Hell Money

The term ‘hell money’ comes from the Chinese tradition of offering representations of money or goods to the dead.

Paul Wong as ‘Wiry Man’ in The X-Files season 3 episode 19 entitled Hell Money.

In Chinatown, Mulder and Scully discover an illegal lottery in which the “losers” are forced to donate their internal organs.

A Wiry Man with one milky eye draws a tile that elicits great excitement from the crowd and a sense of relief from Hsin. The Wiry Man is then reluctantly escorted to a back room by one of the suited men. The Wiry Man is drugged, drinking a warm liquid as he sits on a chair under a bright light. He sees apparitions of ancient Chinese figures, one of whom seemingly removes the man’s heart even as he watches. He closes his eyes and his visions disappear. The Hard-Faced Man approaches while wearing surgical garb and opens the Wiry Man’s good eye, checking on his condition.

Later that night, Detective Neary shows the agents to the grave, telling them that the three figures – whose motives are still unexplained – were wearing the same masks as were spotted in the crematory. Neary also reveals that the open grave is newly-dug, in preparation for a burial on the following day. Acting on a hunch, Mulder digs in the dirt at the bottom of the grave, unearthing the dead face of the Wiry Man.

A curious Mulder approaches Scully while she is still autopsying the Wiry Man’s corpse. She shows him that the man’s body organs had been harvested. The agents exchange jestful banter and, when Mulder asks Scully how her discovery of organ harvesting relates to the other victims, she recalls Johnny Lo’s glass eye. As Scully continues with the autopsy, a frog climbs out of the corpse, shocking the agents.

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