Saturday, June 30, 2012
Freaky Friday: Noppera-bo
Everyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with the paranormal and horror creatures. I'm currently writing a YA Horror and thought this creature would be the perfect start to Freaky Friday. My main character is haunted by faceless ghosts, an idea that I got from the Noppera-bo.
The Noppera-bo are, in fact, faceless ghosts of Japanese folklore. Though, from behind, they do look like normal people, the Noppera-bo's distinctive feature is their face, which lacks eyes, a nose or a mouth. Instead they only have smooth skin replacing their human facial features.
People who encounter Noppera-bo do not immediately realize that they are talking to something that is otherworldly, as the creatures are able to create the illusion they have a normal face. A Noppera-bo will wait for the right moment before causing their faces to disappear, scaring the person they are speaking to. These creatures usually appear in lonely rural settings, although they can appear anywhere as long as the area is deserted. The Noppera-bo's primary purpose is to scare humans.
One famous Noppera-bo story is Lafcadio Hearn's Mujina. In the story, Hearn refers to the creatures as mujina, which is actually a different type of creature altogether (a sort of badger). The story speaks of a man hurrying up an isolated road when he saw a woman crouching by the moat, all alone and weeping. Fearing that she intended to drown herself, he stopped to offer help. When she dropped her hand and turned around she had no face. The man screamed and ran away, never looking back.
He stopped at a soba-seller standing by the side of the road and went to tell his story to the seller. Once the story was finished, the soba-seller said "Was it anything like this?", stroking his own face where the features disappeared, revealing the same smooth skin creature.
Aren't those creatures fascinating? Every Friday I'll be back with a new and interesting (possibly spooky) creature. Enjoy the weekend.