Halloween season is upon us! With Halloween, comes all things scary and spooky. I don’t do scary. At all. I can not watch any kind of horror movie. It’s just not going to happen. Places being haunted and the stories behind them do interest me though.
This past weekend a couple friends and I went on a Spooky Sites tour. We left base at sunset and headed towards Cape Zanpa. I’ve been here many times during the day, but never at night. The bus driver missed our turn at one point, so we had to turn around. On the way back, he missed it again. This time for good reason. A lady was having chest pains, so we stopped at a convenience store to wait for an ambulance. Once she was taken care of, we set off again. Since we were running so far behind, we ended up not having a lot of time once we got to our stops, so our tour guide did his best to tell us all the stories on the bus.
During WWII, the Japanese repeatedly told the Okinawans that the Americans would do horrible things to them, including women and children, if they got ahold of them. Because of this, many Okinawans committed suicide. They figured it was better to take their own life than to suffer by the hand of the Americans. Parts of the island have high, rocky cliffs above the ocean. Many people took their lives by jumping off the cliffs. People have reported seeing seeing figures jump off the cliffs or felt them running past them as they were standing near the edge. (Check this video out. You’ll see a ‘figure’ jumping, but who knows if it’s legit) Faces have also been reportedly seen in the waters off these cliffs.
|Cape Zanpa in the day time|
|The cliffs at Cape Zanpa, as seen from the top of the lighthouse|
Our next stop was the Hospital Cave on Kadena. Kadena has lots of spooky spots. Some of the only recorded freaky stuff is on Kadena. Anyways, there is a small cave, it looked to be man made from the front, but I’m betting it’s an actual cave once you get back in there, on Kadena by the golf course. During the war, the Japanese had a field hospital here. There was a group of young women from a nearby school who served as nurses at the hospital. After the Americans took the airfield, 17 young women committed suicide in the cave. It is now fenced up, but you can easily see inside.
|I took this the night of the tour. Can’t see much, but you get it.|
|I went back later, in the light of day to take a picture of the marker. I didn’t go back up to the cave.|
Our last stop was near the Yara Castle Ruins at the Yara Joato Park. I didn’t catch the whole story on this one, so my details are fuzzy (and the internet was no help for this story). From what I remember, back in the day when there was a distinct separation in classes, the noble men (I don’t know the Okinawan terms for the classes) would take advantage of pretty, young peasant women. One farmer had an exceptionally pretty daughter and didn’t want this to happen, so he did his best to disguise her looks. She still managed to catch the attention of a nobleman’s son. Both of their father’s forbid it, but they managed to fall in love anyway. The nobleman told his son he would disinherit him if they married. The son didn’t care, he wanted her to be his wife. His father ordered the girl to be killed and his guards threw her into the Hija River. The son saw this and dove in to save her. He brought her body up, but it was too late. He then distanced himself from his father and became a farmer. Every night, he walked down to the river to be with his love. Supposedly in 1853, the river pretty much dried up and they found her bones. She was then given a proper burial and he is said to still visit her every evening.
We walked a trail from one side of the park to the other side on the highway. We all had flashlights which made this easier, yet still creepy. We passed by a lot of old tombs, then parts with the river on one side and jungle on the other. This was the place we got spooked. We happened to notice lots of lightning bugs. I’ve never seen lighting bugs here, but I had read somewhere that they are only seen in places that are haunted. How creepy is that?
Like many cultures, the Okinawans have great respect for the dead. They also believe spirits to be evil. I’m convinced Little Missy saw a ghost when we lived in housing. You can read about it here. I have had no such experiences, but I’m also not about to tempt them. If a building is thought to be haunted, they pretty much abandon it. They will try to sell it or rent it out, but most locals won’t go near it. They can rent to Americans, but if it’s truly haunted, they won’t last long.