O-Sono's Ghost

tail
Corner-ul ur-corner
Area(s) Reported: Japan: Tamba Prefecture
Date(s) Reported: Sometime previous to 1868

O-Sono was loved by her merchant father, Inamuraya Gensuke, who wanted her to have a better education than was available to her in their home province of Tamba. Gensuke arranged for her to travel to Kyoto, the imperial city, to be educated in the skills and arts of ladies of the capital. She later married a merchant friend of her family, named Nagaraya, and lived happily with him, bearing him a son. This happiness, unfortunately, was short-lived... because four years after they had wed, O-Sono fell ill and died.

The night of O-Sono's funeral, her son came downstairs and told his family that his mother was upstairs and because she would not smile at him, he was frightened. Some of the family members went to investigate and discovered that, in fact, an apparition of O-Sono was in the room. She looked as she did in life, but the figure faded as it approached the floor, with only nothingness where the feet should have been. She was in front of a tansu, a chest of drawers that contained her personal belongings. Horrfied, the investigators quickly left the room.

It was decided that O-Sono must have returned because she missed her belongings; so the family emptied the drawers of the tansu the next day and donated her belongings to a Buddhist temple. But O-Sono appeared again that night, near the tansu... and she continued to appear, night after night, no matter what the family tried to either placate her or drive her away.

O-Sono's mother-in-law went to a local Zen temple and talked to the old head-priest there, named Daigen Osho. After she explained the situation and he understood the fear in the household, Daigen Osho reassured her that the situation was not all that bad and offered to stay over that night to see what he could do to help O-Sono rest. And so the family prepared the room for him; and, giving instructions that no one should enter the room unless he asked them to, Daigen Osho sat down to recite religious sutras and wait.

Nothing happened until the Hour of the Rat, the time between midnight and 2:00AM, when suddenly O-Sono appeared next to the tansu. Daigen Osho, asking simple yes/no questions, determined that their was something about the tanzu itself that had disturbed O-Sono's spirit so, with her permission, he carefully searched through the piece of furniture... and found a letter, hidden under the lining paper of the bottom drawer. Asked if this was what she was worried about, the ghost only stared intently at the missive. Asked if he should destroy it, the ghost silently bowed to the head-priest. With his promise that it should be burned that very day and that only he should ever read it, O-Sono's ghost disappeared and never returned.

Rumor says the letter was a love-note O-Sono had received in Kyoto before her marriage... but since only Daigern Osho ever read it, and he took the secret to his own grave, no one will ever be sure.

corner-ll corner-lr

Sources

  • Kwaidan, by Lafcadio Hearn, 1930 Houghton Mifflin and Company, Boston and New York, USA. pg. 115-122. Online: Click Here!

Home Monsters! Gallery Contact Store!