urban legends

Poltergeist apartments of Gifu

This incident took place during 1999 and 2000, in an apartment building just like any other in Tomika City, Gifu Prefecture. It was called the “Poltergeist Apartment Incident.”

“News Station,” a TV Asahi news program covered the story. Coverage was then picked up by further channels such as Fuji TV and Nippon TV as well. Tomika City, until then just another nameless, faceless city amongst the hundreds of thousands in Japan, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight. There wasn’t a person who didn’t its name after that.

The complex was a four-story reinforced concrete building owned by the local government. Rent went for only 30,000 yen a month, and incredibly cheap price, and young couples flooded the apartment with applications to move in. Not even one month after construction was completed, all 24 units were full. However, it wasn’t long before strange things started happening in the apartments. These strange occurrences began in April 1999.

At first, these occurrences were small. Doors to various apartments would open of their own accord. People heard noises coming from their roofs. Soon these strange occurrences spread throughout the entire building, and before long, 10 of the 24 apartments were abandoned. It literally became a ghost town.

Room 404 had it the worst. The glass doors of the cupboards would loudly rattle and suddenly burst open, sending plates and cups flying everywhere. It was like the entire building was haunted by a poltergeist.

The president of the neighbourhood association, who himself lived in room 101, reported that, “I heard the sound of the curtains opening, so I went to have a look. Even though nobody had touched them, they were opening bit by bit.”

Reports of ghostly activity continued to flood in. People reported an unknown woman on the fourth floor stairs with black hair and grey clothes. Others saw white shadows moving on the veranda. Things went so far that a shaman was called in to look at the building.

According to the shaman, the ghost of a woman who was killed 30 years earlier was haunting the building. After investigating, it was discovered a woman had been murdered in that area 30 years earlier, and it was suspected that she stirred up even more ghostly trouble. Even after the shaman cleansed the building of her presence, the strange happenings continued.

One day, a housewife who lived on the third floor and another housewife who lived on the fourth floor ran down to the neighbourhood association president’s apartment. Their faces were white.

“After 9 p.m. at night I can hear the sound of a child jumping around on the floor above me,” the housewife from the third floor told him. When she asked the housewife from the floor above her about it, she said her child was already asleep at that time, so there was no way they could be making the noise. Further residents on the third floor soon reported they could also hear the sound of a child running around, and what sounded like a table being dragged around on the floor. When they asked the people living on the fourth floor about it, many revealed they were too scared to sleep there and were spending their nights elsewhere.

Ehara Hiroyuki, a famous spiritual counsellor and medium, heard about the building and went to visit for himself. According to him, many soldiers and commanders from the Sengoku Era were still loitering around the area as spirits, and they were stirring up the poltergeist activity. Spirit mediums from all over the country came to visit, and they expanded on the story with their own theories. One claimed the area was once used for executions, and another claimed that the flying dishes were from a spirit that was killed by shuriken, or small throwing blades.

Some con-men even tried to dupe the residents of thousands of dollars in order to cleanse their apartments for them. However, in 2001, a spirit medium famous countrywide visited the building a performed a purification ritual herself. For the time being, things calmed, but by summer of the next year things apparently started up again.

The apartment building still exists, and people still live inside. Rumours abound that every now and then, strange things continue to happen inside, but for the most part, the supernatural occurrences appear to have calmed down.

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