Chinese woman sees ghosts in AR game on Tomb Sweeping day, freaks out


Many Asian countries recently celebrated Tomb Sweeping day, a traditional holiday where relatives visit and clean the graves of their ancestors. But what is generally a quiet, contemplative holiday for most people turned into a nightmare for Ms. Wu, a 23-year-old Chinese woman.

(See: Chinese mother, son presumed drowned after argument over League of Legends)

Wu’s story actually begins far earlier. When she was just five years old, she saw her great aunt’s corpse shortly after she had died. She was quite frightened by it. Wu’s mother, in what would prove to be a traumatizing mistake, taught Wu about ghosts, and told her that if she misbehaved, her great aunt would become a ghost and come looking for her.

Fast-forward a couple decades to last week, and the 23-year-old Wu was sweeping her ancestors’ tombs with her mother for the holiday. She got a sudden urge to try out Ghost Detector, an augmented-reality game on her phone that ostensibly allows players to search for ghosts in their surrounding area. On loading the app, Wu immediately discovered three “ghosts” standing right next to her in the cemetery, and was deeply terrified.

In fact, Ms. Wu was so terrified by the game’s vision of the ghosts that she was subsequently unable to sleep for several nights straight, and began withdrawing herself from all social contact. Eventually, she had to seek out the help of a counselor at a nearby hospital.

Ms. Wu’s story may seem ridiculous, but it’s a good reminder for parents that scaring your children with ghost stories and other nonsense to get them to behave in the short term isn’t worth the psychological effects it can have in the long run. And, according to Ms. Wu’s counselor Hu Honghui, it is also a reminder that if you’re easily scared by ghosts and goblins, you should resist the urge to play games that include them, especially when you’re in an already-suggestive environment like a cemetery.

Still, most of the Chinese gamers who’ve commented on this story seem to agree that Ms. Wu is at best extremely naive, and at worst “an idiot.”

(via Netease Games)

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

Read More