October Haunting Day 28 - The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary was in service for decades as both a World War II transport ship and a luxury liner. It wasn't intended as such at the time, but the Queen Mary was named "The Grey Ghost" during the war because of the color she was painted to make her stealthy in the war-time waters.
In her time, the Queen Mary carried seasick sailors, destitute stowaways and wealthy vacationers. With this kind of history it's not surprising she saw her own share of deaths, now a hair shy of 50. In fact, there are so many haunting that some parts of the ship are now barred from the public. But for the paranormally curious there are still haunted tours of the cabins and halls that housed death. You can also lodge at the Queen Mary but after reading this, you may have second thoughts.
|The Engine Room|
Of the numerous deaths, there was a young seaman by the name of John Henry who lied about his age to procure a position on the Queen Mary and was soon crushed to death while trying to flee a fire. To this day, knocks and bright lights can be heard around engine room 13 where the young man met his untimely death. Ịt's even been reported that the door to the engine room is sometimes hot to the touch or that mixed in with a ball of light is tendrils of smoke.
A girl from third class thought she'd have some fun and slide down the banister but a sudden wave upset her course and she broke her neck on the fall. She now wanders the pool area and nursery looking for her doll or mommy. She is not alone though. In the 30's and 60's two other women met their unfortunate deaths in the pool area and are seen periodically in that area.
War always brings atrocities but how about a cook that was cooked because the troops on board didn't like his meals? They stuffed him into the oven and burnt him alive as a lesson for bad cuisine. His screams still echo his horrible death to this day.
If you're still feeling brave enough to consider sleeping on the Queen, there was also a reported visitor that slipped a steward some cash in exchange for finding a 'willing' female passenger to keep him company for the night. After stowing his luggage, a female companion was found and they retired for the night. In the morning the man was missing from the dining hall so the steward went to find him. What they found instead was the corpse of the female companion! They could not locate the male guest, his registration information for that room nor his luggage, which people swore was checked and stowed. He simply vanished and left only a trail of blood and rumors.
The Queen Mary is home to 49 deaths but she was also surrounded by death. In an attempt to avoid enemy ships, she zig zagged her way into her companion ship, nearly cutting it in half, and was forced to leave 300 survivors in the water to be eaten by sharks or drowned. It is reported that mysterious pounding on the side of the Queen Mary is those men trying to signal to come on board.
The in-house psychic, Peter James, claims that he has communicated with over 150 separate ghosts on the ship. Peter gives bi-monthly ghost tours of the ship and claims to have made numerous contact with various ghosts, including a few mentioned above. From the sheer number and type of deaths that occurred, it seems plausible.
October Haunting Day 29 - Aokigahara: The Demon Forest
Located at the base of Mt. Fuji, Aokigahara is perhaps the most infamous forest in all of Japan. Also known as the Sea of Trees, Suicide Forest, and Japan’s Demon Forest, Aokigahara has been home to over 500 confirmed suicides since the 1950s. Called “the perfect place to die,” Aokigahara is the world’s second most popular place for suicide (the Golden Gate Bridge being the first).
Legend says that this all started after Seicho Matsumoto published a novel by the name of Kuroi Kaiju (Black Sea of Trees) in 1960. The story ends with two lovers committing suicide in the forest, so many people believe that’s what started it all. However, the history of suicide in Aokigahara predates the novel, and the place has long been associated with death. Hundreds upon hundreds of Japanese people have hanged themselves from the trees of Aokigahara forest.
Wataru Tsurumui’s controversial 1993 bestseller, The Complete Suicide Manual, is a book that describes various modes of suicide and even recommends Aokigahara as the perfect place to die. Apparently this book is also a common find in the forest, usually not too far away from a suicide victim and their belongings. Undoubtedly, the most common method of suicide in the forest is hanging.
Japan’s suicide rate is already bad enough as it is, and having this forest and suicide manual on top of it all is pretty terrible. It’s really sad. Despite many efforts to prevent suicide and provide help to those considering it, Japan’s suicide rate continues to rise.
Legend has it that in ancient times families would abandon people in the forest during periods of famine when there was not enough food to go around. By sacrificing family members to the forest, there would be less mouths to feed and therefore enough food for the rest of the family. Those abandoned in the forest would die long, horrible, drawn out deaths due to starvation. Because of that, Aokigahara is also said to be haunted by the souls of these abandoned people.
In addition, there are many other ghost and demon stories associated with the forest. It is said that these ghastly spirits glide between the trees with their white, shifting forms being occasionally spotted by unsuspecting visitors out of the corners of their eyes.
Japanese spiritualists believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated Aokigahara’s soil and trees, generating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter from escaping the gnarled depths of the forest. Aokigahara is not the kind of place you’d want to honeymoon at, that’s for sure.
The vast forest covers a 3,500 hectare wide area and the tree coverage in Aokigahara is so thick that even at high noon it’s entirely possible to find places shrouded in complete darkness. It’s also mostly devoid of animals and is eerily quiet. Hearing a bird chirping in the forest is incredibly rare. The area is rocky, cold, and littered with over 200 caves for you to accidentally fall into.
The discomforting forest is known for the thickness of its trees, its twisting network of woody vines, and the dangerous unevenness of the forest floor. All of this together gives the place a very unwelcoming feeling.
Further compounding the creepiness factor is the common occurrence of compasses, cell phones, and GPS systems being rendered useless by the rich deposits of magnetic iron in the area’s volcanic soil. I’m sure this fact has helped propagate the legend of the forest’s demonic habit of trapping visitors within it.
Besides bodies and homemade nooses, also scattered around the forest are signs put up by the police with messages like “Your life is a precious gift from your parents,” and “Please consult with the police before you decide to die,” in an attempt to discourage would be committers of suicide. Judging from the increasing number of suicides, these signs probably aren’t all that effective.
By the 1970s the suicides had become so infamous that the Japanese government started to do annual sweeps of the forest to search for and clear out the bodies. In 2002, 78 bodies were found within the forest, exceeding the previous record of 74 in 1998. By 2003, the rate had climbed to 100.
In recent years, the local government has stopped publicizing the numbers in an attempt to downplay Aokigahara’s association with suicide. In 2004, 108 people killed themselves in the forest and in 2010, 247 people attempted suicide, 54 of whom succeeded. But that’s just the number they found and reported. Who knows how many more there are that just go undiscovered?
The forest workers have it even worse than the police who comb and investigate the forest. The workers are tasked with the job of carrying the bodies down from the forest to the local station, where the bodies are put in a special room used specifically to house suicide corpses. The forest workers then play janken to see who has to sleep in the room with the corpse. Talk about terrible.