When I went back to my parent’s house for a relative’s funeral, I was drinking with my uncle when he told me (while drunk) about a strange custom our family once had.
I don’t know whether it’s related or not, but according to my grandmother, long ago our family received the right to preside over the life and death of those living in our particular area by the feudal lord of the time.
According to my uncle, this ceremony involved picking a young girl from our family before she had her first period, and then she would be dedicated to the mountain demon. He wasn’t aware of the finer details, but apparently some family members disliked the ritual so much that they fled during the night.
I didn’t believe him, of course, but the story was interesting.
Anyway, it wasn’t like our family had a long tradition of scary traditions or anything. There were very few skeletons in the closet. We were just a regular countryside household.
I was intrigued, so the next day I asked my mother about it. “Oh yeah, I’ve heard that! I’ve heard that!” she replied, excited like a little child. She said she heard it from my father’s mother (her mother-in-law), but when she told it, it was just like telling a summer ghost story. She didn’t believe the story either, but she told me what she knew.
The girl used for the ritual was picked from amongst the family line. During the night she would be taken up the mountain, where she would be tied up with rope and hung over the edge of a well at the top of the mountain. Three days later she would be pulled up, nothing remaining of her other than bones.
My grandmother (her mother-in-law) was always very smart, so she said the bones were likely just a result of bugs and small animals that lived inside the well, but the rest of the family believed it to be the work of Ioki, a stone demon.
‘Wow, what a strange time to live in,’ I thought. We told my father about it when he got home, and he said he’d seen something similar on the internet before. It was a story about something called ‘Ioki.’
There certainly are a lot of points the two stories have in common, even the area is the same. Then he said, disappointed, “Ah, I should have gone to the funeral.”
Such a strange ritual has nothing to do with me, of course, but thinking that people from my bloodline used to take part in that, it’s kinda scary.