While tradition in Japan holds that August is the time for spine-chilling tales of the supernatural, Shukan Jitsuwa (Sept 15) contradicts this formula, choosing instead to serve up types of supposedly true phenomena that may be scary in completely different ways.
Take the 5-channel online bulletin board, formerly known as 2-channel until October 2017. Stories on the section of the site dedicated to the occult are even said to have inspired several horror films.
One of the stories, which began from 2004, starts off with the sentence, "While I was on a train, it made a stop at an unmanned station I'd never heard of called 'Kisaragi.'"
Posters' stories on the board proceeded from there.
A year later, in 2005, the 2-channel site played host to "Kotoribako" (Puzzle box). The 60-minute movie based on this, directed by Yohei Fukuda, was released in 2021.
Said to be inspired by an urban legend initially circulated by an anonymous poster, the story goes that a villager found the puzzle box and brought it home. Soon women and children in the village started coughing blood and dying horribly. According to the legend, the box is hidden in one of the villages but nobody knows which one. Merely by coming in proximity to the puzzle box, women and children suffer from fatal breakdown of their internal organs.
On the surface it's easy to pass off these tales as made-up stories, but perhaps there's more to it. For instance, in the case of Kisaragi Station, a number of in-house reports at railway operators about this are said to exist, and while it's possible they were simply spun off as stories, many tend to be centered on a certain rail line in the Tokai region.
Another mystery is that if Kisaragi station is entered into Google Maps, its location, inexplicably, is shown on top of a pond located on the campus of Tsukuba University. (However as of August 2022, the spot was indicated in Google Maps, but not specifically labelled Kisaragi Station.)
The story on which the Puzzle Box is based has roots in many localities from ancient times, involving so-called forbidden places such as Okinoshima Island in Fukuoka Prefecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where secret rites are held and from which women are banned. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1535/
It is believed that frightening curses may fall upon those foolish enough to violate the island's proscriptions, although many of these have been debunked by modern medical science.
Then there are sites on the "Dark Web," which can usually only be accessed by special browser software. One of these was a shopping site named "Silk Road" that existed in the Dark Web between 2011 and 2013. Among its illegal offerings were illicit drugs, forged identification documents, firearms and others. Even now, films showing murders and rapes are said to be sol. America's FBI vigorously prosecuted the site's operator and forced it to shut down.
A hacker who goes by the pseudonym of Sasaki relates how, upon thinking he had gained access to a site on the Dark Web, suddenly saw his computer screen go blank and cursor movement freeze up. Then his computer's power went off. Ten minutes later the computer restarted of its own accord and Sasaki found himself looking at his own photo on the screen, beneath which were the threatening words: "SASAKI WE KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU."
But one need not attempt to access the Deep Web to encounter other frightening things on the internet, such as snuff films supposedly from Mexico or mass murders streamed to social networks by crazed mass killers in real time.
In 2017 on one board, someone began a thread requesting advice for how to "conceal about 50 kilograms of meat [sic] as quickly as possible." "Try using kitty litter in an insulated storage container," came one response.
While that particular thread generated a lot of speculation, the identity of the poster remains uncertain. All we can say for sure, concludes Shukan Jitsuwa, is that plenty of scary things are indeed out there in real life, and one need not look far to encounter them.© Japan Today