Do you know what happens to a tool when it becomes 100 years old? What about a tree when it sees its 1,000th birthday? What does it matter if a dinner plate is broken?
Cartien Ross answers these questions and more in her book Japanese Ghost Stories, Spirits, Hauntings, and Paranormal Phenomena.
Ross looks at strange events that surround some people and places in Japan. For example, Mita Koichi was said to project images onto dry photographic plates using only his mind (this was back in the early 1900s). He is said to projected accurate images of the dark side of the moon long before that side was photographed by the Apollo missions.
Considering Japan’s long history of paranormal stories, it isn’t a surprise that Ross can only touch on various stories and people. A full, detailed tour would require an entire set of encyclopedias. Ross gives archetypal examples of various types of stories and events. Such as the story of the Blue Mask:
One day, a monk visited a village, but the people were terrified of him. After some convincing, he learned of another monk that lived in the mountain behind the village. This resident monk grew so distraught about the death of a village boy that he ate him. The traveling monk decided to look into this. The mountain monk attacks the traveler but fails. The traveler whacks the mountain monk on the head. The mountain monk collapses into a pile of bones and a broken blue mask.
There are many stories like this one throughout Ross’s book. If you are interested in ghost stories, mystics, psychics, and wonder how Japanese culture views the paranormal, give this book a read.
Just don’t read it alone.