Ominous event has people fearing this is a harbinger of doom.

Spirits are lurking everywhere in Japan, hiding in forbidden forests, mysterious islands…and a stone on a slope in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture.

This isn’t the only stone in Japan that’s believed to house a spirit, but what makes this one noteworthy is the fact that the spirit of a nine-tailed fox is said to be sealed inside it.

▼ Nine-tailed foxes have appeared in numerous artworks, including anime like Naruto, and this woodblock print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861).

This week, however, the massive stone at Nasu split in two, prompting fears that the evil fox spirit has been released.

▼ The boulder is so deadly it’s called Sesshoseki, which translates as “Killing Stone“.

This large stone, registered as a national scenic spot in 1957, has been a site of mystery for many years, acting as a tangible connection to the myth of the nine-tailed fox. According to this myth, the powerful fox turned into a beautiful woman named Tamamo-no-Mae, who attempted to kill Emperor Toba, the ruler of Japan from 1107 to 1123.

However, a sorcerer of the court discovered the woman’s true identity, prompting the fox to flee to Nasu, where it turned into a huge stone. Poison leaked from the stone, killing people and animals who passed by it, leading it to be known as the “Killing Stone”.

This terrible history has led to the rock being revered and feared over the years, so when visitors to the site discovered the stone had split in two this week, the Internet went into overdrive, with theories about the possible catastrophic consequences being discussed online.

▼ How the stone used to look, with a shimenawa, or sacred rope, tied around it.

▼ How the stone looks today.

Comments online included:

“So the fox’s seal has broken? This is a frightening sight.”
“Has anyone else noticed that the inside of the rock is fox-coloured?!?”
“Has the scary nine-tailed fox regained its power??”
“The Imperial Household should hold a purification ceremony right away.”
“I feel like this is a portent of a big event…”

While many online feared the broken stone was a sign of portending doom, others pointed out that the rock was believed to have been exorcised by the 14th century monk Genno Shinsho, who split the large boulder into three smaller pieces, two of which hurtled out to other areas, leaving this one in its place.

Visitors to the site in recent years also mentioned that they had seen visible cracks in the rock, which may have allowed rainwater to seep into the structure, eventually weakening it and splitting it in two.

Whether the split was caused by natural or unnatural causes, it has a lot of people on edge, especially in light of the current global unrest that the world is witnessing right now.

Here’s hoping the stone will be resealed in the presence of a monk or priest in the coming days, with a ceremony just as carefully planned as the one involved in the removal of a vengeful samurai’s head in Tokyo.

Source: Twitter/@Lily0727K via Net Lab
Images: Twitter/@Lily0727K

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