Religion: Chinese traditional religion
Name: The Magistrate
Other Names: unnamed magistrate
First Appearance: Strange Tales (vol. 4) #2 (Oct. 1998): "A Funeral in the Woods"
Number of Appearances: 1
Enemy of: unnamed ghost of Chinese official
Note: severely taxed subjects in Imperial China
Untold years ago there lived a magistrate in Imperial China. The Magistrate was greedy and pompous. He taxed the people under his rule with burdensome taxes.
The Magistrate was summoned to China's capital. In order to finance this trip, the Magistrate levied additional harsh taxes on the subjects. If any of them could not pay the these taxes, they were forced to labor on the journey, carrying supplies or holding the Magistrate himself aloft in his royal sedan.
The greedy magistrate and his party traveled through a forest and stopped at an inn for dinner. While there, the Magistrate was warned by the people who lived locally that he should NOT travel after dark. The locals told the Magistrate that the woods were haunted by the ghost of a dead official much like himself.
The arrogant magistrate ignored the warnings and urged his traveling party on through the dark forest.
The party came across a funeral procession at a crossroads. The Magistrate ordered his people to continue through the procession. They did so, but then something horrific happened.
The coffin that the funeral procession was accompanying opened. A corpse rose from it. This was the ghost of the dead offical the locals had warned about. The ghostly corpse killed or frightened away all of the people conscripted as helpers for the Magistrate's journey.
The Magistrate himself ran away, deathly afraid. He hid, but in the cold weather, he knew his breath could be seen. He feared the sight of his breath in the winter air would give away his position. The Magistrate held his breath, but the ghost was coming his way.
This was the end of the story. A continuation of the story was never published.
Suggested links for further research about this character and the character's religious affiliation: