Monday, January 14, 2013

Yurei--Other Kinds of Ghosts in Japan

Another kind of Japanese ghost is the “Ghost Mother,” the spirit of a dead mother who returns to care for her living child. There are many stories from various areas of Japan telling of ghosts who may, for example, buy sweets for their babies and young children. The mother’s tie to her child allows her to remain to care for it. She is a benevolent figure, as long as the child is not harmed by someone, such as an angry father or stepmother, at which time she may become enraged.

Malevolent ghosts are another sort of ghost. Quite often they cause mischief and destruction. The ghosts of people who have died while trying to cross a mountain may try to mislead a person so that he or she will die and join the ghost in their lonely existence. Sometimes a ghost may create the illusion of a nice inn, for example, which in reality is the cave of a hungry beast. 
People who die at sea and become ghosts may follow a ship demanding to get a pail without a bottom. If they don’t get it, they will fill the ship with water so that it sinks. 
Fallen armies often come back in mass hauntings. Some individual dead samurai may return under specific circumstances or places associated with their deaths.

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