Yuubetsu Coal Mine

Hokkaido is famous for haunted mines, but one in particular, called “Yuubetsu Coal Mine,” is an especially famous ghost spot. The famous spirit medium Gibo Aiko once visited the mine as well.

Once local kids reach university age, it’s common for them to travel to the mine to test their bravery, and it’s not uncommon to have some type of supernatural experience there.

A town sprang up around the mine with the spread of coal as a fuel source, and I heard that it was so prosperous at the time that people didn’t have to pay anything for their fuel or light expenses. But hidden behind all that was apparently the existence of ‘tako rooms.’ A type of camp for people who earnestly worked in the mines to save money, but these young people who left home were duped into large debts and forced to work to pay them off…

This story is about that mine. I went there right around the start of spring. I wanted to take photos, so I invited two of my friends who were also interested in the mine. I took an MILC camera, while my friends brought a digital camera and an SLR camera. We planned to walk around the mines in a circle and take photos. The mine sits out in the mountains with no phone reception, and the only thing you can hear is the wildlife. But the three of us were brave, and it was the middle of the day with the sun shining high in the sky. Still, we were excited at the prospect of taking some ghost photos.

As the Yuubetsu coal mine declined and people moved away, the town and buildings around it also fell into ruin. Most of them remain in the same state as when they were abandoned to this day. All around town you can find the entrances to various tunnels that were left intact as well.

We had just passed a large tunnel entrance when we found a smaller one that it looked like we could enter. There were concrete stairs leading down, but the stairs curved so we couldn’t see all the way through. “There are bats in here!” was painted on the wall, so it looked like we’d be able to go further in. We decided to go down and check it out. I went first.

I didn’t have a flashlight on me, so I went down as far as I could see, but then darkness spread out before me. It was so dark that I couldn’t see if there was a wall in front of me keeping me out, or if there was more ahead. I reached my hand out but it didn’t touch anything, so it seemed unlikely there was a wall, but for some reason it never struck me to run my hands along the side walls to proceed further in. I just felt like “I shouldn’t go any further than this.”

I explained to my friends behind me that it was too dark to see if there was a wall blocking our way, and they suggested we use the camera flash to confirm. ‘Oh yeah,’ I thought. I attached the flash and pressed the shutter but… nothing happened. I was able to press the button, but it wouldn’t take any photos nor flash either. “Huh?” I said, and one of my friends joined me with his camera. But none of our cameras worked. Not the MILC, the SLR or the digital camera.

“Shit.”

The three of us looked at each other and ran out of the tunnel. After that the cameras worked just fine, like there was never anything wrong with them.

“What the hell is going on?” we complained, but then something my friend told me a few days later sent chills down my spine.

“Nah, something was there.”

“What?”

“A spirit.”

“But it was only the shutter button that wasn’t working, and there was nothing wrong with the photos.”

“It was good weather that day, right? Do you think it’s normal for it to suddenly get so dark and not know whether there’s a wall in front of you or not?”

“Well…”

“There was a spirit there… Right in front of you.”

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