It’s best to be ready for the Halloween season!

The end of August means the end of summer, and for many places that means it’s time for autumn leaves, pumpkin flavored foods, and Halloween! Except in Japan, where it means that summer is really at its peak–what with Obon festivals only just ending and summer festivities really getting ramped up. But either way you look at it, it’s time to tell some ghost stories, because in Japan, summer is when the ghosts come out.

Now, our Japanese language reporter P.K. Sanjun boasts of hearing the shortest and scariest ghost story in the world. He claims that he was told this story when he was a child, but he doesn’t remember who told it to him. Like most kids, he was fairly scared of ghosts and monsters; apparently it was the only pure thing about him.

That’s why P.K. will always remember this ghost story, which haunted him to his very core when he heard it. There may be some who know it already. It goes like this:

“This person was prone to sleep paralysis.

And, they really didn’t believe in ghosts.

One night, they woke to find themselves paralyzed.

They thought, ‘Not again!’ and in their heart began to chant a Buddhist prayer.

‘Okay, okay….Namu amida butsu…namu amida butsu…’

And then…he heard someone shout…

‘Like that would actually work!!!’

Right next to his ear.”

Even while reciting the story, P.K. can’t for the life of him remember who told it to him. The only thing he remembers is the chilling fear young P.K. felt at hearing the words, “Like that would actually work!!!” To think that a purifying Buddhist chant wouldn’t work…It’s like the equivalent of a western ghost ignoring exorcism scripture!

Days, weeks, months, and years passed, and P.K. grew into a young man of 20. He has no idea why, but at this time in his life he had started to be affected by sleep paralysis. About once per week he would experience it, and he would always know it was coming as he started to doze off. (He still experiences sleep paralysis every once in a while.)

At that time, P.K. wasn’t nearly as scared of ghosts and monsters as he had been as a child, but the sleep paralysis still gave him a bad feeling. When he felt it coming on, “Like that would actually work!!!” would always spring into his mind. He never wanted to hear that shouted in his ear, so whenever he was falling asleep and would feel the coming of the paralysis, he would think with all his heart, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

To whom he was sorry, he could not say. He only felt that if he apologized over and over again, the ghosts would leave him alone. This seems to have been an effective strategy, because he never once heard, “Like that would actually work!!!”

So as the spooky season approaches, remember P.K.’s tale, and if you are mysteriously struck with sleep paralysis, make sure to apologize profusely. Then the spirits should leave you alone…I hope.

Or you could just get yourself a Sharp Plasmacluster. Why even take the risk?

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[ Read in Japanese ]