Hell Money (3x19)
written by Jeff Vlaming
MULDER: What's this? Does anybody recognize this? Looks like some kind of foreign currency.
CHAO: It's called Hell Money. It's used as an offering during the Chinese festival of the Hungry Ghosts.
MULDER: What about the guard seeing three figures that seemed to vanish without a trace?
SCULLY: So now we're chasing ghosts?
MULDER: Who you gonna call? Ghosts or ancestral spirits have been central to Chinese spiritual life for centuries.
SCULLY: So you're saying that the ancestral spirits pushed Johnny Lo into the oven and turned on the gas?
MULDER: Well that would sure teach him to respect his elders, wouldn't it?
CHAO: The Chinese Yu Lan Hui-- the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. You see, on the 15th day of the seventh moon in the Chinese calendar it's believed the gates of hell are opened and the ghosts of unwanted souls roam the earth. Now, believers protect themselves by leaving gifts of food and hell money outside their homes to appease the ghosts. To keep them from coming inside and causing trouble.
But for some spirits-- the ghosts most feared by the Chinese-- there's no buying them off. The Preta-- the ancient ghost of a murdered man who wanders the earth exacting its revenge on the living. Or the wu jiung gui who collect the souls of doomed men and drag them down to Ti Yu ... the Chinese hell.
SCULLY: What about you, detective? Do you believe in Yu Lan Hui?
CHAO: I find it hard to argue with 2,000 years of Chinese belief -- the stuff my parents and grandparents believe in. But the truth is, I'm more haunted by the size of my mortgage payments.
SCULLY: Do you know how much the human body is worth, Mulder?
MULDER: Depends on the body.
MULDER: I don't know. A few bucks. How much?
SCULLY: It's worth a fortune.
MULDER: You're saying that this guy was selling his body parts for money?
SCULLY: A kidney, a portion of the liver, a cornea bone marrow... A person can lose these things and live to cash his social security checks.
MULDER: He won't be cashing any social security checks any time soon.
SCULLY: No, but if I'm right this is one man who left his heart in San Francisco.
CHAO: Look you don't even know what the hell you're dealing with here. This isn't some pretty little lacquer box you can just take the lid off and find out what's inside. You might see the face of a Chinese man here but let me tell you something -- they don't see the same face. They see the face of a cop... American-born Chinese, ABC. To them, I'm just as white as you are. You think because I speak the language I can get all your answers for you but what good is an interpreter when everyone speaks the language of silence?
SCULLY: Look like you just saw a ghost.
MULDER: No, I'm just a little tired, jumpy. One more string of firecrackers goes off, I'm going to get out of the car and shoot somebody.
SCULLY: You cheated them out of life by promising them prosperity when the only possible reward was death.
DR. WU: In my belief, death is nothing to be feared. It's merely a stage of transition but life without hope -- now, that's living hell. So, hope was my gift to these men. I don't expect you to understand.