Hiroshima Ghost Story

Two years ago, I took a gap year to travel abroad, and was unsure where I wanted to visit. I’ve always been a student of history, and Japanese history has long been a passion of mine: My mom’s side is fourth-generation Japanese and many of my friends in San Francisco where I grew up were Japanese, so it’s close to my heart.

I decided to spend six months abroad in Japan, researching very different periods of Japanese history in three different cities.

My first two months were in Kyoto, the next two in Himeji and the final two in Hiroshima. My first four months in Japan were incredible, and I immersed myself in Tokugawa Shogunate-era history, visiting the Himeji Castle and poring over treasure troves of old documents, in great preparation for my college History Studies at UCLA. But my last two months in Hiroshima?

That’s when I saw something I still can’t explain.

I arrived at Hiroshima by bullet train in late July, and arranged to stay on CouchSurfing with a local University student who, for the sake of anonymity, I’ll call Hideki. Hideki took me back to his place and I practiced my Japanese with him.

We sat on his balcony sharing a Vape, talking about girls and university and our share love of history when I carefully asked him a question I’d been quietly dreading posing: “Did your family lose anyone? In the war, that is.”

Hideki paused, staring back at me and pondering how to answer that. He took a stuttering drag on the vape, blowing out vapor that masked his face in a swirling cloud of grey. “Almost all of them,” He said. “My grandmother and grandfather were the only survivors of their families when the bomb fell.”

The vapor cleared, and I saw a tear disappear down his cheek. “What about you?” He asked, voice surprisingly steady. I told him my great-grandad on my mom’s side fought with the Japanese and died on Saipan and my great-great grandad fought with the Americans in World War I, and we cautiously discussed our family’s military exploits.

It’s much more sensitive in Japan than it is back home to talk about this, and it was a big show of trust for Hideki to tell me this. After a while I told him I’d go to bed, as it had been a long day.

But as I got up, Hideki asked – “Do they ever visit you?”

I paused, frowning. “What do you mean?”

“Your grandparents – do they ever come to you?”

I paused again. “No,” I said, feeling weirded out. What was he driving at?

“They visit me,” he said solemnly, taking a draw on the vape and staring at the passing lights of the city.

“Especially at this time of year.”

There was nothing I could say to that that wouldn’t be disrespectful: Was Hideki telling me he was visited by ghosts? Japanese was my second language, after all, so maybe I was misunderstanding him.

I shook my head, and went to bed.

Fast forward a few days, and the annual ceremony to commemorate the victims of the August 6th bomb were out on the streets in the evening. Hideki and I were going to celebrate it together, and we were walking along an old street down to the river, where lanterns are set adrift to commemorate the seventy thousand people who died here.

As we were moseying along in companionable silence, I looked down a side street – and froze.

At the end of the street there were a pair of figures, dancing. They were waltzing together, as if there were old-fashioned music playing in the background.

Dimly, I could almost hear it: an American tune that would have had to have been smuggled in, maybe from the 1940s. But what would this music be doing here, now? I was only dimly aware of this, however, as the figures seemed to be waltzing – zig-zagging – in my direction. As they came closer, I felt a hypnotic sense of horror as I realized these two figures were not just black – they were charcoal.

Moving, seething masses of charcoal, their blackened bodies jerked awkwardly as the danced together, all discernible features other than outline scorched to ash. I opened my mouth to scream for Hideki and the figures vapourized, turning to a harsh, fast-moving cloud of ash as if blown away by a terrifying wind beyond and comprehension that exploded towards me, blowing me back flat on my butt.

This time I screamed as the dark ash cloud passed right by me, filling my senses with ash and a foul smell of burning flesh. When Hideki came running to the sound of my screams, he found me curled in a fetal position, sobbing – laying right next to a pair of Hiroshima shadows, the permanent burn marks of people vapourized in the burning bright blast of the Hiroshima Bomb.

To this day, I have no logical explanation for anything I saw that night – other than what Hideki told me after: “Now, you have been visited too – haven’t you?”

The Fallen Japanese Soldiers in the Woods

Let me share this cultural and historical background before we begin the story. My family is originally from Taiwan. Taiwan was occupied by Japan from 1895 to 1945. Thus older generations such as my grandparents and great-grandparents still speak fluent Japanese. When the Japanese first took over, many people joined militias and fought back. The war against resistance lasted few years. Both sides suffer heavy casualties.

Due to the chaotic situation, many corpses were buried randomly throughout the entire island.

There are still many burial grounds being accidentally dug up occasionally until this day. In Asian cultures, we believe in spiritual entities such as deity, jinn, ghost, and demon. A mortal can choose to pray or worship any spiritual entity regardless it’s good or evil. The general rule of thumb is that a mortal should respect the existence of any spiritual entity.

Like my grandma always says, if we don’t disturb them, they wouldn’t disturb us.

We also believe if a spiritual entity wants your attention, it would come into your dream and tell you what’s going on. My parents are both MBAs from WSU. Needless to say they choose science over paranormal stuff. It was not until this incident in the early 2000 forever changed their perspectives.

My mom grew up in a farm in Yangminshan, a very famous national park in Taipei. My grandparents’ farm is located by a major highway yet most of the farm itself is surrounded by dense woods. When I was three year old, my grandma had tenant named Chen.

Chen was a college student majoring in sculpture at the Chinese Culture University. One day he was wandering in the surrounding woods when he came across a small, abandoned shrine with many fist-size rocks stacked on its roof.

In our culture, a typical shrine usually has a carved description of what’s being worshipped inside the shrine nearby.

Yet this shrine looked sketchy and it had no description at all. He randomly took one of the rocks from the rooftop then went home to sculpt it for his assignment. Two semesters later, Chen traveled to England to study aboard yet he somehow had really bad luck in daily life. One day, a soldier came into Chen’s grandfather’s dream.

The soldier somehow spoke Japanese. The soldier told Chen’s grandfather that someone in his family had stolen from him and the entire “platoon” was very angry.

Chen’s grandfather woke up in the morning and immediately contacted Chen and told him to come back to Taiwan right away. When Chen fist learned about his grandfather’s dream, he finally realized why he had such bad luck for months. He revisited the shrine with many offerings.

He apologized for his rude behavior in prayer and asked if they wanted to be compensated.

Chen soon asked if the spirit would send out a volunteer and follow him to a psychic to negotiate for the compensation. Chen later told us that he did feel being followed on his way to the psychic.

Also, when he passed a farmer’s market on, the livestock in the market suddenly went silent for no reason. He later spent some money fixing up the shrine and offered many offerings again. Soon everything went back to normal.

My family is still in touch with Chen. He is now a professor in a college in Yilan County.

I still visit my grandparents every year but they wouldn’t tell me where the shrine is every time I bring up the topic. I somehow still want to find the shrine myself, but my parents always tell me not to.

I recently learn that there were many battles took place in that area when the Japanese army first entered Taipei in 1895. It really gives a better explanation of the origin of those fallen soldiers and why the soldiers had spoken Japanese, and visit Chen’s grandfather instead of Chen himself.

Okinawa ghost

Hi, this is a story from when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I am from a military family and at the time we were stationed in Okinawa. My family was living on Kadena Air Force Base.

One thing you should know about the housing on Military Bases in Okinawa is that it is very old.

There are some new houses there now but the house that I lived in was probably built around WWII. My family was very religious but I never believed in ghosts. I’m still not sure exactly what it was that I saw, but here is the story. As I said , I was about eleven. Our house was very old and we had to call the Base housing maintenance about once a week to fix something.

Our AC system would always leek and we had to keep a dehumidifier because it would get so moist that black mold would grow on our walls.

My dad would wake up early for work and he would wake me up with him just before he left so I could do schoolwork. I was homeschooled so I would usually just grab something to eat from the kitchen and eat it while I did my school. That was my plan for this morning as well. I said goodbye to my dad and got my schoolbooks out.

Then I walked into the kitchen.

The light was off in the kitchen but it was on in the room behind me. I guess that is why I was able to see her. Standing by one of the kitchen counters, about 4 and a half feet away from me there was a woman. I only saw her for about a second but I know she was very short, no taller than me, and I was only 11.

Her head was down and her long black hair covered most of her face.

It is kind of hard to describe what she was wearing, everything on her except her face and hands was black like a shadow. Her hair appeared to be wet, and the little skin I could see was unusually pale. I was very confused.

At first I thought maybe she worked for Base Housing. After all, she was standing very close to our laundry room which is wear most of our problems with the house happened. They don’t always knock so I really didn’t think much of that. It was still strange to me that she was by herself, at 6 in the morning, wet and in what looked to be a black night gown. I knew we hadn’t called anyone to fix anything so I wondered if maybe the neighbors had called her and she just got lost.

She could have easily walked in through the side door that led into our laundry room and into the kitchen, there wasn’t even a door separating the two rooms. Without turning around I reached behind me to flip on the light switch.

As I moved her face began to tilt up as if just noticing me there. I flipped the light switch on and within a second she was gone.

But I had seen her face as she looked up at me, or rather I hadn’t. She didn’t have a face. Where her face should have been there was just pale skin. No eyes, no nose, and no mouth. Not even empty sockets where those things should have been. That really freaked me out.

I took a few nervous steps backwards out of the room. Out of frightened curiosity I guess, I reached tentatively back into the room and flipped the light switch back off. She did not reappear. After that I was very nervous about going into our kitchen, especially with the lights off.

I never saw her again and no one in my family ever told me they had seen her.

I did not say anything anything about it to anyone for a very long time. When I did tell my mother, she gave me a surprising response. Apparently, our house was built before Kadena became an American Base. It used to be a Japanese Base.

During WWII, the Japanese told the Okinawan people that if the Americans made it to the island the soldiers would rape and murder their children.

So when the Americans made it to Okinawa, Okinawan teachers took their students to some very high cliffs at the tip of the island to pushed them off, they then jumped off themselves. I myself had heard this story before, I have even been to the cliffs where it took place.

Apparently, I am not the only person to see this woman before. Many people who have lived on Kadena have told stories of seeing a woman in their house. She is mostly seen in or near peoples laundry rooms. I would be very interested to see if people have seen thing similar to the woman I saw, whatever she was.

Himalayan Apparition (Horror stories from Asia)

About two summers back, I voyaged to a few countries on a backpacking trip, my last stop being India. I’m sure you can imagine the raw beauty of India, but also the darkness as it is a poverty stricken country.

About a week into my stay, my friends and I took a bus from New Delhi to Manali in the Himalayas. I should preface by saying that I tend to be more skeptical when it comes to all things paranormal, as I was born and raised Messianic Jewish and was here on a missions trip, though this doesn’t make me any less of a fan of horror stories.

Arriving in Manali, I absolutely loved it. It was mountainous, the locals were friendly and the backpacking community there was awesome; I just threw myself right into my environment. My friend and I shared a room at a hostel right at the end of Old Manali.

On about the second or third night there, I decided it was time to shower before turning in for the night.

In India, the shower is not separated from the rest of the room like it was back home in America. It was just a water spout on the wall, which meant I could see directly into the mirror above the sink in front of me when I would shower, which understandably freaked me out a bit. As I was finishing up my shower, I turned off the water and reached for my towel before looking in the mirror.

Looking up, it took me a few moments to really process what the hell I was staring at.

There, behind me in the mirror, was a tall, freakishly pale humanoid thing with long black hair hunched over walking around. I frooze.

I threw on my towel and noped the hell outta there to get my friend. I breathlessly explained what had happened to me. Terrified, I was unsure of how someone could possibly get into the bathroom, as the window in there is barely big enough for me to fit my head through, and there was no way someone could get in without my friend seeing them first.

We both inched to the bathroom only to find nothing.

My friend seemed like she wasn’t really surprised at the matter, while I, on the other hand, was freaking out. She explained to me I probably saw a Rakshasa (female, Rakshashi), which is a demon in Hindu mythology. What I saw pretty much fit most of what Rakshasa/i are described as in folklore. For the rest of the trip, I absolutely despised showering in that hostel. I’m glad we only stayed in that part of the Himalayas for only a few more days. Rakshashi, let’s never meet again.

Ghost In Korea

Hi I’m Chloe, I’m 20 years old, and your average American girl. I just recently got engaged to my boyfriend that I have been dating for a few years now. Everything is going good, and we rarely argued. He is literally the definition of perfect. Okay, I’ll spare the sappy stuff for you. On to the story, my fiancé is a Korean American and we’ll call him Lee Min. We both have grown up in America, but he has a lot of family still back in South Korea. Obviously since we got engaged we had to go visit his extended family in South Korea for them to finally see me and talk about the wedding, all those kind of things. I love Korean culture, food, music, and fashion so I was more than thrilled about going on this trip. When we got there, everyone around was very nice to me and I had a blast eating korean bbq with them, and doing karaoke. It’s when we got to his grandparents house.. when it all started.

He told me very early in our relationship that he always hated staying in that house. It was a traditional and beautiful house, but that wasn’t the problem. He would tell me that he had nightmares there, and have sleep paralysis only when he is in that house. That he would hear whispers in old South Korean dialect. He had bad memories of this for awhile, and the list of his expirences went on. I always comforted him at those times when he thought about it and cried. It was a lot for a young kid to handle at the time.

I didn’t think much of it since I’ve never had an expirence with the unexplained. When we set our bags down in the guest room, the room he was in as a child, I saw his face turn pale. I assured him that it’d be alright and he relaxed a little bit. It was finally time to get some rest. Lee Min got under the covers of the bed and I turned out the lights when I got in too. I remember the room like I was there yesterday. The door was a sliding door made of paper, there was only a closet, nightstand and bed. Nothing else. The thing that freaked me out about the room was the far corner next to the closet. It was the darkest part of the room and when you look at it long enough, it looked like something was moving in it.
We tried to get some rest and I felt relieved a few minutes after when I realized Lee Min was fast asleep. I thought maybe those were just childhood fears of his, since he did go through a lot when he was younger. Boy was I wrong. Right when I shut my eyes to drift off into dreamland, it was interrupted by a soft whisper. I kept my eyes closed, thinking it could just be his grandparents still awake, and whispering so they won’t wake us up. My eyes felt heavy though, and I felt as if my kids were glued together and couldn’t open. That was because I felt an intense presence in front of my face. And by intense, it’s like a face right in front of yours while you are pretending to be asleep. It was overwhelming and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt like any moment I will open my eyes and see two eyes staring daggers at me. I pulled the blanket over my head. I was too tired and confused to think properly. I just needed sleep from all the touring I did that day in Seoul. But no, I felt it again. It felt like someone was standing over me and just watching me sleep. I couldn’t look up, my body felt completely paralyzed. I was too afraid that something out of that corner, or whatever else was staring down at me. I nudged Lee Min with my elbow. I didn’t want to wake him up, but I was actually scared. Then I heard another whisper. I thought it was him so I turned my face to hear him, still not opening my eyes, “what did you say?” I asked quietly. Another whisper. I couldn’t make out what the whispers were. It definitely wasn’t modern Korean language, which I have studied in school. It was words I couldn’t understand. I knew Lee Min didn’t know traditional dialect even more than I did. I slowly peeled my eyes open and looked at my fiancé. What I saw made my body run cold. He was sweating hard, his body shaking, and his face extremely pale. I could tell that his muscles were clenching up tightly. It looked as if something unseen was grabbing him and trying to suck the life out of him and it infuriated me. Whatever this was, was hurting my fiancé and I had to spring into action about it. I didn’t want to scare him or cause him to get any worse by making any sudden movement so I carefully placed my arms around him. I ran my fingers through his hair soothingly to calm him down. Through all of this my own body was shaking, and I still felt that same presence behind me. I still didn’t dare to turn around to see if I could see it. After whimpering and shaking violently he finally calmed down a little bit, and his breaths became slower. I let out a breath in relief and softly called out his name to see if he was awake. I could only assume this room was giving him nightmares right away. I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t get any sleep. He slowly opened his eyes, and they shot up to me. He gasped in horror, still scared from his dream but he then placed his hand on his heart and controlled his breathing. He instantly hugged me, telling me how terrible the dream was and that I was in it. He was telling me how the ghost got me and tried to kill me. Till this day, his dream shook me to my core. It made me wonder if the ghost in his dream was the figure I felt above me and in front of my face. After all this we decided to leave and sleep in the living room where there was no paranormal action happening. It only happened in that room, never any other room in the house. Lee Min felt bad about being disrespectful to his grandparents who let us stay in the room, but they never thought it was haunted and never felt anything while in there. So till this day it’s still a mystery. If you could explain this I would like that. That was a month ago, and our wedding is in a week. There is NO way we’ll visit that room to spend the night after the wedding. I’m still scared to think about it, and I know now that it wasn’t a silly childhood memory of delusions. It’s real. But it’s only happened to us. By the way, please come to South Korea it’s a beautiful, kind, and amazing place! You’ll love it! Just please… make sure you don’t stay in a haunted room!