Shinto belief states that humans consist of a single spirit and four separate souls. Each of these souls has its own purpose, function, and character. If a person dies suddenly or violently, most of these souls move on to the next world, but one of them may not, leaving behind what we might refer to as a ghost. In some cases, however, a soul can leave the body even while it’s still alive. This is known as an ikiryo, or a living spirit, and they can cause just as much trouble as the dead. These ikiryo often lash out at those causing their physical body pain, and often the person in question has no idea that it’s happening. The living spirit seems to take on a will of its own, and if it has its sights set on you, look out. Just like a regular spirit, it won’t rest until its had its revenge.
An ikiryo is generally created by one or more of the following:
- Resentment, malice, hatred
- Jealousy, attachment
- Anger, a persecution complex
- Abnormal love, stalkerish tendencies
- Desire for control, desire to monopolise
So how can you check if an ikiryo is after you? Take a look at the following questions and keep count of how many “yes” answers you have:
1. Do your shoulders often feel heavy or burdened?
2. Does your head or neck hurt?
3. Does it feel like someone is holding into your ankles or legs?
4. Do you struggle to sleep, or often wake up during the night?
5. Do you suffer from sleep paralysis?
6. Are you often restless and can’t calm your thoughts?
7. Do you often feel lethargic or depressed?
8. Do you not feel much joy in life?
9. Do you constantly get annoyed?
10. Do you often have nightmares?
11. Does your living space feel oppressive?
12. Does your TV or phone suddenly turn off?
13. Do you feel like someone is watching you?
14. Have you heard a familiar voice out of nowhere before?
15. Have you smelt a familiar perfume or body odour before?
So, how many questions did you answer “yes” to? Let’s take a look at the answers to see whether you might be under attack by an ikiryo:
0-3: You’re not showing many symptoms so it’s probably your imagination.
4-7: It’s a weak spirit, so you can ignore it and you’ll be fine.
8-10: It’s a reasonably powerful spirit. If you ignore it, things may turn dangerous.
11-13: It’s a powerful spirit so you’re in a lot of danger.
14-15: Your very life is in danger.
So, you’ve just discovered that you’re being haunted by an ikiryo. What can you do to get rid of it? Generally, you’ll have to seek professional help to rid you of the spirit. This will involve uncovering who the spirit is coming from (remember, they may not even know themselves!) and finding a way to help the person so their living spirit no longer feels the need to attack others. If you’re unable to contact a priest or monk, finding a spirit medium or someone with a strong reikan is a good place to start.
If you’re uncertain, best speak to someone you trust before things escalate. After all, just like their counterparts that have passed on, ikiryo are known to be vicious and often won’t stop until they’ve outright destroyed someone’s life, or in a worst case scenario, sent them to the afterlife as well…