"Neither of iron nor wood nor hemp is bond so strong,
proclaim the wise, as passion’s yearn
for sons, for wives, for gems and ornaments."
On 23.8.2008 there was also another story about a Penang Chinese family who held a ghost marriage for a daughter who died of kidney failure 31 yrs ago. Apparently this "woman", Xie Mingying, had informed her family through a medium that she had found a suitable partner in the Peta (ghost) realm, and wished to get married. At first they were not very sure, but when they asked another unrelated fortune teller some time later, Xie possessed the man and repeated her wish to them. Only then they were convinced. Incidentally, the prospective husband, Xu Yuquan also informed his human relatives through the same medium of his desire to marry Xie. And so both families met up and a traditional Chinese marriage ceremony was arranged at the temple for the ghostly couple, with all the pomp and celebration of an actual human marriage. Paper effigies of the bride and bridegroom, held by their respective relatives, were used to represent them in the ceremony. All sorts of paper betrothal gifts including a new house were also presented to the bridegroom's family, to be burned for their use in the Peta realm. A wedding feast was also arranged for all the relatives present to witness the ceremony. Stories like these might sound amazing to foreigners, but they are not uncommon among the Chinese populace in this region. I myself had heard similar stories from people that I know. They tell us that death is not the end and ghosts desire love and happiness in the same way that human beings do.
This reminded me of a story told by LP Chob in the Forest Dhamma book "Patipada". At one time LP was meditating in a cave in Chiang Mai. Due to his past paramis, LP was able to perceive supernatural beings more so than any other teacher (except maybe LP Mun). As a result he was always visited by many Devadas, Nagas and Petas during his Dhutanga travels in the wild. When he was dwelling there he saw large groups of Petas moving house with their families from various districts in Isan (Northeast Thailand) to settle in the Chiang Mai hills. Like humans, some of them were seen riding on horses and cattle, holding their children and belongings in a big procession. When these groups of Petas moved passed LP Chob's cave, the leader of the group would always come to pay respect to him. So that gave LP an opportunity to inquire about the conditions of the Petas.