In Chinese mythology, Water Ghosts, which are commonly known as “Water Monkeys” (水猴 shuǐ hóu), are the souls of those who committed suicide by drowning themselves, as well as those who accidentally drowned to death. These souls are trapped in the body of water they died in and will haunt that water forever, unable to make their journey through Di Yu (地狱 dì yù) and re-enter the reincarnation cycle (轮回 lún huí), until they successfully drag a living person into the water and kill them. The person they killed then takes their place as a Ti Si Gui (替死鬼 tì sǐ guǐ) – literally “swap death ghost” – and the original Water Ghost can be reincarnated.
Despite being associated with water, Water Ghosts are extremely afraid of fire. They are infinitely strong in the water and lose all their power when they step on land.
Many stories tell of Water Ghosts that lure innocent passers-by by crying or making soft splashes in the water before forcibly dragging them in, sucking on their blood and eating their eyes and nails!