Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Hole Next To Hell (墓獄次穴)

The Chinese believe that those who harm others would harm themselves too (害人害己). There is a saying in Japanese that sounds like: 人を呪わば穴二つ meaning if one curses others, then he will die of his own curse too; hence two graves are required.

Below is a story told by Hanako recalled from a famous Japanese horror tales:

The village I lived in is at the foot of a mountain. It was quite an isolated village with a population not more than 1000 people before I left the place at the age of 18 years old.

Since it was a small community, people there knew each other well.

Once a year, the local shinto shrine would hold a 'matsuri' or religious sacrificial offering ceremony.
The ceremony was held around a well beside the shrine. People would start a bonfire and let it burn throughout the night.All in all, the place would be full of activities.

I like to attend this ceremony because this is the only occasion that I could enjoy delicacies in the whole year. No one would be offended and all wrong doings would be forgiven with smiles.

An incident occurred on the day of festive when I was 17 years old.

My friends, Tanaka San and Yamada San came to visited me at my house.

We started to chat and Tanaka San mentioned about the festival suddenly. 

Tanaka San said: "Do you guys know that this ceremony was meant to worship the well? It is believed that the well is connected to the hell!"

Yamada San and I laughed and said in disbelieved: "So it is!"

Tanaka San continued: "As told by my grandma that it is true. Do you guys wanted to go down tomorrow night to have a look?"

Yamada San and I immediately fell into long silent on hearing Tanaka San's words.But he started to tease us, so one way or another; the decision to go ahead with the plan was made...

By the time we arrived at the well with some torchlight and a piece of long rope, village folks and the shrine priest were already gone to rest. After making sure that no one was around, Tanaka San dropped the rope into the well and said to Yamada San and me: "I go down first, then Yamada San and you wait by the well to pull me up..."

After said so, Tanaka San tied the rope around his waist and we lowered him down to the well slowly... Suddenly a sharp shriek came up from the well. We couldn't tell if it was from Tanaka San or something else...

Feeling panic, Yamada San and I started to yell into the well: "Tanaka San... Are you okay?"
There was no reply from Tanaka San, just a series of shrieks: 'ah~'.

Finally the commotion woke up the priest and he hastily rushed to us and together we pulled Tanaka San up and out from the well... 

Tanaka San was finally out alright but he was in a state of panic and he couldn't recognize anyone of us. Tanaka San only said 'hands' over and over again.

The priest started to scold us: "Didn't your old folks tell you not to come near the well after night? This is a 'cursed well'!"

We shook our heads innocently, the priest continued: "This place was once a barren place and no crops could grow well. But landlords continued to force those poor locals to pay high taxes.

Many people cannot pay the required sum committed suicide by jumping into the well. Since those folks died with hatred and curses, those landlords were either killed or disappeared mysteriously.

Since no bodies were ever found inside the well, some people believed that the well indeed connected to the hell."

We stayed in the shrine until morning when our parents came to fetch us back.

Three months later, my parents sent me to Tokyo to stay with my grandparents. There I started my elementary school.

Yamada San left a year later.

As far as I know, Tanaka San has never recovered. He could only speak the word 'hands' repeatedly. According to the priest, Tanaka San's soul were being detained by those restless souls inside the well.

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