I love taking photos of abandoned buildings, and when I get the chance, I head to check them out by myself. But a lot of these places come with scary stories attached, and I’ve experienced all sorts of terrifying things myself. This story is about one of those times.
On this day, I went to visit an abandoned hotel in Y Prefecture. This hotel in the mountains had been abandoned for years, so I went out to take some photos. It wasn’t for a test of courage or anything, so I went during the daytime.
A road leading to the hotel split off from the main road, and after following it for about five minutes I reached the hotel remains. It was a five-story building with more than 50 rooms inside. It looked like it had been built during the bubble and then abandoned when it was no longer profitable. The walls were black and there was barely any window glass left.
I took photos all over the building. The vitality of the overgrowing vines seemed to compete with the degeneration of the empty building. “Abandoned buildings inevitably lead to death.” As I pressed the shutter button, the phrase rang out over and over in my mind.
I pressed through the vines that had grown unbidden over the years, and then I reached the car porch by the entrance. After that, I entered the lobby. It was in even worse condition than I imagined. Dried leaves carpeted the ground, and broken pieces of equipment lay everywhere. It felt like stepping into some historic ruins.
As I took photos in the lobby, I hear a woman’s laughter coming from the upper floors. Perhaps I wasn’t the only person there taking photos. There are oddly a lot of people who enjoy abandoned buildings out there, and we often run into each other. Or perhaps it was someone out doing a test of courage during the day.
I hadn’t looked too hard into the place before I arrived, but maybe it was a famous ghost spot too. If I knew something was haunted beforehand, then I might hesitate to go. I made it a thing not to check before I went.
I heard the young woman’s laughter again. This time it was coming from the stairs.
I didn’t really want to run into anyone else, so I decided to go check the first floor. I entered a large room that had once no doubt been a restaurant. Broken tables lay all over the floor.
Again I heard the woman’s laughter. This time coming from the kitchen in the back of the restaurant.
…Odd. Just before it had come from the top of the stairs, there was no way she’d gotten in front of me in that time. Plus there was something odd about the way she laughed. There was no change to it. People’s laughs changed as people spoke, they were slightly different each time. Yet this woman’s laugh was like it had been recorded on tape, and it was exactly the same every time.
Maybe this was a dangerous place. When I turned around to leave, I heard the laugh coming from two or three metres behind me. It had gotten closer in an instant. It couldn’t have been the work of a human.
I ran. I ran back the way I’d come. I turned around as I ran, and I realised that the laughter was coming from thin air.
My heart screamed, but I continued running. The laughter chased me from behind. It seemed to be getting closer. When I reached the lobby, the laughter was right behind me.
‘It’s gonna catch me,’ I thought, but then I heard it coming from in front of me instead. It had gone around me.
Scared, I held my head in my hands and crouched. Perhaps it was an instinctive reaction to protect myself.
The laugh suddenly stopped. For a solid minute, nothing happened. Was everything okay now?
I lifted my head and a scream I didn’t recognise as my own escaped my throat. Countless ashy faces surrounded me, looking down at me. Young and old, men and women alike. All of them had black gaping holes where their eyes should have been.
When I came back to, I was in the hospital. A group of kids out for a test of courage apparently found me passed out.
What on earth were those things that I saw? Even now, I still don’t know. I’m terrified that something might be in the photos I took, so I still haven’t developed those either…