This year for #ayokaiaday we are looking at the bizarre occurrences which took place at the Ino residence in Miyoshi, Hiroshima, during July of 1749. These occurrences all revolve around a young boy named Ino Heitaro. His story is collected in Ino mononoke roku, a collection of scrolls, books, and legends which collectively form the narrative of a supernatural phenomenon that took place 270 years ago.
The seventeeth day of Heitaro’s haunting had come, with no sign at all that things would be letting up.
A group of friends came to spend the night at Heitaro’s house. Whether they came to genuinely support Heitaro through this difficult time, or because they just wanted to see the strange events firsthand, records don’t say.
What records do say, though, is pretty impressive:
During the evening, everyone was gathered together under the mosquito net. They were having a good time drinking and chatting, when suddenly they felt a presence. An eerie shadow was seen against the wall of the kitchen. Then they heard voices and footsteps in the house…
Everyone was terrified and unable to move. Everyone except for Heitaro, of course. He went into the kitchen to see what was going on.
Nobody was there. However, a barrel of pickles had been left by the kitchen door!
“Look everyone! The ghosts left us a present!” said Heitaro. “Let’s eat them!”
Of course, nobody but Heitaro would even consider eating pickles that had been left by yokai.
Oh well, more for Heitaro I guess?
Upon returning to the bed room, everyone noticed that their swords had vanished. They began to panic. Where could they have gone? Could yokai even use swords?
They searched all over the room. Then, they looked up. All of their swords were on top of the mosquito net!
Everyone grew more and more afraid. They huddled together and piled the futons on top of themselves.
Next, the table and incense stand from the butsudan began to fly about the room.
Heitaro’s friends were absolutely terrified. They covered their ears with their hands and squeezed their eyes closed.
Some of them started to cry.
One of Heitaro’s friends felt sick. He threw up on another guest’s face.
Heitaro washed his two friends off. However, the whole group decided that they’d had enough. Everyone ran home, leaving Heitaro alone with the spirits once again.
Well, the spirits and his barrel of pickles.
Hmm… it seems whenever there are other people around the yokai “up the ante.” Cowards. Nothing really happened to them. I feel more sorry for Heitaro’s friend who was actually hurt by the falling rock. Were they sweet pickles or dill pickles?
I guess when there are more people there are more opportunities for the spirits to use? It does seem that way though.
The pickles would be tsukemono, which are neither dill nor sweet. They’re a bit salty and sour.