The worst spectacle

In 1971, a passenger plane collided with a self-defence aircraft above Shizukuishi in Iwate Prefecture. The Memorial Forest was named in tribute to the victims of this terrible incident. Because the plane was hit in midair, all 162 passengers on board scattered in all directions, and every single one of them died. The day of the incident, the residents of Shizukuishi City were subjected to the awful sight of living people raining from the sky, and many uncovered horrific scenes around town.

The other day, my older sister was out drinking in Morioka City, not too far from Shizukuishi. Some young man were chattering away loudly a few seats over. It turned out one of the men was from Shizukuishi, and he started talking about the aeroplane crash.

“Yeah, so my mother often talks about that day, and it was really, really bad. People’s bodies contain the same stuff they use in matches, phosphorus, right? So when a human body burns, it apparently burns blue. When the crash happened, they saw all these blue lights falling from the sky. It was so beautiful, everyone looked up and was like ‘They must be angels!’ Curious, they ran towards the lights. Then, as a result, many people discovered the fallen bodies from the crash. It was traumatic. The explosion was apparently heard all the way over in Hanamaki City. So many bodies landed in the Aniwa Elementary School grounds that after the accident they had to move the school to a different location.”

Not just my sister, who was doing her best to listen in, but the other guys with the young man telling the story fell silent.

“But I reckon the people of Shizukuishi are less concerned with the incident and the Memorial Forest than other folks think. To us, the stories of ghosts in the forest are nothing. They’re fakes. According to my mother, there’s nothing scarier than the sight of those falling bodies they saw that day.”

With that, the young man’s story ended.

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