Real Japanese horror story: a specimen shelf at a Kagoshima high school held a real human skull

These high school students won’t have any shortage of material for their next summer camp excursion, that’s for sure.

There are few pieces of apparatus as definitive to the science classroom as bones. Whether it’s a full-sized skeleton or just the skull, those plastic replicas do a full body’s work in educating our kids about bone structure (and also freaking them out).

▼ “Good morning, class!”

For the students of Tsurumaru High School in Kagoshima prefecture, the skull on their classroom’s specimen shelf wasn’t a replica. Way back in July 2016, a teacher found the skull in the school’s biology lecture hall and immediately reported it to the police. They examined it, determined it to be unmistakably human, and set about finding the skull’s identity.

It turns out that it’s pretty hard to identify a skull, especially an old one, so the skull was given a civic cremation and burial under the alias “Departed Traveler“. A pretty fitting moniker, considering no one knows exactly how this skull made its way into a high school without the rest of the body attached to it.

According to a formal statement released by the governmental gazette on June 5, the skull belonged to a woman who passed away about 50 years ago. Any other information is still shrouded in mystery, including all the specifics of her journey across time to land in a lecture hall.

Naturally, the reignited topic of the teacher’s ghoulish discovery is rattling people’s bones all over social media. Pop singer-songwriter Midori Karashima had her own recollections from when she attended the high school in her youth.

“What a shock! Perhaps this is why the students always complained about it while cleaning that lecture hall… “It’s so detailed, it almost seems real…” “That’s because it is real, duh!” Both I and my older brother took classes with that skull! Someone please solve the mystery about its origins!”

Other comments ranged from the sympathetic (“Terrifying!”) to the sympathetic (“We had some ancient dissected frogs up in formaldehyde back in junior high, but this is something else…”) to the downright ghoulish (“You know what this means! The rest of her skeleton is hidden around the school somewhere!”)

▼ “Why couldn’t someone have moved me to the art room?”

We hope that more information gets dug up about this mysterious woman from decades past, so that her spirit can rest properly. At least she’s not trapped eternally reliving biology classes from high school. Talk about a terrifying concept.

For more stories of body parts cropping up in unusual places, this singing child has you covered. While we’re on the topic, have you ever wondered what Pikachu’s skeleton would look like? A kindly teacher answered that question too.

Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso (1, 2)
Source: Yahoo! News Japan/ Huffpost via Hachima Kikou

“Ghost photo” shows Kyoto’s breathtaking Fushimi Inari Shrine can be bone-chilling at night

And that flash of light isn’t even the scariest part of the snapshot.

In the span of a few years, Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine has gone from being relatively unknown to foreign travelers to being one of their favorite destinations in Japan. And its popularity is well-deserved, as wandering through the hillside tunnels of thousands of Shinto torii gates makes for a beautiful, unforgettable experience, especially if the late afternoon sunlight is filtering through the gaps in the torii.

However, Fushimi Inari can feel a little less inviting once the sun goes down. Just like many Western horror tales are set in or around secluded churches, Japan has a long tradition of ghost stories that take place at rural shrines. The higher you climb along Fushimi Inari’s pathways, the farther you get from the light of the city, which can make it feel like the world of the living is also growing distant, which brings us to a creepy snapshot taken by Japanese Twitter user @mcoscam.

“I was taking photos at Fushimi Inari Shrine at night, and I ended up with this freaky one…So scared I’m about to cry…”

“What happened?” asked a shocked commenter, to which @mcoscam replied “That’s what I want to know!”

Following the ghostly streak of light its farthest point from the lens, it seems to stop at a hanging lantern, or perhaps the brightest part of the reflection of the camera’s flash. Somehow this light source then got smeared in an undulating arc when the image was captured. That’s got to be what’s going on, right? After all, ghosts aren’t real…

…is what we keep trying to convince ourselves as we look at this subtly startling portion of @mcoscam’s photo, which escaped our notice until another Twitter user shared a zoomed-in version.

Once again, though, this looks to be a trick of the light, though one with a connection to local religious customs. See, each of the torii at Fushimi Inari is paid for by a donor, often a business looking to curry favor with Inari, the Shinto god of commerce. Torii are added as donations are made, which means that adjacent gates may actually have been installed several years apart from each other, and so their paint, metal fittings, and other components will be in different states of weathering and/or disrepair. As a result, the surfaces of the torii tunnels don’t reflect light uniformly, which can cause irregular shapes like the “silhouette” seen in the photos above.

So as spooky as @mcoscam’s photo may be, this probably isn’t concrete proof that the shrine is haunted. As a matter of fact, some of @mcoscam’s other photos from that night show that Fushimi Inari has a unique beauty after dark, which we also saw when we took a look at its midsummer Motomiya Festival.

Still, if you decide to plan your trip to Fushimi Inari for early enough in the day so that you’ll be done before sundown, we won’t blame you.

Source: Twitter/@mcoscam via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@mcoscam
Top, insert images ©SoraNews24

Highway “ghost” spooks YouTube viewers in Japan【Video】

The driver in this strange dashboard camera footage says it all: “Whaaaaaaaa?!”

On 6 June, a video was posted on YouTube labeled “Ghost Encounter while Driving on the Highway!” While the encounter may not be of the supernatural kind, it certainly is highly unusual.

In the video we are in the front seat of a car traveling down the highway at high speeds. Another car pulls up alongside our car, but just as it does a lone figure suddenly appears right between both vehicles.

It doesn’t look as if the person was hit, which along with the general blurriness of the video prompted some to assume it was a ghost. Others were compelled to agree, or at least went along with it so they could make some jokes.

“He’s transparent. There are no head, lower body, or shadows.”
“Whether it’s a ghost or a real guy, it’s scary either way.”
“It’s a ghost coming back from the convenience store.”
“Why does a ghost have a plastic bag?”
“A g-g-g-ghost…who’s been sh-sh-sh-shopping!”
“We can’t rule out that this might be a Terminator.”

The fact that the figure on the road is clearly holding a plastic bag certainly does cast a shadow of doubt on it being a specter. I try to keep an open mind about things, but for some reason a ghost with a plastic shopping bag is just too hard to accept – one of those fancy brand name paper bags perhaps, but that is a discussion for another day.

The time stamp in the corner is also suspicious, showing us that the incident actually happened in August of 2017. Sure enough here is the original video from that time, presumably posted by the driver himself and titled, “Pedestrian on the Highway,” with no mention of a ghost.

Interestingly, the original video, which has been up on YouTube for nearly a year, has only gotten about 51,000 views to date, whereas the “ghost” video racked up about 260,000 views in a couple days. Let this be a lesson for all you aspiring YouTube posters – ghosts sell!

Anyway, there’s still the mystery of who this person is and why they are out in the middle of the freeway at midnight. The most common guess is an elderly person suffering from dementia, but others have suggested some daredevil kid or a lost drunk.

The good news is that it doesn’t appear the person was hit on that night. Thanks to the original poster we know it was in Nagoya and we know exactly when it happened, but there don’t appear to be any corresponding reports of anyone wandering the highways or getting killed in such a way during that time.

Of course, there’s a chance it happened but never made the news, but the very next day, on 15 August, there were several reports on an increase of cats wandering onto the highways of Nagoya and getting struck by cars. Surely a person getting hit would be newsworthy as well…I think.

Sign: “Watch out for cats, two kilometers ahead”

So, it seems likely this person managed to get out of there safely. Actually, in light of that other news, it might not be far-fetched to guess that this person might have been a cat-lover out there trying to catch one of the felines on the highway. Perhaps the plastic bag was full of food to attract them?

Anything’s possible, but if you’re digging the idea that this might be a ghost, one interesting point is that this happened right in Japan’s Obon season. This is a time when it was traditionally believed spirits returned to the realm of the living.

Regardless of what is really going on in it, this video is still an excellent example of how fast objects on the road can come at you when traveling at high speed. Hopefully it reminds all those ghost hunters out there about the importance of being alert and keeping your eyes on the road.

Source: YouTube/Ryuryu, YouTube/nippon1900, Kinisoku
Images: YouTube/nippon1900

Red, white… Beige? Twitter user overhears a children’s song with creepy implications

Out of the mouths of children comes some really messed up stuff, apparently. Twitter users lend a helping hand with deciphering the lyrics.

Is there anything cuter than hearing a small child sing a song, and hear them mix the lyrics up? Children have such a unique and candid way of viewing the world, and that spills out very clearly when they sing their own versions of nursery rhymes. The lyrics are often based on what they see in the world around them, even if they’re hard for adults to parse.

Twitter user @megane0027 thought she was privy to one such adorable incident recently, when she heard a little girl’s voice from outside her window.

“I could hear a little girl singing a song from the outside, a cute melody that seem to be based on that kid’s song, “Tulip”.”

▼ This is the children’s song in question, by the way:

“Little girl: All in a row~  all in a row~  red, white, beige!
Mom(?): Don’t you mean yellow?
Little girl: No, it’s beige! Because it’s a hand!
Mom(?): What do you mean?
Little girl: I saw it next to the flower bed at kindergarten! A hand is growing there!”

“That little girl must have seen something she really wasn’t meant to see. In a second, that delightful afternoon scene turned into something straight out of a horror movie.”

While @megane0027 did confess that she couldn’t hear most of the conversation between the little girl and the older woman with her, that just created an additional layer of pure creepiness. Thank heavens for the internet, who hastened to her side to bury her in a plentiful soil of memes.

The hunt for the cause of this hand amongst the tulips begins with an obvious classic. Maybe the little girl just found some rampant Dragon Quest enemies wandering around, while they were resting next to the flower beds. The Muddy Hand is a staple throughout the series, and always arrives by clawing its way out of the soil.

▼ They seem like a fun-loving bunch outside of the game.

Those muddy hands are definitely more brown than beige though…

More suggestions cropped up one after the other, much like the freaky hands themselves. Could it be the ghostly spirit hands from CLAMP series xxxHOLiC?

The zombie hand from the last shot of Carrie by Stephen King?

Remnants from hand-obsessed serial killer Yoshikage Kira, from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure?

Everyone from One Piece‘s Nico Robin to Thing from The Addams Family was cited as the possible culprit behind this disturbing little ditty. There was even a helpful commenter who provided a possible crime scene sketch for the child’s preschool.

▼ “Ah, so it was like this?”

Ultimately, the original poster would prefer to think that the least gruesome answer is what’s true. Whatever help you sleep at night, I guess!

“I wonder what she saw… Maybe someone put doll hands there as a prank and that’s what it was? I couldn’t hear much from the window so I guess I’ll never know. This is unbearable…”

If you want to try cultivating your own host of green thumbs, here is a user with some helpful gardening advice:

▼ “Sorry for the random comment. Someone must have planted it with lots of salt, right?” (Image: Can hands grow from salt?)

This is a reference to an extremely dated “mondegreen” Flash animation, moscow, where the creator listened to a song in Russian and drew images based on what they sound like they’re saying in Japanese.

Delightfully nostalgic or bone chilling? You be the judge.

As is often the case with these kind of Twitter anecdotes, some people are in doubt that this little girl (and her creepy tulip garden) are anything but a tale of pure fabrication on @megane0027’s part. Boo! Oh well, if you’re that desperate for terrifying things to crop up out of the floor, there’s always this nasty looking mushroom.

Source: @megane0027 via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso

Schoolgirls scared, amused as tornado forms just east of Tokyo【Video】

On-camera reactions range from “yabai” to “seriously yabai.”

The floor plan of Japanese high schools usually consists of long, narrow classrooms on either side of interior hallways. Because of that, there’s almost always a window to look out of and daydream, as famously depicted in countless anime an TV dramas.

Of course, in real life the view isn’t usually quite so compelling as it is in the world of fiction, as odds are you won’t spot a magical-powers-granting animal mentor or your one true love just outside the window. However, high school student and Japanese Twitter user @tinatu_1999 recently had the rare experience of seeing something sufficiently dramatic, as shown in the video below.

“It’s a tornado!” @tinatu_1999 and her schoolgirl friends excitedly exclaim as the swirling spot of dirt and debris rises up from what appears to be their school’s baseball field in the city of Ichikawa, Tokyo’s neighbor to the east and just over the border in Chiba Prefecture. If you’re looking to practice your Japanese listening skills, you’ll hear the words tatsumaki (“tornado”), and yabai (“crazy/scary/amazing”) over and over again during the short video.

None of the girls have seen this sort of thing before, since while tornadoes aren’t completely unheard of in Japan, they’re exceedingly rare. As a matter of fact, some commenters weren’t even entirely convinced that the phenomenon in the video qualifies, saying that they think it should actually be classified as a jinsenpuu (“dust devil”) or tsumujikaze (“whirlwind”), on account of the twisting spire of wind not sufficiently connecting with air currents high overhead.

Still others jokingly suggested that what @tinatu_1999 had filmed wasn’t a tornado or whirlwind, and that it was instead a dragon (the word tatsumaki literally means “dragon roll,” after all), a Street Fighter dragon punch, or the dust kicked up by battling (and ostensibly invisible) kaiju.

And as when anything unusual appears in the sky, a few conspiracy theorists came out to ask about the mysterious lights that can be seen near the twister.

More level-headed commenters offered the common-sense explanation that these are simply the classroom’s interior lights reflecting off the inside face of the window glass.

Thankfully, no damage or injuries were reported in connection with the now-dissipated tornado/whirlwind. Still, should @tinatu_1999’s teacher spot an unusually large number of students staring out of the window instead of keeping their eyes on the whiteboard during lessons for the next few days, he should probably cut them a little slack.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@tinatu_1999 via Hachima Kiko

Japanese telecom company unveils robot that lets you see, hear, and feel through it【Video】

The only problem is that it looks like a killing machine compared to domestic robot Pepper.

When Japanese telecommunications company Softbank made Pepper, an emotional robot with intelligent speech capabilities, they took great care in making it look friendly enough to us humans.

But when rival company KDDI revealed their own version of a robot called Model H, a shiver ran up everyone’s spines. Seeing this ominous-looking machine rolling down a corridor would be rather unnerving to say the least.

▼ At the unveiling, Japanese Twitter user @xeno_twit commented that it looked like a version of Pepper but “with all the kindness erased”.

But look past the menacing appearance and the robot’s usefulness becomes apparent. Operation can be performed through the Internet, transmitting visual information, sound, and even physical sensations via inbuilt tactile sensors.

Model H thus becomes a real-life avatar of sorts, allowing users wearing specially-designed gloves and a VR headset to feel what the robot experiences. People can touch and feel products before they purchase them online, or enjoy touring scenic spots of other countries, all in the comfort of their own home.

▼ The future is here with Model H.

▼ Does this mean all of us can now work from home too?

Despite the android’s numerous practical applications, netizens agree its chilling visage resembles that of a harbinger of death.

“Its eyes seem like they’ll turn red and rebel against humanity.”
“It’ll definitely drag a bunch of Peppers around while uttering ‘Humanity isn’t needed’.”
“Black Pepper is here.”
“Its eyes really look like an alien’s.”
“Improve the design, please.”

Given its ease in expressing movements, Model H usage would have to be tightly regulated in the future, since we can’t have androids going around performing rude gestures in public. Nevertheless, using it as an extension of ourselves could be a huge step forward for humankind as a whole.

Source: YouTube/Telexistence Inc., Business Journal, Twitter/@xeno_twit via Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube/Telexistence Inc.

Hornets: The perfect pet for people living in Japan?

One enthusiastic owner is singing their praises, while others are screaming in terror.

Pet ownership can be a tricky thing in Japan. In large cities, most people live in rented apartments or condominiums, which means that even if your lease allows pets, it has to be an indoor one. The compact size of most residences means your pet has to be similarly small in stature, and with sudden overtime work being a regular part of professional life in Japan, a pet that will be OK on its own if you’re a couple hours later than usual coming home is also a plus.

With those criteria, a bird, fish, or turtle might seem like the ideal choice. But Japanese Twitter user @togenanafushi has a different recommendation: hornets.

While he’s an overall insect enthusiast, @togenanafushi says that hornets are the most enjoyable bugs he’s owned, citing his experiences cohabitating with black-tailed, Asian giant, and Japanese yellow hornets. He describes them as orderly and reliable pets who remember where their food is placed and sleep in the same spot every day, which is a definite advantage over pets that like to hold dominion over your living space by making their bed wherever they feel like it that particular day.

The obvious concern is that the hornets will sting their owner mercilessly, but @togenanafushi says this actually isn’t a problem. The hornets aren’t interested in stinging for stinging’s sake, and without a nest to protect, they’re not particularly aggressive unless somehow provoked. They’re even a somewhat functional pet, according to @togenanafushi, since they start buzzing around when the sun comes up, thus acting as a natural alarm clock and preventing him from ever oversleeping.

Nevertheless, most other Twitter users were more than a little surprised at his choice of animal companions, leaving comments such as:

“Wait…you can keep hornets as pets?”
“Wait…hornets sleep?”
“And they look cute doing it.”
“You’re so brave.”
“You’re crazy (and I mean that in a good way.”
“Hmmm…I’ve got pet carpenter bees right now, but maybe I should get some hornets too…”

Despite @togenanafushi’s recommendation, though, it’s probably a good idea to think long and hard before welcoming hornets into your home. Odds are their buzzing won’t make you very popular with your neighbors, and the insects will probably seriously freak out any guests you decide to have over. Still, @togenanafushi seems to feel the trade-offs are still worth it, and they’re probably a great way to get rid of door-to-door solicitors.

Source: Twitter/@togenanafushi via Jin
Top image: Wikipedia/NUMBER7isBEST