Friday, September 12, 2014

Freaky Friday: Hanako-san

When you think of ghost stories, do you instantly think of dark and stormy nights, deserted farm houses, old manors on the moor? What about in the toilets? Today, in the lead up to Shinigami's cover reveal on Monday (ooh, how exciting), and its release in just over a month, I am taking you back to Japan to tell you a very popular ghost story.

During my research into all the wonderfully creepy stories that fill Japanese urban legends I have noticed that it's not uncommon for a ghost to haunt the toilets. And let me tell you, unlike the lovely Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter series, these ghosts will usually end up finding the most bloody way possible to kill you. Yeah, what a way to die, on the toilet.

Hanako-san is even worse. She is said to haunt Elementary School toilets.

Hanako is the Elementary Schools version of Bloody Mary. Her origins vary from an abused girl whose abusive parent chased her down and killed her in the washroom to a young girl who committed suicide in the toilet, while there are stories that say she was a victim of a school that burnt down due to the air raids during the war. But she always said to haunt stall number 3 of the 3rd floor bathroom.

It is said that you can summon her by knocking on her stall three times and asking "Hanako-san are you there". If she is there, she will reply in a quiet girl's voice, "Yes I am" and the stall will open up a bit. When the student investigates they will find the ghost of little Hanako wearing a red skirt with her hair done up in an old style bun. She is said to grab the student and drag them down the toilet to hell.

Since Hanako-san is a widespread urban legend, there are variations to the ending depending on what region of Japan you are in. Some ending is that a giant hand will grab you and drag you to hell, another story is that you will find a three-headed lizard mimicking the girl and will eat you. Then there is the least cruel one where you won't find the ghost, you'll just find a bloody hand print on the stall's door.

Isn't that enough to make you never want to go to a public toilet again... oh, but wait, there are actually worse stories out there than Hanako. But I guess, that will have to wait for another time.

Do you know any ghost stories? Are you a believer or a skeptic when it comes to ghosts and the unexplained?


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