By Kawaji Toshiakira (1801-1868), Shimane no Susami
Today, Shimizu Kizaemon has come for an audience with the Sado magistrate’s office. Word has it that he has had previous experience with a ghost, and so I took this opportunity to ask him about it.
This happened 23 years ago. Kizaemon worked as an overseer for Shibute Village in Sado, and he moved into government housing. He was single at the time and lived with his aged mother. His mother slept by the entrance while Kizaemon slept in a room full of guns and other such weapons. There was a sword by his side on the floor, and a short sword by his pillow.
Starting from the night he moved in, at least two or three times a night something suspicious approached Kizaemon’s bedding and climbed on top of him, causing his chest to constrict and wake him up.
Hoping to discover what it was, he kept watch, and noticed that first he could hear the sound of the toilet door opening. This was followed shortly thereafter by footsteps, after which it would climb on his bedding. He tried to reach for his short sword, but both his arms and legs went numb, and he couldn’t move. There was nothing he could do.
This went on for sixteen nights. On some nights, this suspicious creature visited him up to five times a night. On the seventeenth night, his finger was able to reach the strap of his short sword. He yanked it and the guard smashed into his shoulder. His body was immediately freed of its paralysis.
He tried to stand up and noticed a white haired woman of about 60 who turned around to face him. There was nothing terrifying about her; she was a regular old woman.
The woman stood up to make her way towards the toilet. Kizaemon swung his sword, but it met no resistance. The woman continued towards the toilet, and then suddenly disappeared.
After that, she visited him each night. Just like before, he was unable to move his arms and legs, so there was nothing he could do. He borrowed a book from a doctor by the name of Usuki Joan which covered various medicines and spells. There was an entry on something called “osou” which was a spell involving Japanese sandals. He did as the book instructed, and on the 21st night, the old woman didn’t appear.
Kizaemon told no-one of what happened to him. Eventually he got married and his wife slept in the same room as him, but she began to suffer from the same fate as well. He didn’t wish to scare her, but he was forced to tell her about what happened previously.
After that, he also told his uncle, Yamada Ichiroemon, and the rumour began to spread, which is how I came to hear of it.
There are many graves around the Shibute Village public office. Perhaps that is why so many suspicious things occur, but Kizaemon informed me that was the only strange thing to ever happen to him.
What Kizaemon found strangest of all, however, was that if the woman truly feared his sword, then she would have never appeared again. Yet she did, and if she didn’t fear his sword, then she wouldn’t have hurried away so quickly. He was unable to understand why.