The Noppera-bo (Noppera-bo?), or faceless ghost, is a Japanese legendary creature. Noppera-bo (or Nopperabou) appear to be ordinary humans but they are actually shape shifters. They usually appear to the victim as someone they know before erasing their facial features to scare them. They’re also known as a ‘no-face’ or ‘faceless ghost’ and they are known to be mischievous rather than malevolent. A favourite game of the Noppera-bo is to work in teams, where one of them scares a victim who then flees and finds another person walking late at night. The victim frantically relates their story to the stranger until they reveal that they too are a Noppera-bo. Although the Noppera-bo is considered a yokai due to it’s long history in Japanese culture, there are modern reports of sightings, including in Hawaii which has cultural links to Japan.
They are sometimes mistakenly referred to as a mujina, an old Japanese word for a badger or raccoon dog. Although the mujina can assume the form of the other, noppera-bo are usually humans. Such creatures were thought to sometimes transform themselves into noppera-bo in order to frighten humans. Lafcadio Hearn used the animals’ name as the title of his story about faceless monsters, probably resulting in the misused terminology.
Noppera-bo are known primarily for frightening humans, but are usually otherwise harmless. They appear at first as ordinary human beings, sometimes impersonating someone familiar to the victim, before causing their features to disappear, leaving a blank, smooth sheet of skin where their face should be.
Noppera-bo are physically harmless but delight in installing terror into their victims. They are a breed of faceless ghosts. Usually they are mistaken for a normal person when standing with their back towards the witness. When they Turn about they reveal a featurless smooth face that scares the wits out of the victim.
Yet the Noppera-bo is not finished with it’s prey yet. When the unfortunate person flees and and tries to tell the next person what they saw that person will invariably turn out to be the same Noppera-bo in disguse. At hearing the story the ‘person’ will then say “Did it look like this?”as their features melt away to reveal the featurless visarge of a Noppera-bo.
The Noppera-bo and the Koi Pond
This tale recounts a lazy fisherman who decided to fish in the imperial koi ponds near the Heian-kyo palace. Despite being warned by his wife about the pond being sacred and near a graveyard, the fisherman went anyway. On his way to the pond, he is warned by another fisherman not to go there, but he again ignores the warning. Once at the spot, he is met by a beautiful young woman who pleads with him not to fish in the pond. He ignores her and, to his horror, she wipes her face off. Rushing home to hide, he is confronted by what seems to be his wife, who chastises him for his wickedness before wiping off her facial features as well.
No Face is able to appear to others like a normal person, this is just an illusion. The Nopperabou really lacks eyes, a nose or a mouth. Instead of normal human features, nopperabou have only smooth skin. People who encounter nopperabou usually do not immediately realize that they are talking to something that is otherworldly, as the creatures are able to create the illusion that they have a normal human face.
A nopperabou will wait for the right moment before causing their features to disappear, scaring the person they are speaking with. People usually run into nopperabou at night in lonely rural settings, although they can appear anywhere as long as the area is deserted. The nopperabou’s primary purpose is to scare humans, but beyond that they do not seem to have any sort of agenda.
The Mujina of the Akasaka Road
On the Akasaka Road, in Tokyo, there is a slope called Kii-no-kuni-zaka, which means the Slope of the Province of Kii. I do not know why it is called the Slope of the Province of Kii. On one side of this slope you see an ancient moat, deep and very wide, with high green banks rising up to some place of gardens; and on the other side of the road extend the long and lofty walls of an imperial palace.
Before the era of street-lamps and jinrikishas [rickshaws], this neighborhood was very lonesome after dark; and belated pedestrians would go miles out of their way rather than mount the Kii-no-kuni-zaka, alone, after sunset. All because of a Mujina that used to walk there.
The last man who saw the Mujina was an old merchant of the Kyobashi quarter, who died about thirty years ago. This is the story, as he told it:
One night, at a late hour, he was hurrying up the Kii-no-kuni-zaka, when he perceived a woman crouching by the moat, all alone, and weeping bitterly. Fearing that she intended to drown herself, he stopped to offer her any assistance or consolation in his power. She appeared to be a slight and graceful person, handsomely dressed; and her hair was arranged like that of a young girl of good family.
“O-jochu [young girl],” he exclaimed, approaching her, “O-jochu, do not cry like that!…Tell me what the trouble is; and if there be any way to help you, I shall be glad to help you.” (He really meant what he said; for he was a very kind man.)
But she continued to weep, hiding her face from him with one of her long sleeves.
“O-jochu,” he said again, as gently as he could, “please, please listen to me!… This is no place for a young lady at night! Do not cry, I implore you! — only tell me how I may be of some help to you!”
Slowly she rose up, but turned her back to him, and continued to moan and sob behind her sleeve.
He laid his hand lightly upon her shoulder, and pleaded: “O-jochu! O-jochu! O-jochu!… Listen to me, just for one little moment!… O-jochu! O-jochu!”
Then that O-jochu turned around, and dropped her sleeve, and stroked her face with her hand; — and the man saw that she had no eyes or nose or mouth,— and he screamed and ran away.
Up Kii-no-kuni-zaka he ran and ran; and all was black and empty before him. On and on he ran, never daring to look back; and at last he saw a lantern, so far away that it looked like the gleam of a firefly; and he made for it.
It proved to be only the lantern of an itinerant soba-seller who had set down his stand by the road-side; but any light and any human companionship was good after that experience; and he flung himself down at the feet of the soba-seller, crying out, “Ah! — aa!! — aa!!!”…
“Kore! kore! [Here, here]” roughly exclaimed the soba-man. “Here! what is the matter with you? Anybody hurt you?”
“No — nobody hurt me,” panted the other, “only… Ah! — aa!”
“Only scared you?” queried the peddler, unsympathetically. “Robbers?”
“Not robbers, not robbers,” gasped the terrified man… “I saw… I saw a woman — by the moat; — and she showed me… Ah! I cannot tell you what she showed me!”
“Ha! Was it anything like THIS that she showed you?” cried the soba-man, stroking his own face —which therewith became like unto an Egg
… And, simultaneously, the light went out.
- The Studio Ghibli film Pom Poko features a modern retelling of The Mujina of the Akasaka Road. In one scene, a police officer comes upon a beautiful young woman (who is actually a shapeshifting tanuki) crying on the side of the road. He attempts to console the young woman, but when she turns to him, she has a completely featureless face. The terrified officer runs to a police box to tell his fellow police officer what happened, but the officer, like the soba vendor, strokes his face and becomes a noppera-bo himself. The man then runs to a convenience store (the modern-day equivalent to the soba stand), and tries to tell the people in the store what happened, but everyone in the store then becomes a noppera-bo.
- In the Axis Powers Hetalia movie Paint It, White!, the invading, faceless aliens are occasionally referred to as “Noppera”. At the beginning of the movie, Japan explains what a noppera-bo is. In the opening scene, there is a reference to the tales of noppera-bo when a woman flees the Noppera and tries to get help from a police officer, only to find that the officer has just been transformed into a Noppera himself.
- In the game Adventure Quest Worlds some monsters in Hachiko Tower are noppera-bo. Such as the Samurai Nopperabo and Ninja Nopperabo, whom are fighting in the Yokai Revolution.They kidnapped the real Samurai and Ninjas and are offering them to there leader, a Dai Tengu. They are soon destroyed.
- The anime Mononoke is about a medicine seller that searches and kills monsters found in the Japanese folklore. One arc features an Noppera-bo that resembles his appearance a lot. It was never stated who of the main characters in that arc imagined him and so made him seem real.
- The nurses in Silent Hill 2 has some loose resemblance to the Noppera-bo.
- The popular computer game Slender depicts a faceless creature, Slender Man, having resemblance to the Noppera-bo.
Horror movies love a haunted doll. So do collectors.
Thirty years ago, the world was introduced to a 29-inch-tall doll in overalls named Chucky. With eyes bluer than a White Walker’s, hair more fiery than Ed Sheeran’s, and a smattering of freckles à la Emma Stone, he looked like the perfect childhood buddy.
Unfortunately, Chucky, the tiny antagonist of the 1988 movie Child’s Play, was possessed by a serial killer with a knack for slaughtering people with butcher knives, yo-yo strings, and anything else he could find around the house. Today, almost everyone knows that if a wild-eyed doll asks, “Wanna play?” the only acceptable response is to run as fast and far as you can.
Then there are people like Kevin Cain, a paranormal investigator in Alabama who owns hundreds of haunted dolls and other items. “I lost count a long time ago,” he says. While Cain may be an especially prolific collector, he’s far from the only one. In fact, there is a thriving marketplace for haunted dolls on the internet.
According to Cain, things really took off after the Annabelle doll appeared in The Conjuring (2013), followed by a solo film, Annabelle: Creation (2017). Annabelle, a vintage porcelain doll with smeared lipstick, a cracked pupil, and claw marks on her face, is possessed by a demonic spirit that enjoys ruthlessly murdering people. That she’s based on a real-life haunted Raggedy Ann doll adds to the intrigue.
With the next installment of the Conjuring series, Annabelle Comes Home, and a reboot of Child’s Play both hitting theaters in late June, there’s sure to be a new wave of people curious about haunted dolls — and perhaps even eager to get their hands on one.
Gone are the days when you’d have to trek to a shady part of town, down a darkened alley, and into a questionable-looking antiques shop to get your haunted doll fix (although if you’re ever in New Orleans, Bloody Mary’s Haunted Museum and Spirit Shop is worth a visit). Etsy and eBay list thousands of dolls purportedly inhabited by everything from evil witches to judgmental spirits that might call you fat to young children and fairy spirits.
Most haunted dolls sell for around $50 plus shipping, but the most highly prized ones are priced well into the four figures. There’s a formula, too, for how they’re sold: Each listing contains a detailed overview of the spirit’s life story, details of said spirit’s death, and a description of their personality. Dolls are labeled “active” or “highly active” if paranormal phenomena are said to occur frequently in their vicinity.
Some are advertised as being able to move objects, make noises, or communicate via telepathy or Ouija board, while others are meant to act as creative muses, play matchmaker by revealing potential lovers in dreams, or emit positive energy.
Kat Blowers, whose Etsy shop FugitiveKatCreations specializes in haunted dolls, says best-sellers tend to be inhabited by female spirits that have some sort of “empowerment” angle. “We have a lot of goddess-type spirits or women who have survived terrible situations and thrived.” She also sees high demand for witches around Halloween and leprechauns near St. Patrick’s Day.
Best-sellers tend to be inhabited by female spirits that have some sort of “empowerment”
While there are con artists looking to take advantage of uneducated buyers, many haunted item purveyors hold themselves to what they see as high ethical and scientific standards. “It costs us a fortune in tools,” says Blowers. Whenever she acquires a new doll, Blowers and her husband put it through an intense investigation that lasts one to three months.
First, the doll is separated from any other paranormal objects in the house. Then it’s examined with a K-II EMF meter, a device used by paranormal investigators to detect electromagnetic energy, for a period of three to five days. Blowers then places the doll in a sound box (“basically a foam box”), with a voice-activated recorder to see if she can hear any words or phrases. “We’ve heard music before, which is really weird,” she tells me.
Finally, they conduct lucid dreaming sessions, which involve sleeping next to the doll alongside a piece of amethyst (which is supposed to be a potent lucid dreaming crystal) to see if they have any weird dreams. Blowers typically ends up with a 15-page report by the end of each investigation.
Unlike in horror films, real-life haunted dolls aren’t necessarily bloodthirsty beings with a penchant for sharp objects. “Not everything is evil,” says Cain. “Yes, there are demons, and Annabelle is example number one of that, but also good spirits. If a ghost can haunt a house or building or ship, why can’t it just hang around an item it once owned or reminds them of something in their past?” He theorizes that spirits like to hang around dolls and other toys because of their familiarity and strong emotional connection.
However, this doesn’t mean buyers shouldn’t beware. Cain routinely refuses people who email begging to purchase one of his haunted dolls. “I tell them it’s not for everybody. You don’t know what you’re asking for,” he says. “These dolls aren’t for entertainment or fun. These are actual haunted items with spirits attached who want to be respected. Then you have those who, if you’re not careful, are demonic and ready to tear into your soul.”
He describes an episode where a young woman bought a doll online that was supposed to be haunted by a kind, positive spirit, but she ended up with something dark and malevolent. After a string of strange occurrences culminating in feeling tiny hands around her neck one night, she contacted Cain and shipped the doll off to him. Luckily, he knew how to bind the demonic spirit, ultimately sealing the doll in a box coated in holy water and storing it on the highest shelf in his home, where it remains.
Demons aside, selling haunted dolls online comes with some technical challenges. For one thing, eBay isn’t too keen on the whole concept and has a policy that specifically forbids the selling of souls. According to a statement from the company back in 2000, “eBay does not allow the auctioning of human souls for the following reasons: If the soul does not exist, eBay could not allow the auctioning of the soul because there would be nothing to sell. However, if the soul does exist then, in accordance with eBay’s policy on human parts and remains, we would not allow the auctioning of human souls.” In 2012, eBay further banned metaphysical items including spells, hexes, potions, and magical services.
Some sellers found creative workarounds, including winking claims that their dolls are “for entertainment purposes only” or “sold as is.” They also often state there’s no guarantee of paranormal activity and indemnify themselves from the consequences of anything that does or doesn’t happen. Others, deterred by eBay’s crackdown, simply packed up and moved to Etsy.
The haunted doll market certainly isn’t disappearing anytime soon. Cain expects there’ll be a huge surge in demand this summer thanks to Annabelle and Chucky’s big-screen appearances — something he’s not particularly thrilled about. For anyone considering a haunted doll purchase, he has one message: “Be careful what you buy. It may be phony — or, worse yet, it may be something demonic.”
Haunted D-Day Battleship USS Texas To Be Moved From Houston
Seventy-five years after serving its country proudly on D-Day, it was announced that the USS Texas – better known as the Battleship Texas – will be moved from its current location in Houston to another dock in Texas. Besides being a beloved historical monument, the Battleship Texas is considered to be one of the most haunted locations in Texas. Will the ghosts be going along with it?
“People have seen anomalies that appear to be nothing more than vapor, while other individuals have heard unusual whispering and chattering around the vessel.”
Haunted Rooms America is hosting hybrid history/paranormal tours of the Battleship Texas from now until it is moved, most likely by the end of 2019. The history side of the USS Texas is worth the price of admission. It was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1914 – just in time for its battery of ten 14-inch (356 mm)/45 caliber Mark 1 guns, twenty-one 5-inch (127 mm)/51-caliber guns and four 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes to see action in World War I, firing the first American shots at a German U-boat.
In World War II, the USS Texas saw its first action in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa (a young Walter Cronkite was onboard as a reporter). On D-Day (6 June 1944) the USS Texas took position 12,000 yards (11,000 meters) offshore near Pointe du Hoc and fired its guns in support of the Omaha Beach operation. The ship later took part in the Battle of Cherbourg, Operation Dragoon, and the Pacific battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
In 1948, the USS Texas arrived in Houston to become America’s first permanent battleship museum and that’s where the ghost stories begin. While the ship was involved in numerous battles, its crews suffered only one combat fatality. However, those same battles may be the cause of the ship’s most famous apparitions – visitors report mysterious white vapors that appear suddenly throughout the ship and strange voices heard when no one else is around. An often-seen ghost is a young red-headed sailor in uniform seen wandering through the ship’s halls or standing at the foot of ladders. The description given doesn’t match the one known casualty, so it’s assumed he’s a former crew member with a supernatural attachment to his old ship.
With the money already budgeted (and awaiting the governor’s signature) for the old ship to be moved to drydock, repaired and then moved to a new location, Haunted Rooms America has stepped up its ghost tours and is now offering overnight stays with psychics and paranormal equipment, including trigger objects, EMF readers and spirit boxes.
While the Battleship Texas is said to be one of the most haunted places in the state, there are no guarantees that visitors will see a ghost. However, they will most definitely see an historic piece of D-Day and US Naval history that just might be ready to reveal a few more tales before moving on.
Source: Mysterious Universe
Scottish Isle to Erect Statue Honoring Its Famous ‘White Wife’ Ghost
If you need more proof that tourism is the growth industry of the future, look no further than Scotland’s whose council is considering erecting a statue honoring a hooded female ghost who haunts a lonely stretch of road and appears in cars driven by single young men. What fun!
“I thought at the time, ‘there’s no moon tonight’. When I looked around the White Wife was sitting in the seat next to me. She was transparent, grey and she smiled. I’ll never forget that smile. At the time it gee’d me a braa gluff, yes!”
If you understand those words, you’re probably from the Shetland Islands of far north Scotland where a unique Shetlandic dialect combining Old Norse (due to the islands being part of Norway until the 15th century) and Scottish is spoken (“braa gluff” means a grand fright). In an interview with The Shetland News, noted Unst fiddler Steven Spence was describing his own encounter with the White Wife of Watlee while driving alone from Baltasound to Uyeasound on the Watlee Brae (“brae” is a road with a steep grade) when he was gluffed to find a ghost sitting next to him. The spirit disappeared before he could say anything, but Spence knew the legend of the White Wife and was sure it was her.
The Shetland News was interviewing guys with White Wife encounters after local artist Eric Burgess-Ray proposed building a life-sized statue of the hooded apparition and community council chairman Gordon Thomson agreed to sponsor it, seeing that it would make a great and “quirky” attraction that would draw tourists to the “island above all others” of the Shetland islands. According to the long-told legend, the White Wife of Watlee is the ghost of an elderly female who is looking for her son, usually near the Brig of Watlee (“brig” is a bridge). Not much else is known about the woman, why she haunts that particular stretch of road or how she or her son might have met the demise that doomed her to live on as a spirit.
“It’s just one of those things you cannot believe unless it happens to you.”
Unst resident Alan Hunter told The Shetland News of his own experience on the same road when an old grey woman appeared in the passenger seat of his car and stayed there for about mile before disappearing. Enough single men have seen the White Wife of Watlee that the nearby Valhalla Brewery (the UK’s northernmost brewery) offers a White Wife ale – “a light ale with a golden, clean finish. It’s dry, refreshing, bitter and characteristically fruity aftertaste.”
Eric Burgess-Ray wants his statue approved and on display in time to help this year’s tourist season because “people like a good ghost story.” However, Unst already has plenty to offer. Besides being the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles, it’s home to the remains of the Muness Castle, 60 Viking longhouses – three are being restored – and the Hermaness National Nature Reserve. It also already has a monument to the White Wife – a flat rock with a line drawing of her head on it.
A rock? A ghost that appears in cars needs a better memorial than that. Let’s hope the White Wife of Watlee gets her well-deserved statue.
Source: Mysterious Universe
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