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10 Creepy Japanese Urban Legends

by cnkguy
10 Creepy Japanese Urban Legends

Every country has its
own cultural folklore. In the UK, you might be creeped out by black dogs. In
Australia, you might be terrified of the Bunyip. Below, read about 10 Japanese
urban legends that have been causing the Land of the Rising Sun nightmares for

10. The Noppera-bō

The The Noppera-bō, translated as “faceless ghosts,” are mysterious creatures that seem to delight in frightening humans. According to the legends about these strange ghosts, they look identical to humans, except for one significant difference: their faces are completely blank of features.

While the The Noppera-bō are basically harmless, encountering one is a harrowing experience. Typically, the ghost will appear to you in the form of someone that you know. Then, the features of that familiar face will slowly melt away, leaving behind a face of smooth, blank skin. 

In other stories, the The Noppera-bō have been known to appear as beautiful women who beg you not to do something. If you fail to heed her words, she will stare at you while she wipes off her face. Although they are one of the more innocuous Japanese urban legends, encountering a The Noppera-bō is sure to be a terrifying experience.

9. Kokkuri-San

If you’ve ever played with a Ouija Board, you can probably relate to the Japanese urban legends surrounding Kokkuri-san. Much like Ouija, Kokkuri-san is a simple form of divination that can be practiced by novices hoping to dabble in the spirit world.

Kokkuri-san can be translated as “to nod up and down.” The game is played by placing a pot covered with cloth atop a tripod made of bamboo sticks. The players touch the apparatus and ask questions of the spirits. The spirits respond by making the pot ‘nod.’

Those who believe in the truth of Kokkuri-san insist that the movement of the pot is the result of supernatural occurrences. Many scientists have attempted to denounce the urban legend by providing scientific explanations for how the pot could move on its own, but that hasn’t decreased the popularity of the game.

8. Sunshine 60

From 1978 until 1991,
Sunshine 60, a 60-story skyscraper in Ikebukuro, was the tallest building in
Japan. Despite this milestone, Sunshine 60 is more known for being the site of
one of the creepiest Japanese urban legends.

Sunshine 60 was built on
the site that used to house Sugamo Prison. The prison had a dark reputation for
holding and executing political prisoners. In fact, the developers gave the new
building a cheery name in an attempt to divert attention from the site’s
gruesome past.

However, many who work
in the building have reported strange incidents. They say that you can often
see dark shadows darting around or hear laughter, groans, screams, whispers,
and chanting. Some have even had items yanked from them and hurled through the
air. These stories have made Sunshine 60 notorious as one of Japan’s most
haunted sites.

7. Hanako-san

Hanako-san, or
“Hanako of the toilet,” is one of several Japanese urban legends that
center around haunted bathrooms. According to the legends, Hanako-san is the
spirit of a young girl who was killed while hiding in a bathroom. The cause of
her death varies: some say it was a World War II air raid, and others believe
she was murdered by a psychotic intruder.

According to the legend,
if you go to a school’s third floor, approach the third stall of the girl’s
bathroom, knock on the stall three times, and say “Are you there,
Hanako-san?” the ghost will show herself by answering “I’m here.” If you
enter the stall, you will find a small girl in a red skirt.

What happens next varies
based on the legend. Some say the girl will just disappear. Others have
reported finding a red handprint on the door of the stall. However, the most
terrifying legends state that inside the stall, you will be eaten by a three-headed
lizard that had been mimicking a young girl’s voice.

6. Tomino’s Hell

Tomino’s Hell is the
title of a poem that has been the focus of one of the most pervasive Japanese
urban legends. The poem was written by Yomota Inuhiko in a book called The Heart is Like a Rolling Stone. The
poem itself is gruesome, violent, and eerie. Years after it was published, a
rumor began to circulate that anyone who read the poem, either aloud or
silently, would have tragic things happen to them.

The legend spawned a
popular internet trend in which users would post videos of themselves reading
the poem aloud. Some of the users who posted these videos eventually posted
updates stating that nothing bad had happened. However, many of the users who
posted videos never posted again, leaving their followers to wonder if they had
met a tragic fate.

5. Aka Manto

Aka Manto is another of
the popular Japanese urban legends to revolve around public bathrooms.
According to the stories, Aka Manto was a beautiful man while alive. He was
hounded so much by admirers that he eventually started wearing a mask to cover
his beauty. 

It is unclear how Aka
Manto’s life ended, but it was likely gruesome as he now haunts public
bathrooms. The stories say that you will be sitting in a stall and suddenly
hear a mysterious voice asking, “Do you want red or blue paper?” If you choose
blue, you will be strangled until your face is blue. If you choose red, you
will be sliced apart until your clothes are stained red with blood. 

If you try to outsmart
Aka Manto by choosing a color other than blue or red, he will drag you through
the toilet into the underworld. Some say that Hanako-san helps him do this. The
only way to avoid a tragic fate is to tell Aka Manto that you don’t need any

4. The Teke Teke

The story of the Teke
Teke is one of the more terrifying and violent of the Japanese urban legends.
The Teke Teke is a form of vengeful spirit that violently kills those unlucky
enough to encounter it.

According to the story,
the spirit originated from a young girl who was walking alone on the train
tracks. She fell and was unable to move. Unfortunately, an oncoming train
sliced her body in half at the waist before anyone came along to help

The girl’s spirit was
transformed into a Teke Teke. She drags her legless body along the ground with
her hands or elbows, making a “teke teke” sound. If you hear the sound or see
the spirit pulling itself along, you should run immediately. Anyone who
encounters the spirit and can’t get away quickly enough is sliced in half at
the waist, just like the young girl who was killed to create the Teke Teke.

3. Kuchisake-onna

Kuchisake-onna is
another violent and dangerous legend of a spirit out for revenge. She is also
known as the “slit-mouthed woman.”

The legend says that
Kuchisake-onna was once a beautiful woman, but was mutilated and killed by her
angry husband, who slit her face from ear to ear. Now, she walks the streets at
night as a spirit wearing a cloth mask to hide her disfigured face. If you are
walking alone, she will approach you and ask you to walk her home. As you walk,
she will ask you if she’s pretty. If you say no, she will kill you with a pair
of scissors. If you say yes, she will take off her mask, revealing her
terrifying face, and ask again. If you say yes again, she’ll cut your face to
look like hers. If you say no, she’ll cut you in half.

There are a few ways to
avoid a grisly death at the hand of Kuchisake-onna. One way is to never walk
alone at night so she won’t have a chance to approach you. Another is to reply
to her questions by telling her she is average looking. She will be confused by
this answer, and you’ll have a chance to flee.

2. The Kunekune

The stories of the
Kunekune are similar to those of the Western Slender Man. The Kunekune is a
humanoid shape, but long, thin, and white or black. Many describe it as looking
like a paper doll. It is most often seen around lunchtime on hot days,
typically near large fields or water. You’ll know it is the Kunekune if you see
a figure that wiggles as if blown by the wind, even on a still day.

If you see the Kunekune
from a distance and choose to ignore it and walk away, you will be safe. It
will ignore you as well. However, if you try to get a closer look at it, legend
says that it will cause you to go insane. If you touch the Kunekune, it will
kill you instantly.

1. Kashima Reiko

the grudge ghost girl

Kashima Reiko is one of
the most tragic and dangerous Japanese urban legends. According to the myth,
she will visit you within one month after you hear her story. If you don’t want
to be visited by her, turn back now.

Kashima Reiko was a
young woman who was violently abused by a group of men. She called for help,
but no one came. She crawled away in search of aid but collapsed on train
tracks. A train came by and cut off her legs. She now is said to wander in
search of her missing legs. Often, she appears in bathrooms, both public and

If you see her, she will
begin to ask you questions. She will ask, “Where are my legs?” to which you
must respond, “On Meishin Expressway.” She will ask, “Who told you that?” and
you must answer, “Kashima Reiko told me that.” She will then ask a trick
question: “What is my name?” The correct answer is not Kashima Reiko, but “Mask
Death Demon.” If you answer any question incorrectly, she will instantly tear
off your legs and leave you for dead.

This is a contributed post by Slapped Ham. Slapped Ham is a website that’s been covering all things strange, mysterious and creepy for over 5 years. They have a YouTube channel with over one million subscribers and have been noted for their eerie, binge-worthy content.



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Ghost Photo: Great-Grandmother’s Ghost

by cnkguy
Ghost Photo: Great-Grandmother’s Ghost

The photo above comes from Reddit’s r/Ghosts. The user who shared the photo believes the face behind the child is the girl’s great-grandmother. However, skeptics on the thread say it’s poor photography – low lighting and a high exposure time – that created the ghostly effect. What do you think?

Do you have a ghostly photo you can’t explain? Want to share it on this site? Send it to



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Reader Submission: Wandering Spirits

by cnkguy
Reader Submission: Wandering Spirits

For 80 years, the Wyoming Frontier Prison housed some of the state’s most notorious criminals, including a woman who poisoned her father’s pie and a train robber known as the gentleman bandit. Hundreds of inmates died at the old prison in Rawlins, and rumor has it many of them are still around.

Paranormal activity at the former jail includes strange lights, disembodied voices, and shadowy figures. The Ghost Adventures crew explored the site in 2013 and encountered everything from mysterious balls of light to an apparition in an old cell block.

However, it seems the spookiness isn’t limited to the jail itself. I received the following story from a woman who encountered dark forces in a home nearby.

“I read your entry on the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Rawlins and wanted to add that the whole neighborhood around the prison experiences a lot of strange, seemingly paranormal happenings. My sister lives about a block and half from the prison and her family and many neighbors report strange events.

I have never been a believer in the paranormal (more of an entertained skeptic) until I stayed at her house for a couple of months to help out when she had health problems. In the time that I was there, I heard banging on the outside walls and windows (no one and nothing in sight when I went looking) and footsteps in other rooms and on the stairs (I could clearly see the area and there was no one there). My niece also held conversations with the ‘girl in the white dress.’ One time, I got stuck behind a locked door that wouldn’t open no matter what I tried, but opened 30 minutes later with no problem. I also felt terrible fear and paranoia from a harmless-seeming basement laundry room, heard whistling when no one was there, felt a hand touch my back when no one was in the house, and saw shadow figures.

The house was beautiful house, but creepy! I have no explanation, but I know that I experienced these things for myself.”

Have a true ghost story to share? Click here!



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7 August Events That Created Hauntings

by cnkguy
7 August Events That Created Hauntings

Goodbye, July. Hello, August! Brush up on your haunted history with these 7 August events that caused hauntings.

University of Texas Shootings – Austin, Texas

haunted UT tower

On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the Tower at the University of Texas and gunned down dozens of people, killing 14 and wounding 32. Some say he’s still there. Tower security guards report lights that go and off at night, when the offices are closed and the tower is vacant. In some instances, the lights switch on and off several times in one evening. On one occasion, an irritated security guard yelled at Charlie to knock it off, and the lights switched off and stayed that way.

Lizzie Borden Murders – Fall River, Massachusetts

haunted lizzie borden house

On August 4th, 1892, someone took an axe to Andrew and Abby Borden inside their Fall River home. Though police suspected Andrew’s daughter Lizzie, a jury acquitted her of the crime. The gruesome murders made international headlines and inspired the famous rhyme:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

Given the gory history of the Borden home, it’s hardly surprising the building has a haunted reputation. Strange events at the property include the sound of a woman weeping, muffled conversations in empty rooms, and shoes moving across the floor. One maid reportedly quit after seeing the indention of a body on a bed in Abby’s room.

Tate Murders – Los Angeles, California


On August 9, 1969, five members of the Manson family murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others at Tate’s Los Angeles home. Now, at least one homeowner near the former Tate residence believes the murder victims haunt his property.

“I’ve had many esteemed psychics and mediums here, and they all say that the spirits of those that were killed have unfinished business and they will not crossover until the murderers are also dead,” the homeowner told LA Weekly.

“I’ve seen infrared video footage of balls of light and shadow figures on many occasions and my figurines that stand in a very active room fall over without any help, often. I know it’s them.”

Salem Witch Trials – Salem, Massachusetts


Following the Salem Witch Trials, villagers executed five women and one man on August 19, 1692. Now, nearly 325 years later, ghosts of the wrongly accused still walk the historic city. Sightings include spectral cats, a ghostly woman in white, and apparitions hanging from trees, not to mention spirits from other time periods. These spirits include pirates, sea captains, and men and women from the Victorian era, among others.

Hurricane Katrina – New Orleans, Louisiana


Hurricane Katrina roared over the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, destroying homes and triggering a catastrophic levee failure in New Orleans. Over 1,800 people died, making Katrina one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history.

Just 17 days after the disaster, members of the National Guard spoke about a ghostly child they encountered at an evacuated school in New Orleans. In 2013, the crew of Ghost Adventures investigated a former bordello in New Orleans. Host Zak Bagans believes a Katrina victim spoke through the ghost box, naming the storm as his or her killer. That same year, the owner of a New Orleans burger joint claimed a Katrina ghost brought bad luck to his business. Are victims of the storm still around today? If so, it wouldn’t be the first time. Catastrophic natural disasters like Katrina often trigger widespread hauntings that last for years.

The Battle of Bosworth Field – Leicester, England


On August 22, 1485, Henry Tudor defeated and killed Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the Plantagenet dynasty and ushering in the Tudor era. Richard’s body was hastily buried on the battlefield, but historians weren’t exactly sure where he lay until archaeologists discovered his body under a parking lot in 2012. However, the area has long had a reputation for being haunted.

Visitors at the Bosworth Battle Heritage Centre have encountered hooded figures and/or heard the sound of a battle raging around them. Others have seen the apparition of a headless spirit roaming near the battle site. Some believe the headless man is Richard III himself who returns on the anniversary of his defeat.

Jack the Ripper Murders His First Victim – Whitechapel, London, England

jack the ripper victim

Sometime in the wee hours of August 31, 1888, the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper murdered his first victim, 43-year-old Mary Ann Nichols. Cart drivers discovered Nichols’ lifeless body on Buck’s Row (now Durward Street), and legend has it Mary Ann’s ghost still appears there. They say her crumpled body appears late at night, glowing green and laying exactly where she fell the night Jack the Ripper slit her throat.



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Ghost Photo: The White Lady of Hellfire Caves

by cnkguy
Ghost Photo: The White Lady of Hellfire Caves

The ghost of a heartbroken woman named Suki reportedly haunts the ominously named Hellfire Caves in Buckinghamshire, England. According to local legend, Suki was a beautiful barmaid who was tricked into entering the caves at night and then left to die in the dark. Is that her in the photo?

Have you captured a ghost on camera? Send it to



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Do Ghosts Walk Salem’s Historic Hawthorne Hotel?

by cnkguy
Do Ghosts Walk Salem’s Historic Hawthorne Hotel?

Named after famed author and Salem resident Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Hawthorne Hotel opened to great fanfare in 1925. More than one million visitors have passed through its doors, including the cast of Bewitched, former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, actress Bette Davis, and many others. However, legend has it some guests never checked out.

Eerie events at the Hawthorne include unexplained banging sounds, moving furniture, flickering lights, and sudden cold spots. Guests and staff say most paranormal activity takes place in rooms 325 and 612.

In 325, the sounds of a crying baby disturb guests, though no baby is ever around (much like the Skirvin Hotel haunting). Touches from unseen hands and faucets that switch off and on are also common complaints.

On the sixth floor, a woman in white reportedly wanders the hallway, lingering outside the door of room 612, before slowly fading away. A report on TripAdvisor recounts one couple’s strange experience in the infamous room. It seems the pair was settling in for the night when a loud banging sound startled them out of bed. They searched the room, and the hallway outside, but found nothing that could account for the banging.

Ghost Hunters investigated the site in 2007 and found no definitive proof of ghosts, though a cash register did print out a receipt for seemingly no reason. See the episode here.

Is the Hawthorne Hotel truly haunted? Or are the tales nothing more than creepy legends found in hotels across the country? I’ll be there next week to find out. Stay tuned!



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