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Japanese Ghosts Haunt Your Bathroom in The Gasp Menagerie

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The Gasp Menagerie

As Jack Burton’s buddy Wang pointed out, Chinese got a lot of hells.  Well, Japanese got a lot of ghosts.  I mean, a LOT.

They’re called Yokai, and various ghosts, spirits, demons, and other associated spooks haunt many aspects of traditional Japanese beliefs and folklore.

The wonderful site Atlas Obscura recently posted a story that covers a specific segment of yokai: the ones that hang around bathrooms.

As documented in a book I desperately want to own, The Book Of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures Of Japanese Folklore, these yokai can be attracted to baths, toilets, or the things that go on in baths and toilets.

As the author, Michael Dylan Foster, relates, bathrooms are a doorway to another realm.  Yes, we’re referring to the sewer.  American sewers don’t really tend to contain much other than poop, stuff people shouldn’t flush down toilets but do anyway, and the occasional mythical alligator.  It’s clear, however, that the sewers of Japanese folklore could get much more interesting.

Such ethereal denizens can include Hanako-San, which can be summoned via a specific “Bloody Mary” type of ritual in girl’s bathrooms.  My personal favorite spook that’s related specifically to the shitter is Aka Manto, or Red Cape.  This isn’t your standard Little Red Riding Hood, oh no.  Red Cape is said to knock on the door of the stall you’re currently using to drop the kids off at the pool and ask you if you want red paper/cape or blue paper/cape.  If you say red, your back gets flayed (hence, Red Cape) and if you say blue, you get strangled and turn blue (hence, Blue Cape).  If you get clever and ask for another color, you get dragged off to hell.  Aka Manto doesn’t like smartasses.  You can only dodge the ghost by turning down all offers and just free-handing it like the middle ages.  Getting stinkpalmed is a small price to pay for avoiding hell, I guess.

The better known Kappa is also tied to bathrooms.  (If you’ve played a Mario game, you know about the turtle-like Kappas.)  Their love for water can attract them to bathing areas, and they’ll harass women.  One way to dispel them is their aversion to farts, which is extremely convenient for bathroom run-ins.  Cut one loose like the fellow in the drawing below and your turtle-esque intruder will be sent packing so you can proceed with copping a squat without interruption.

For more info on these and other crapper critters, check out the Atlas Obscura story above or Foster’s book which, thankfully, also covers ghosts that won’t pester you while you pinch a loaf.


Explore The Gasp Menagerie!

Have a weird story? Potential evidence of the supernatural, or at least something hard to explain? Spot any creepy critters out there roaming the wilds? LET ME KNOW! I’d love to talk about it and possibly write it up right here in the Gasp Menagerie. You’ll get appropriate credit, of course, and everyone else will get fresh creepy (as opposed to fresh Creepy, which, trust me… nobody wants that) to enjoy. As always, I can be found at mrdark@dreadcentral.com. Now get out there, find some weird, and let’s get this party started.

The Gasp Menagerie

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