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Sunday, 24 May 2009

My Master Series: Episode 5 "The Toyama Hotel"

There is an experience I still remember vividly.

For the simple reason that it was summer, me and other members of the club decided to visit a haunted place.

The place we chose to explore was the Toyama Hotel*1, which was an abandoned building located on Toyama Pass.

We had done some research on the internet and found a lot of reports of ghost sightings in the place:
"There is a fire-ravaged boiler chamber which is really dangerous."
"We heard voices on the third floor."
"Having found nothing we were about to leave when we saw a shadow hovering around a window on the third floor."
I noticed there were more reports about the third floor than anywhere else.

To set the mood for the event, we first played kokkuri-san*2 at my house and went to the hotel at midnight. As we were a large group - five boys and five girls - we were quite cheery at first but the atmosphere changed as soon as we saw the large ominous shadow of the Toyama Hotel looming ahead of us .

We'd heard we could sneak in the backdoor through the graveyard next to the hotel so we'd come fully prepared wearing easy-to-move clothes, but we found no graveyard.
There was a place next to the hotel which came closest to the description of the graveyard but it turned out to be just a large open space.

"I can't see any graveyards here."
A guy in the group said to me; but when we explored the place more with a flashilight we found a tiered platform, on top of which stood a monolith of strange shape.
"Look, there's some writing on it."
I lit up a section of the monolith and it said: "Memorial for Martyrs."
Oh my god.

The monolith had an endless list of names on it, such as "33rd Showa*3, Lieutenant__"
The eerie presence of the monolith plus the ruins next to it made the girls tearful and even the boys started saying straight-faced, "this place isn't good."
I was also scared but it wouldn't be fun if we just left after having come all this way, so I did my best to calm them down.
We then found a little stream at the further end of the field and by crossing over it we finally managed to get to the hotel's backdoor and enter inside.

Inside was full of rubbish; disused telephones, empty cans... The bathroom and toilets were dirty but seemed new. The wallpapers and carpets were decaying in such a way that was appropriate for ruins.

Because we only had two flashlights among us we tried to stay close together as we went around the building taking hundreds of photos.

The kitchen especially was in good condition with all the utensils and other things like account books remaining intact.
The rumour had it that the hotel went bankrupt after its owner went mad.

We were feeling slightly braver after we had completed the search on the first floor.
Soon we found and climbed the stairs leading to the second floor.

Having arrived on the second floor we were talking about going straight on to the third floor, which was where the most rumours about the hotel stemmed from, when suddenly a phone started ringing.

The shrill sound echoed in the silence.
It was coming from the third floor.
The girls started screaming their heads off.
A wave of terror began to spread among us and some of us started dashing downstairs.
"Hey, you guys, calm down! I said, calm down!"

This was my worst nightmare. Panic could lead to an accident.
I hesitated whether to go up or down but the ringing sound was grating my nerves.
"Don't run. Go down slowly."
I said, feeling like their parent, but the two who had flashlights had already gone downstairs.
Darkness suddenly decended on me and I started feeling chilly. I was soon dashing after them.

When I got to the first floor everyone was gathering in an open space that had once probably been a lobby. Just as I arrived the phone abruptly stopped ringing.

"I want to go home."
One girl said, crying. There was an awkward silence.
The boys too were looking pale.

It was then that the oldest guy in the group spoke up.
He was my Master in the Way of Occult.

"Sorry, sorry. I'm really sorry."
He said, casually taking a mobile out of his pocket.
"I never imagined it would scare you guys this much. I'm sorry."
He then started to explain that he wanted to make the whole exploring experience a little more exciting and had come up with an idea of hiding a mobile on the third floor during the day.
He waited until it was the right moment and made a call to the mobile on the third floor by another mobile in his pocket.
Idiot! Talk about going too far.
Everyone sobered up instantly and we decided to quit it there and then.

On the way home my master said to me,
"That place is crazy."
I nearly told him: no, it's you who are crazy. But he continued.

"When we were looking at the monolith, did you notice the people in the hotel window?"
I didn't. It never entered my mind to look in that direction at the time.
"I thought, being summer, they were just a gang of kids. But when I went inside it became obvious that I had been wrong. There were a lot more than ten of them there. I mean on the upper floor."
"Who do you mean by 'them'?"
"Did you think I had money to spend on an extra mobile just for a prank?"
Oh no.
"That was the hotel's phone. You heard it, right? Rriiiiing."
Of course.

After we sent everyone home my master said something unthinkable.
"OK, shall we go back to the hotel now?"
I begged him on my knees not to go and he let me go.

But apparently in the end he went back there on his own.
A few days later I asked him what happened.
With an inscrutable half-smile, he said:
"When I went back inside the phone started ringing again. I picked it up but all I could hear from it was riiiiiiiiing. I yelled, 'you cowards!' And every phone in the hotel started ringing, all at the same time. Then I knew I was in for trouble and I just ran away."


--------
*1 Toyama Hotel - this used to really exist in Okayama Prefecture but was demolished and turned into a parking space.
*2 Kokkuri-san - the Japapanese version of the ouija board.
*3
Showa Period - the period of Japanese history corresponding to the reign of Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), from December 25, 1926 to January 7, 1989.

21 comments:

Tahmnong said...

Oooo this reminds me of this old condemned mental hospital on the edge of a town I used to live in, and all the kids in my school would try to sneak in at night, and a few came back with creepy stories like this one~ I'm sad I never got to go haha, I think exploring an abandoned building would be so interesting, but I'd probably chicken out at the last second haha.

This was a very interesting story, though! Hmm...I wonder what would have happened if he'd stayed with all the ringing phones haha :P

美B said...

Tahmnong--Let's go to a ruin together someday! :D

Saya, I'm so happy you posted this! It made my weekend awesome! <3

Adorably Dead said...

I have the movie about Kokurri-san! It's creepy.

I got so scared at the sorry part of this post. My curtin behind me got in the way of the air conditioner and made it blow all this cold air onto my lower back, XD!

Awesome post Saya and very creepy.

Sookan said...

i would have preferred a first-hand account from the "master". but then i guess the series would have to be called "my student".

there isn't a lot of space in britain, so derelict buildings are hard to find, and even harder to break into/gain access too, as people hire security guards/use dogs, or just board it up securely. if i ever got the chance, i wouldn't hesitate to go investigating ruins!

Tahmnong said...

美B - Ooooo, deal! Let's go! haha~ :D

Sumomo said...

I just found your site, and I stayed up all last night reading it! It's so great to finally find a site that satisfies my ghost story cravings. :) I love japanese ghost stories, I've been addicted to them since a friend in high school started telling me a few. Thank you so much for the site! :)

Now back to being scared. :P

SAYA said...

Thank you millions times everyone for your comments :D

Adorably Dead - Turn off your air conditioner!

Tahmnong, 美B, Sookan - be careful! Exploring ruins can be extremely dangerous!
But oh! The derelict mental hospital sounds sweet!

Sumomo - thank you very much. How sweet of you to leave a message like that!

neu said...

at least his master's good with quick thinking the calm people down!
pretty creepy story, saya :)

Jeremy said...

If only we all lived in the same country, we could get together to visit a ruin :/ Saya could be our Master of the Occult, haha.

this story really has me wanting to go exploring again. it's probably my favorite one in the series.

Masked Rider Black said...

This reminds me of a story I heard from a taxi driver I had the good fortune of talking to during a ride to the office.

He's actually younger than me, and admitted that he drove taxis to fund his hobby, which is to eat exotic food while in haunted places in our country.

While we were en route to my office, he told me about how he used to be such a skeptic about the supernatural. It all changed when after an accident involving him being shocked by a live wire, he started seeing the supernatural. Not ghosts, but actual demonic creatures/monsters/dwarves/fairies. And he swears that they're real.

He actually saw, one night, a black dwarf who seemed to be watching over a tree full of green fairies. He swore that he was dead sober when he saw the dwarf. It was only about a few feet high, black from top to toe, with sunken eyes and ears with really sharp tips. And it was looking at him with murder in its sunken eyes.

He ran away as fast as he can. He was so frightened he actually pissed himself.

It might sound fantastic but he was so adamant in telling it that it couldn't be a lie.

He also admitted that he envied a friend of his who could only see ghosts. He says it's a bit more predictable that way, at least.

SAYA said...

neu - I'm glad I creeped you out!:D

Jeremy - Master of the Occult? Moi?
You should all come to Japan and I will be the one!haha

Masked Rider Black - that's a very interesting story!! Thank you very much for sharing it with us! When I was a child I wanted to see fairies, but I guess it's not as nice as you might think if you can actually see it!

Thank you all of you for your comments!!

Sugar said...

WOW,nice one!!:)Me likey...

MB said...

Great to see another story in the My Master series! I look forward to these. It would be exciting to go exploring haunted places at night. Some nights just beg you to take a flashlight and go outdoors and do something.

anti-zombie death squad said...

reminds me of one of my firsthand apparition experiences.

i was in college then in a university which has a "colorful" history.

It was around 8pm, just after my last finals exam for the day, I decided to visit the old university chapel to say some thanks for somehow decently answering the test questions (my last exam for the day, if i remember it correctly, is econometrics and i need all the luck in the world to survive it). I stayed at the chapel for about 5 minutes but didn't notice all the while that the temperature was eerily cold because summer just started and the chapel's airconditioning unit was off. When I went out the chapel to mosey home, I met an Irish brother (I went to a catholic university run by an order of religious brothers. I greeted the brother in English and in the local dialect and in English and the brother greeted me back happily. However, as we passed each other, soemthing told me that something was not right. I thought to myself that I haven't seen that brother before and thought that maybe he's new. Still, something was bothering me. I don't know why but suddenly, I was drawn to look a wall of pictures of brothers who taught in the past. As if my head was being guided to one direction, I saw the brother's photo in a photo wall and it was in sepia and aged. He looked normal to me when we met. And then I saw his name and remembered the names of the brothers written in the chapel's memoriam (those brothers, along with other civilians were massacred by the imperial army when they sought refuge at the university chapel). All the hairs on the back of my neck stood and felt my body suddenly freezing up. The next thing I remember was I was near the main gates of the university. I think i ran like a headless chicken having spoken to an apparition.

Tani said...

I love the Master series!!! Are there more?

Anonymous said...

I love this story Saya. It sure creep me out a lot. I would never have the courage to do what you did. I prefer to never mess around with that kind of mojo.

Bryan said...

I really liked this one. Sounds like something I would really enjoy doing. Sounds like something I simply MUST do sooner or later (preferably sooner!)

Anonymous said...

this reminds me of the time I was in saratoga springs. I was at one of the old bathhouses, it was standard borded up, derelict building fare. graffiti, the works. anyway, me and I guess you could say my master. my grandfather, who taught me pretty much everything I know, said that we should check the place out. we were outside, and looking at the place, when I saw a shadow in the second floor window. I pointed it out, but he didn't say anything. the shadow moved across some windows, and dissapeared. I suggested we go in there, thinking that maybe it was someone upstairs. we went in, and the place smelled horrible. absolutely wretched. I won't ever forget that smell. it was a horribly pungeant odor, but it also had a mixture of sweetness to it. it totally offended your senses, and yet a small part of wanted to smell it again. mostly from curiousity. It was horrid though. anyway, we went in through the door, it was falling off the hinges. My grandfather told me to be careful, and in my youthfull arrogance, I nodded, assuring him I would be, knowing that there was nothing suspicious here, and he was being paranoid. we ascended the stairs, and suddenly it was very cold. I could see my breath in front of my face. now, this is upstate new york, but it was summer time, and I know the weather doesn't change that fast up there. I looked at my grandpa, and he told me that we could turn back now, if I wanted. Instantly, I hardened, saying I wanted to go on. It got wierder and wierder. I could feel things touching me, but nothing was there. you know how in the cafeteria, in high school, it's so noisy that eventually you just filter it out? like you're aware that there's a lot of noise, but you can't hear any of it, and it doesn't seem loud enough to actually be heard? you're just aware of it? it was like that. but then eventually it sounded louder and louder. I heard my name, and froze. I looked at my grandpa, and just bolted down the stairs and toward the door. which was locked. and on it's hinges. there was a nearby window, already mostly broken, and I smashed my way out of it. I ran over to the water, and jumped right into the middle of the creek. (moving water, I'm a little superstitious, I guess you can say) and turned around. my grandfather was behind me, I was releived to see he made it out ok. but I was scared stiff as a bored. I looked back at the building, and the shadow was in the window again. I could swear it was looking right at me. I have never returned to that sight.

Alaina said...

Very nice story! It gave me a giggle as well! A bird chirped really loud by my window and made me jump! Thankyou so much for these stories and taking time to translate them for us! ~ <3

Ernest said...

wtf. im surprised no one has mentioned it yet but i thought the master was a freaking badass. i mean, going back to that place alone? after he knew it was haunted?

that's just bravery beyond measure. and it's lucky that nothing happened to him.

Anonymous said...

Aw, the master sounds so sweet here. It was so nice of him to pretend it was a prank to stop the others worrying, I hope they didn't get too mad at him about it.