Horror & Mystery Series Vol. 3

The third article of the Horror and Mystery Series has arrived. Previously, we introduced you to the origins and customs of Obon in Japan. But with spirits coming back from the other realms, tales of strange phenomena emerge. So, without further a due, let’s hear them out!

Previous Articles:

Horror Stories to keep you chilled in Summer
Horror and Mystery Series Vol. 1: Japanese Phenomena
Horror and Mystery Series Vol. 2: Obon and Its Origin

Don’t forget to light the welcoming fire

Don’t forget to light the welcoming fire

I heard this story from part-timer working at the same place as mine.

In one Bon period, there was a telephone call from the police station to her house (let’s called her A-chan).

Your grandma got lost cannot remember her address, we cannot take her to your home. Could you come over to the police station and pick her up?” said the policeman.

A-chan was surprised and shocked, as her grandmother just passed away last year. She brought this to her family, and they were all as surprised as her. Then someone remembered that they had not lit the welcoming fire, and so they lit it.

When they called back to the police station, the policeman said “Oh, she seemed to remember her address and went back alone already”.

From that point on, A-chan’s family always remember to light up the welcoming fire every Bon period.

It may not be as scary, but nevertheless strange.

From Chikatomo (ちかとも)


Her grandma just passed away a year before, so it might be her First Bon. Maybe they also forgot to put up the white lantern for her.

Let's continue...

Strange Phenomenon by the Mountain

I will tell you about the “strange phenomenon during Bon period” my great-grandmother experienced at her house right next to the mountain. Amid the night, she got an urge to go to toilet, so she went out to the front. Since it was completely dark as this happened before the electricity was introduced, she had to wait for her eyes to adapt to the dark. It was then she looked toward the mountain and saw a ball of light, seemingly flying or rolling down the mountain slope. While pondering at such a strange thing, she finished with toilet and returned, facing at the mountain again… this time, there are many balls of light that she could not count came flying down the mountain! It was that instant that she felt that those were Hitodama (人魂 will-o’-the wisp).

I heard that she thought those were her ancestors, so she placed her hands together in respect.

From Yama no Kowai Hanashi (山の怖い話)


If this happened in the modern day, we might have to assume they are just human-operated drones. Haha!

Not just seas or rivers, mountains should also be avoided!

During Bon period, there was a man who went to hiking and passed by two other hikers on Mt. Chokaizan (鳥海山). It was at that moment that he suddenly greeted by a foul rotten smell. By surprise, he looked back to the party of two. It was merely two seconds, but no one was there, not even where he walked or where the other two should be.

He also caught a glimpse of something strange… despite being in the mid of summer, they were dressed in winter hiking cloths… then he realized that there were people who got lost and died on this very mountain during the winter!!

He raced down the mountain as his face went pale, falling and rolling along the way. However, from that evening he got high fever for three days and had to be admitted into the hospital…

From 2ch website (2ちゃねる)


Did you know? The saying "Do not go to the water during Obon" originated from the danger of sudden temperature change, and that the jellyfishes come out during the summer month.

Visiting old home

I don’t really believe that ghosts exist, but I experienced something strange once.

It was four years ago.

While I was living in Kobe, I worked as a part timer in security company.

While I was working nightshift during Bon period, there was a phone call saying that “the auto-lock on the front door of newly reconstructed mansion are acting strange”, so I went with senior at work to check it out.

I thought to myself, maybe there was a thief? But there was nothing extraordinary.

From what the people living here said, the door sometimes opens itself.

Or perhaps the auto-lock was malfunctioning? So, we checked it.

But there was nothing strange at all.

While we were discussing whether to call the electrical company, we heard a loud thud from behind.

As we turned around, it was a door, not auto-lock one, with no one there, but we were sure the sound came from there.

We were frightened, then this time, it was three beeps like machine sounds.

Hey, look there!” said my senior, as we look at the door with auto-lock, the security pad displayed “302” as if someone dialed to some room, then the door opened by itself…

At that moment, I felt cold as my hairs stood on end.

At that time, there was really no one else beside me and my senior.

On the next day, still wondering about who was living the room “302”, I checked the data.

At that time, no one rented or lived there, no one at all.

Then, after days have passed, my senior told me.

He said he knew who lived in the room “302”.

That person died during the fire that broke down the old mansion, before the reconstruction.

Maybe that person felt nostalgic during Bon period and came to visit the old home he once lived. Maybe… just maybe…

From kowabana no yakata website (怖話ノ館)


Japanese Mansions have auto-lock system that let a visitor dial up to the room of resident he knows so that person can unlock the front door for him remotely from the room.

But let's think again... who dialed to the room... who unlocked the door from the room...

Until next part…

I think this should be enough to keep the summer heat off your back for a while. But if you want more, you can always come back for another round next week. Until then, stay safe and protected!