Cổ Trùng – Dark Sorcery 2

(Continued from Cổ Trùng – Dark Sorcery 1)

Okay, so the attempt to create a Cổ Trùng was a huge success! The sorcerer has finally created a brand new demonic critter, and so you’re thinking he’s itching to take it out and see what havoc this thing can wreak amongst the general populace.

To that I say: Not so fast! The critter is still too young and too small to do much of anything. There is more to do. Much more.

Care and Feeding of Cổ Trùng

After having fed the Cổ Trùng one hundred critters, the sorcerer must dig the jar out of the ground and place it on an altar within a darkened room specifically allocated for the Cổ Trùng. At this point, it is very similar to the set up I wrote about in one of my previous posts, Black Sorcery and Ngải Plant. Understand that just as the Ngải plant is no longer an ordinary plant, we are also no longer dealing with an ordinary insect or snake or amphibian. It has been changed into a demonic entity.

The book Gia Định Thành Thông Chí notates that the Cổ Trùng is carnivorous, preferring to eat such things as pork fat and fried eggs as well as other kinds of meats.

The sorcerer must continue to feed the Cổ Trùng these types of food once a day until it has grown to about twelve inches long (about a year). At this time, it is considered mature and can be released.

The sorcerer must consult the astrological calendar to find a favorable day to free the Cổ Trùng from the jar. Then he waits until nightfall when he can then release the demonic critter into a dark wooded glade or a desolate mountainous crag.

Once freed, the Cổ Trùng can sometimes turn into a fireball shape and wander about the mountainside and forested areas. At other times, it can change into a dark shadow, often going back and forth among the houses around town.  

The period when Cổ Trùng‘s magic power is at its greatest is at dusk. Thus, this is the time when it hunts and feeds upon its captive prey. At this time, since it is still relatively small, it would be mostly small animals such as possums and wild rats.

Once it is done feeding, it will return to its room and reenters its jar without fail. Now that it can forage for its own food, the sorcerer will no longer need to feed it every day; however, there is still one important day when the sorcerer must provide a feast for the Cổ Trùng.

Each year, on the 24th day of the 6th lunar month (which calculates out to August 10 of this year), a sacrifice must be made for the Cổ Trùng. This ritual lasts for 3 days (24, 25, 26, which would be respectively August 10, 11, and 12).

On each of these days, the sorcerer must butcher three animals: a live pig, a chicken, and a goat which they then must prepare in various ways, ie. roasting, broiling, grilling, baking, etc.

Once the sun has completely set and the stars are out and bright, the sorcerer and his entourage will take the prepared pig, goat and chicken and cut them into pieces. Then they must place everything inside the jar as offering for the demonic Cổ Trùng

It may seem to be a huge amount of food, but rest assured. The Cổ Trùng is still growing and will be ravenous. It will clean the jar of foodstuff, bones and all, leaving an empty jar to receive yet another offering of pork, chicken, and goat meat the next night. This is because its magic power peaks at this time and it will continue to grow rapidly as it consumes the meat.

Enjoy this time while it lasts because once it is fully grown, it is said that chickens and pigs and goats will not sate its appetite. It will demand human flesh. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this grisly rumor as it is not stated in any book, but I would not be surprised if this was a convenient scapegoat method to ‘disappear’ someone who needed to be ‘disappeared’. 

As always, during this sacrificial time, outsiders are not allowed to participate, nor are the members of the sorcerer’s family or adherents allowed to disclose anything to anyone outside to ensure the safety of their lives.

One last note in regards to this methodology. This is merely the simplest methodology to create a Cổ Trùng.  There is very little control over the resulting type and magical ability of Cổ Trùng that one can get, as it really depends on the survivability of the strongest kim tằm.

In reality, many specific Cổ Trùng will have different crafting methods which can improve the desired strength of each Cổ Trùng as well as create very unique types that can do specific tasks that the sorcerer requires.

And now for the real question. Why? Why would anyone go through all that arduous highly risky activity? For what purpose? And are there precedences or historical accounts of people actually using these demonic critters?

Since this post has gotten very lengthy, I’ll go into the nitty gritty details and answer those questions to the best of my ability in my next posting.

(To Be Continued)

Gia Định Thành Thông Chí


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