Amber’s News by A. Moore

Back in the eighth grade, I had this really vivid dream that my cousin Amber was pregnant. However, in the dream she didn’t know that she was pregnant until she was about 4 months due to the fact she was still having her monthly (sorry for the TMI). Until one day when she went to the ER after bleeding excessively. She was then told there that she was expecting. That’s all I could remember from the dream. I should add …

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Doubletake by WhiteZombieCat

One evening, my wife and I were returning home from a party. When I opened the door, I saw my wife sitting at the computer and working, as she almost always is when I come home. The thing is, this time my wife came into the house with me. When we went to bed, I told her that I had seen her sitting at the computer. She became serious then and said that when I opened the door, she also …

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Checkpoints by Ji Yun (1724-1805), Imperial Librarian and Investigator of the Strange

In the early days of my assignment in Urumqi, one afternoon an army clerk came to me with a brush and ink, along with a pile of papers that he requested I sign. “What are these papers?” I asked. “Passports,” he replied. “You see, most of the soldiers here are from far away. So, if they die, we have to ship their bodies back home for burial and funeral rites. Living people must pass through many border checkpoints when travelling. …

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Meat Vegetables by Ji Yun (1724-1805), The Emperor’s Librarian

When I was boy, I went on a journey with our family servant Shi Xiang. While we were passing a village outside of Jing Cheng, Shi Xiang pointed at some mounds in a field to the west. “Those are graves,” he said. “Zhou graves. Long ago, one of their ancestors did a good deed that allowed their family line to persist three generations longer than it would have otherwise.” I asked Shi Xiang what kind of deed. He said that …

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An Early Chinese Alien Abduction Tale

*a nonfiction account as recorded by Ji Yun (1724-1805), Imperial Librarian and Investigator of the Strange, and translated by John Yu Branscum and Yi Izzy Yu; notes on Chinese alien abduction and fairy lore are at the bottom of the piece: One day I received a letter that was written in my language but seemed to be written in a foreign one. The thoughts it expressed were odd, confused, and almost impossible to decipher. The letter’s poor quality especially surprised …

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Aurora by Sarax11

They were different dreams but for some reason, her distinct face and name always ended up in them. It got to the point where I would wake up frustrated and confused, trying to google her name or find out how I was connected to her. After a few months, she stopped showing up and I dismissed it. Fast forward a few years later, Halloween 2009, I’m in the car with a friend stopped at a gas station. I’m about to …

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One Day Off by Jared Swansboro

It seemed as if time had decided to move a day back, alluding to my own possible mistakes. The first birthday that I spent with my significant other, I wrote her a poem. September 26th. For three years straight, I read her that poem. She’d laugh, smile, and say how grateful she was. But this past year, that didn’t happen. I was in my dorm, waking up from a long night of essay writing, when I decided to call her …

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The Painted Skin by Pu Songling (1640-1715); Translated by H.A. Giles

Note by Yi Izzy Yu: Classical zhiguai included both true weird tales and strange fictions–both of which were meant to induce in the reader a sense of horror and uncanny awe. Pu Songling, the original author of this tale wrote both types of zhiguai, but he was ultimately more interested in the second kind of zhiguai—which as the following famous story shows is quite effective at stirring up some of the same feelings as its nonfiction sibling.       …

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A Shift Glitch

A long time ago I had a conversation with an old workmate who described [the following]: The detail is hazy, but he said one day he was in his house when he felt a sudden need to go outside and stand on his lawn. He claimed it was the strongest, clearest feeling ever, and on doing so he experienced a sort of “wobble”; he just said everything was screwed up for moment, and he experienced a feeling of detachment/outside-ness. When …

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The Ringing of the Western Beast by Ji Yun (1724-1805), The Emperor’s Librarian

About 150 years ago, in the fourteenth year of Emperor Kangxi’s reign, a Western nation gave him a mysterious creature called a “lion.” No one in his circle had ever seen such a creature before, and it immediately featured prominently in the poetry and paintings produced by members of the court. It also featured in many tall tales. For example, one story that made the rounds detailed how the lion escaped the palace one morning by snapping its chains in …

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