Liao Zhai Zhi Yi, or Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, is a collection of nearly five hundred mostly supernatural tales published during the early Qing Dynasty. 6 stories are selected in this 36 episode series.
On his way for a delivery, Ning Cai Chen met a beautiful woman, Xiao Qian, in the woods. She asked him to stay with her for the night and he did. Unbeknownst to him Xiao Qian was a fox demon who seduced men into staying and sucked their soul while they were sleeping. Fortunately for Ning, he was rescued by the Maoshan taoist priest, Yan Chi Xia. Ning's near death experience didn't deter him from falling in love with Xiao Qian. Instead, he tried to save her. He found out that Xiao Qian was controlled by Lao Lao, a tree demon who used Xiao Qian to gather men's soul. Because Xiao Qian failed to obtain Ning's soul, Lao Lao punished her by marrying her to Heshen Lao Yao, a powerful skeleton demon. Ning, with the help of Yan, planned to crash the wedding and save Xiao Qian.
In the realm of the dead, there were four judges. One of the judges, Lu, disagreed with others as to the punishment for Bai Yang's father, who was executed for selling fake drugs. Judge Lu believed that the father was only a fool and not inherently evil. If he were smarter, he would not have fallen for the fake drug scam, which led to innocent people's death and his own. To test this theory, he and his colleague made a bet to switch the heart of a fool, Zhu Er Dan, to see if he would do good or evil with his newfound intelligence.
The smarter Zhu Er Dan witnessed Bai Yang's fiancè, Zhang Xiao Man, getting attacked and killed in the woods. Instead of trying to save her, he waited till she was dead and asked Judge Lu to switch his wife's head with the beautiful Zhang Xiao Man's head. Unwilling to resign to a lose bet, Judge Lu fulfilled Zhu Er Dan's request in the hope that Zhu Er Dan would do good in the future. Zhang Xiao Man arrived at the realm of the dead. She refused to be reincarnated because she didn't have a head. Being such, Judge Lu banished her to the depth of hell. Bai Yang discovered his fiancè's ill fate, and with the help of Dong Yue heaven lord, he went to the realm of dead and saved his fiancè. Finally, evil got it's punishment, and good got it's reward.
One night, Wang An Xu encountered a woman who looked identical to his deceased lover. He returned home and painted her image on a canvas made of skin. Several days later, he met the woman again and brought her to his den and hid her existence from his wife.
Whenever he's at home with his wife, he wanted to be with the woman. So on the night he supposed to be at home, he sneaked out to the den. He had planned to surprised the woman. Instead, he was shocked by what he saw. She was painting her disfigured face. The woman who looked identical to his deceased lover, Mei San Niang, is his deceased lover. She had died in the fire and came back to haunt him.
About 46 years ago, Xiao Cui's mother was injured in a thunderstorm. However she was saved by Wang Yuan Feng's father. 46 years later, Xiao Cui is sent to where that man lives and help his son have a future, due to his retarded abilities. In the end they fall in love and marry each other, live very happy until the snake demon comes in and puts a spell on him, making him smart and normal, but also evil. Finally, Xiao Cui manages to save Yuan Feng with the "Night Crystal Ball".
Once, there was a wealthy family who had a beautiful daughter named A Bao. An ingenuous and dedicated veterinarian named Sun Zi Chu encountered A Bao while going home one day and was so smitten with her, his spirit flew home with her. Fortunately, a Maoshan taoist priest saved his spirit. Days later, Sun met A Bao again. They spent a whole day together and fell in love. They agreed to meet the next day. However, when next day arrived, A Bao forgot everything about Sun. Sun probed into the reason and discovered that A Bao had developed a strange condition where sleep would wiped away her memory.
As it turned out, A Bao's memory lost was a curse placed on her by Chai Shao An, a man A Bao rejected. Chai was furious that A Bao chose Sun over him and bended on sabotage. He didn't stop there, he also kidnap her. Luckily, A Bao's loyal parrot alerted Sun. He and Maoshan taoist priest broke the curse and rescued her from Chai's control. With this ordeal behind them, Sun proposed marriage to A Bao.
Chai, again, tried to sabotage by putting a death curse on Sun, who immediately died of sudden illness. The grief stricken A Bao committed suicide there after. When they both arrived at the realm of the dead, they begged the god of the dead to show them justice for their untimely death.
Tao Wang San's world is full of shortcuts. If the shortest way to become rich is to marry the rich, then he would do just that, even if it means he has to live in a haunted house to do so. No amount of severed heads, flying furnitures, or ghostly pranks is going to scare him away. His unwaivering determination persuaded Xiao Xie and Qiu Rong, the resident ghosts, into letting him stay in their domain. For a while, him and the ghosts not only live in peace, they also help one another. However, their peaceful cooperation is shattered when Qiu Rong regains the memory of how she died. The rich woman Tao is courting is the great-granddaughter of the man Qiu Rong loved. She and the man's love was not accepted by society, so they decided to commit suicide. She died, but the man betrayed her and lived. After a hundred year of forgotten memory, Qiu Rong remembers the source of her hatred and why she is trapped in the realm of living.
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