BY: DEADDOLL00 (ERIKA GRIFFIN) Japanese folklore is varied: there exists a demon or spirit for just about every occasion! Below are 10 of some of the strangest we could find:
Being a wizard would be cool, right? You could wear that sexy hat, summon creatures to do your bidding, even have your very own familiar! Well fear not, fellow Cracked nerd: Now you too, can be a wizard! You can even have your very own familiar, like an adorable little dog!
Master, I await your bidding
There's only one small, quick thing that needs taking care of:
What is it: The Inu-gami is a spirit that serves as a familiar to its owner and deserves a place on this list. Not for the weirdness of the creature itself, but rather the extreme, bat-shit insane method used to create it. Invisible to all but the one who summons it (which includes the absolutely devoid of soul) this spirit is most often used as a guardian or tool of vengeance by its master. Controlling the spirit can be difficult and it's not uncommon that one may turn on you. We are more than happy to condone the turning of Inu-Gami against their masters the world over.
An Inu-Gami is created when a beloved dog is buried to the neck. Unlike that one fun day at the beach last summer, sadly this will only end in tears: Food is placed around him but just out of reach until the dog dies of starvation days later. During this process, its master will continue telling the dog that its pain is incomparable to his or her own, this being a sure-fire way to win the sympathy of a horrific spectre of vengeance.
Upon death, the dog transforms into an Inu-Gami, the food around it serving to placate its anger, as its last living desire would have been to eat. An alternate method in this process states that cutting off the dog's head immediately prior to death would also be required, because, you know...because.
Remember at the beginning of this article we mentioned the Japanese have a creature for every occasion? Like say if you're hit by a bus, run over by a car, or crushed beneath the wheels of a wagon. Fear not, for Japan has a ghost for you!
What is it: This apparition is said to be the spirit of a murdered woman, killed over an altercation involving an ox-carriage. Made up of the negative energies and emotions of vehicle-related victims, the Oboro-Gurama announces its coming via the creaking of its wheels.
To seek out the Oboro-Gurama is to be faced with a frightening sight: A ghostly oxcart sporting a woman's giant face. The ghost is said to sometimes spirit away those who look for it, posing the question: Why the fuck would you want to go looking for it?
So you happen to be a farmer, making a modest living tilling your land and sowing your oats and occasionally banging the stable hand. Maybe you have some nice, fat cows wandering around, their empty eyes staring inside you every time you have to milk them.
Just avoid eye contact
One day, you realize that the good lord has granted one of your milk-machines new life, and an adorable little calf comes into the world, shrieking and bloody. Aaaaaawww-
What is that? Just what the hell IS that? Congratulations: You have been blessed with a beautiful baby Kudan! Now unfurl from your fetal position and listen to what it has to say!
What is it: The Kudan is a calf with the face (sometimes head) of a human being, a creature produced by the combined efforts of Japan and David Lynch. The Kudan is said to be a demon (we would never have come to that conclusion) and has the ability to speak, though I imagine it may be hindered by your hapless keens of terror. What does it like to talk about, you wonder? Well future calamities are a topic of choice, as the calf immediately begins prophesying the future (at least the shitty parts, why can't it ever make a happy prediction?)
Tomorrow is going to be a sunny day =D Also, war.
So after the Kudan is done saying its piece (probably concluding with a feeble plea to end its life) it marks the event by promptly dropping dead three days later. In an effort to ward of evil, people have been known to carry the image of a Kudan. Personally, we would forcibly push the sight from our minds, lest our night terrors keep the neighbours up.
So you just got married. You lucky guy! You couldn't be happier, what with marrying the most wonderful, beautiful girl in the world. You sweep your new wife over the threshold, take the stairs six at a time to the bedroom, lay your beloved gently upon your shared bed as the last rays of sunlight play off her lovely face, and-
"What's wrong, dear?"
What is it: After you're done cowering in the corner of the room, clawing at your eyes, you settle down to find out what the hell you're working with. This creature can be a demon or, in some cases, a cursed human being. During the day, the Rokurokubi appears as a regular human woman, living her life in much the same way as any other normal person (drinking heavily to escape the soul-crushing loneliness). However, when night falls, the Salvia hits and the last remaining veil of sanity is lifted, the Rokurokubi takes on her true form and begins to stretch her neck to great lengths, sometimes unconsciously while she sleeps. While many may keep their true form a secret in an effort to maintain the illusion of a normal life, it is said that this demon is a trickster and, like the local park flasher, will often be unable to resist showing themselves to human beings in an effort to frighten or spy.
Ah, Japan. Forever teaching us that while the world is a beautiful place, what it really needs is a ginormous pair of testicles.
In an ongoing effort to pass the ball in every sense of the word, Japan gives us the Tanuki:
What is it: The Tanuki is a prominent figure in Japanese folklore and is said to look like a cross between a racoon and a dog. They are most often known to carry bottles of sake and are known to be a jovial, round-bellied sort. Also. Testicles. For the most part, Tanuki are harmless and even fun-loving, but there are rare instances in mythology where they have been showcased as malicious tricksters. We can only assume that part of their evil involves smothering you to death beneath those twin shuddering masses, but we're sure that would just be too weir-
As with a variety of things, the Japanese have an interesting way about them when it involves dishing out the justice. In the West, justice is by definition, coming back as a zombie to chew on the brains on the douche that killed you. In Japan, it's more about justice served in the afterlife. So what kind of justice awaits a lord known for his wacky habit of sadistic torture?
If you answered: Turn him into a wheel! Well of course.
What is it: A well known demon of Japanese myth, the Wanyudo is said to appear in the odd form of a cart wheel bearing the face of a monk in its center, which seems less like justice and more like a great way to save on fare. Popularily, the monk is believed to have been a particularly cruel lord, known for torturing his victims by drawing them on the backs of oxcarts.
That doesn't seem so bad, hur hur.
Wandering between the mortal and spirit world, the Wanyudo is the guardian of the gates of Hell. He is said to snatch the souls of anyone he encounters, dragging them back to Hell.
There's something very charming about childhood: That moment in time where anything is possible. When Santa Clause lives in the North Pole, your toys come to life at night, and the twitchy guy in the rain slicker is just being friendly.
Inanimate objects taking on a sentience of their own is not unpopular in folklore, particularly prominent with the Japanese (We, for one, are shocked). It is said that if an object can exist for a period of 100 years, it may be granted life.
What is it: The Karakase-Obake is actually a particular form of spirit-object: A paper umbrella. Because obviously umbrellas are the first things we think of when it comes to giving inanimate objects life!
We have a better idea
They are portrayed as umbrellas with one large eyeball, a single foot, and a lolling tongue. This spirit is not known to be sinister and can be rather friendly. Because the sight of a hobbling, one-eyed tongue-brella lurching toward us is a friendly one, indeed.
So you happen to like horseback riding. You take your wily steed through a nice path in the forest when all of a sudden...hark! The distressed whinnies of a horse, somewhere in the shrubbery! So, like the equestrian that you are, you wander into the thicket, deftly avoiding the locals.
State law requires one murderous hillbilly per forest.
You wander around in circles for a little while. You can hear the poor horse, but for some reason, you can't quite pinpoint it. And then you look up.
What is it: Assuming you've not already run for the hills with force enough to break the very laws of physics, you now find yourself in the presence of a Sagari. An encounter with this spectre is believed to occasionally be an omen or cause of illness for anyone who comes across it. We assume the only illness you'll catch is the terrified crazy.
"Don't let it get me, the horse head. OH GOD THE HORSE HEAD."
Appearing as a horse's head hanging from the branches of a nettle tree, its haunting whinnies are known to announce the presence of the Sagari. So at least you know what part of the forest to stay the hell away from. The Sagari hangs from this tree via a flap of skin attached to its head like some piece of fleshy Velcro. Alternatively, because it's just not quite freakish enough, it uses a decayed human arm (presumably has one lying around or something). The Sagari is a spirit created when a horse dies beneath a tree and is not known to be dangerous to humans.
Aw, Blobby? That sounds adorable. That sounds like something fat and squishy that you just can't help but love.
What is it: If you happen to hang around deserted, dark streets, cemeteries or old temples, you're either an adventurous person or a serial killer. That aside, what you are not is prepared for the grotesquery waiting for you. The Nuppeppo is a genderless, animated lump of flesh (also known as the building block of ohgodwhy). Before you see what we affectionately refer to as the "jesus-christ-what-the-fuck-is-that?", you are likely to smell it, as it is said to emit a very pungent odour.
Must be hard to grasp, arf arf
Nuppeppo are popularly portrayed as being solitary creatures (likely due to the fact they induce uncontrollable dry gagging) though they have been rumoured to move in groups.
Pictured: Typical Nuppeppo migration
Also, do you happen to like the idea of eternal youth? Sweet deal, right? Well, if the lump of gyrating, smelly flesh slowly pulsing toward you isn't enough to deter your enthusiasm and the creepy semblance of a face beneath its rolls of fat doesn't tarnish the last remnants of your innocence; you could always eat the fucking thing.
Ah, the Aka-Name. Left for the coveted #1 position of this Cracked list (you can only ever aspire to such glory!) The Aka-Name is quite the helpful fellow. He, like I'm sure many of us obsessive-compulsive types, just loves cleanliness. He just loves it so much, that if you were to, say, leave your bathroom dirty (what with the Nappuppo you ate earlier and all), the Aka-Name would just feel compelled to clean it for you.
"Are you going to be needing a mop and- ...oh, never mind ."
What is it: A demon or spirit, the Aka-Name is said to turn up in dirty bathrooms. You know, like those public urinals with the crust and grime and feces? Like that. What it does is a testament to housekeepers everywhere: It fucking licks it clean.
Get to work
The demon uses its long, flexible poisonous tongue and promptly becomes to bathrooms what Japan is to pornography. We can't help but admire such form of sick, wrong, nightmarish commitment, even as we furiously scrub our bathroom floor in an effort to never walk in on this thing plying its trade, ever. The creature is used most often as a cautionary tale told to children to clean up after themselves in the bathroom. Mission fucking accomplished.