March 6th in 1953, it was reported in the newspaper that  a group of people were playing Mahjong in an apartment when one of the participants saw an extra hand join in the game that didn’t belong to anyone. They all got frightened and ran from the place. 

Neighbors heard about what happened and the story spread to the rest of the city. According to the news, in the end there was a crowd of more than a thousand people who came to the area to see for themselves if the place really was haunted or not. In the end the police had to come and disperse the gathering crowd. They also launched an investigation into what happened in the apartment. 

According to the police investigation, it was all a hoax made by an evicted tenant with a grudge to his former landlord. As revenge, he spread a rumor that the apartment was haunted and the rumor grew so much that even the neighbors thought it was true. 

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