This time, we got not just one but TWO spirits on camera… kind of.
No matter where you go, there are local tales of ghost sightings and unexplained occurrences. In the Haunted Tokyo series, we bring you first-hand reports from some of the most notoriously haunted spots in the capital, filed by our brave paranormal investigator and Japanese-language reporter Ryo.
This time we sent him to the former Nozawa railway crossing in Tachikawa City, supposedly haunted by the victims of grisly train accidents. Here is his report.
The crossing that inspired a ghost story
The rail line that used to cross Nozawa intersection has long since been moved to a safer elevated platform, but it’s said that in the days when trains shared the road with cars and pedestrians, it was a common site of deadly accidents and is still haunted by the people who died there, particularly a pale-faced woman. In fact, it is supposedly the inspiration for the ghost story Makai no Fumikiri or The Underworld Crossing, popularized by renowned actor Junji Inagawa.
I set off to find out if the tales are true.
The secret weapon
If you’ve been following along with the series, you know my investigations so far have been inconclusive. Truthfully, I don’t think I really believe in ghosts, but I have obtained a secret weapon to help me neutralize any danger to myself on the off chance they do exist.
That weapon is a smartphone app called Ghost Observer! Not only can this app see ghosts, it can even hear them. This is the first time I’ve used it, but I’m sure if any of the evil spirits lurking around a haunted site like Nozawa Crossing try to get their claws on me, it can save me! … Right?
A chilling omen
At the deserted hour of midnight, I exited the north gate of Tachikawa Station, turning toward Nozawa Crossing, some 20 minutes walk away. In front of the station, it was still well-lit by bar signs and other lights, but that warm atmosphere faded as I moved further into a residential area. In the dimness, I felt the first stirrings of fear.
Suddenly, I came upon a deathly quiet park. By day, surely it would be ringing with the laughter of children, but at that moment the playground waited in silence. The solitary scene seemed to call out for a playmate, inviting me to step into a strange world, but I hurried on.
Finally, I arrived at a road passing under an overhead train line. Surely this was the infamous Nozawa Crossing? In the odd orange wash of the street lamps, the scene took on a strange air of unreality. And yet it seemed to draw my feet on. What could this ominous pull portend?!
A victims’ memorial
I stepped into the shadow of the overpass. Many people have died here, I suddenly thought and goosebumps broke out on my skin. At that moment, I noticed something.
▼”Chuo Line, Nozawa Guard. Notice: If you witness a traffic accident, please call the number below.“
A poster for an eye-witness number. The condition of the road looked perfectly fine, so were there really that many accidents here, I wondered. Why would that be? Feeling ever more uneasy, I continued on…
And found this statue of Jizo, patron saint of deceased children and lost souls! This must be a memorial for the people who died at Nozawa Crossing! The statue was nicely decorated with fresh flowers, but coming upon it in the dark like this is deeply, deeply creepy.
Wait. The streets around me were as empty as ever, but suddenly, I felt as if I was being watched. A chill ran down my spine. It was time to take out my secret weapon: Ghost Observer. As soon as it opened, I was greeted with an astonishing sight.
Holy crap! There was a ghost right in front of me! According to the spirit data, it was 13 years old and out for revenge! What th-? It’s going to put a curse on me!! I quickly snapped a photo of the same place with my smartphone camera and got the hell out of there, but the photo turned out not to show anything suspicious.
My panic was at critical levels now. All I wanted to do was go home! Just as I turned to cross the street, though, I again felt eyes on me and slowly, slowly pulled out Ghost Observer once more…
It was some kind of lady ghost! And she’s… 156 years old?! With her arms spread wide, it looked like she was blocking the road to stop me from going home. Without thinking, I turned around and ran about 100 meters in the opposite direction, but when I pointed the phone back the way I came…
SHE WAS CHASING ME!!! AAAAAARRRRRGH!!!!
What the heck was I supposed to do? I couldn’t communicate with her. And actually, the way she was just floating there seemed a little sad, like she was asking for help. I wondered why she’d been lingering here for 156 years? Perhaps she’s the famous pale-faced woman that has long been sighted here?
The specter faded and I decide to make my way home. With no pedestrian traffic late at night, Nozawa Crossing is a pretty scary haunted spot. I’d give it a fear factor of 3 out of 5. If you decide to test your courage with a visit, remember it’s a residential area, so try not to wake the neighbors with your screams when you come face to face with the pale-faced woman.
▼Double your thrills with a ghost-detection app.
[ Read in Japanese ]