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Stacks of ghost money found in claw machine puzzle Taiwanese netizens

Netizen suggests whole machine be burnt as sacrifice so ancestors can win big

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Stacks of ghost cash arranged in claw machine. (Facebook, Roadside Observers Group photo)

Stacks of ghost cash arranged in claw machine. (Facebook, Roadside Observers Group photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Some claw machine operators have been getting into the spirit of Ghost Month by placing joss paper money inside their machines as prizes.

The images that have appeared on social media have befuddled netizens, according to a Liberty Times report. One thread began with the poster posing the question “Who are these wads of ghost cash for?” to which netizens replied, “It’s giving the good brothers [ghosts] a chance to make an overnight fortune.”

It is common at this time of year for retailers to promote products with a Ghost Month theme, according to the Liberty Times. Yet joss money in claw machines is relatively unusual, as it seems to be meant for the wandering spirits of the dead themselves rather than mere mortal consumers.

Joss paper, also known as "ghost money" or "hell money," is a sheet of paper designed to serve as currency for deceased relatives of the person who burns it. The paper is burned on important dates in the lunar calendar to make sure the deceased are well taken care of in the afterlife.

The following is a selection of comments from netizens:

“Burn the whole machine as an offering so our ancestors can play to win!”

“The competition for the prize is fierce, giving the operator immense pressure.”

“Perfect for those times when you are doing the Pudu offering and realize you don’t have enough ghost money…”

“These wads of ghost money will disappear on their own…”

“Financial freedom.”

“This machine’s claw will move on its own in the dead of night.”

“At night there’ll be a long queue for this machine.”


Updated : 2021-09-29 07:12 GMT+08:00