Spirits Of Death In A Sea Of Trees - Japan's Suicide Forest

Written By: Terri Pressley

“I think the way we live in society these days has become more complicated. Face-to-face communication used to be vital, but now we can live our lives being online all day. However, the truth of the matter is, we still need to see each other’s faces, hear their voices, read their expressions, so we can fully understand their emotions. To coexist.”

~Azusa Hayano, Geologist, Park Ranger, and Suicide Patrolman

Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海) or Jukai, is a 14 square mile forest that lies at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and an absence of wildlife, the forest is known for being exceptionally quiet and for the thickness of its trees. It is a twisting network of woody vines, and has a dangerous unevenness of the forest floor. It is rocky, cold, and littered with over 200 underground caves you could fall into accidentally. The forest is full of paradox and contrast. Its historic association with demons in Japanese mythology has long made it a popular place for suicides.

Japan has more than 30,000 suicides a year for over 14 years— one of the highest rates among industrialized nations. On average, someone in Japan dies by his own hand every 15 minutes, usually a man. The Aokigahara Forest is the most common place to commit suicide in Japan, and it is widely thought to be the second most likely site in the world, after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
The reasons are complex.

In 1960, Seicho Matsumoto wrote a popular novel called ” Nami no Tō” or “Tower of Wave,” in which a couple commits suicide in Aokigahara Forest. These woods are described as the “perfect place to die” by the author Wataru Tsurumi in the book, “Kanzen Jisatsu Manyuaru “or “The Complete Manual of Suicide.” His best seller has been found next to many bodies in the woods with hanging undoubtedly being the most common method of suicide used in the forest. In addition, Mount Fuji is a revered and sacred site in Japan.

There is also a long, romantic history of honorable suicide in Japan, from the Samurai’s desire to avoid disgrace to the kamikaze pilots of World War II. Suicide is much less stigmatized in Japan than in many Western societies.

What those hoping to take their lives may not consider is the impact the suicides have on the locals and forest workers. In the words of one local man, "It bugs the hell out of me that the area's famous for being a suicide spot." In addition, a local police officer said, "I've seen plenty of bodies that have been really badly decomposed... There's nothing beautiful about dying in there."

The forest workers have it even worse than the police do. The workers must carry the bodies down from the forest to the local station, where they are placed in a special room used specifically to house suicide corpses. Then a forest worker must sleep in the room with the corpse. It is believed that if the corpse is left alone, it is very bad luck for the yurei of the suicide victims. Their spirits are said to scream through the night, and their bodies will move on their own.

There are many stories and legends of Yurei and Oni associated with Aokigahara. Adding to the general foreboding atmosphere, many claim that there is a large, underground, magnetic iron ore deposit that renders compasses, cell phones, and GPS systems useless. It has been said this is one of the reasons so many become lost in the forest never to return.

Aokigahara is linked to ancient demons in Japanese myth and is considered the most haunted location in Japan. Aokigahara has also been dubbed the "Purgatory of Yurei.” Hikers have often seen apparitions as well as heard the howl of Yurei (幽霊) on the wind. These spirits are said to haunt Aokigahara forest in large numbers, particularly between the hours of 2 and 3 am: Japan’s ‘witching hour’ – when the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is at its thinnest.

The Japanese strongly believe that if a person dies in a sudden, unnatural, or violent manner then the spirit will turn into a Yūrei. They also believe that if the body is not properly buried, or if the person died with strong negative feelings such as depression or rage, then the spirit will also turn into a Yūrei. People committing suicide in Aokigahara forest fit all three criteria.

Some have reported objects moving and seeing shadows amongst the trees. Spiritualists say that the trees themselves are filled with a malevolent energy, accumulated from decades of suicides. They try to prevent you from getting back out. They say if you look hard at the trees, you can see the faces of the dead in the bark. Others believe that evil spirits in the forest put ideas of suicide in people’s heads and will not allow them to leave the forest.

The forest is also said to have been a site for ubasute, literally meaning, “Abandoning an old woman.” During the famines that gripped the area in the 19th century, ubasute was the practice of leaving an ill or elderly family member in the forest to die of exposure, starvation, or dehydration.

In recent years, the local government has stopped publicizing the numbers in an attempt to downplay Aokigahara’s association with suicide. Signs have been put up by the police around the forest 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 those whose thoughts have turned to suicide. Unfortunately, it shows no sign of decreasing despite government measures to discourage it.

Today, the forest is littered with colored tape used by those on their last trip into the forest, discarded belongings, nooses, and other items used to facilitate the suicides as well as bouquets, signs and pictures left by grieving friends and family members.

“You think you die alone, but that’s not true….Nobody is alone in this world. We have to coexist and take care of each other. That’s how I feel.”
~Azusa Hayano, Geologist, Park Ranger, and Suicide Patrolman

President Trump Eats A Baby

Internet Headlines Made Easy

Okay everyone let's learn a few simple tips on how to construct a news headline for a story on Yahoo! or pretty much any other media news website. First you start of with a true statement. Here is an example:

"President Trump Eats A Plate of Baby Back Ribs."

Seems pretty innocent right? Okay, now we need to put a spin on this to make the President look bad. Let's remove a couple of words from that Headline ... Ah, lets remove "Plate", "of", "Back", and "Ribs." Let's see what we have left:

"President Trump Eats A Baby."

Okay now that's the kind of headline that will cause anger in your average Joe. It will also get a tone of people to click on it. See, it's not that hard. Now you know!

Friday Girl: Veronica LaVery

(birth name: Veronika Poloprutska) was born in 1991 in the Czech Republic to a Slovakian mother and a Polish/Irish father. She grew up in a small northern town called Vrchlabí, known as the Gate to the Giant Mountains (Krkonose) of the Czech Republic. While in Vrchlabí, Veronika attended both an art and dance school along with acting classes where she was trained to play musical instruments, sing, craft, act and dance. She was also a singer in a punk-rock band named Driak, where she was the only female, and only 15yo(!). She has done various stage plays, band and dance performances and wasn’t shy about being seen and heard by masses. These creative years in such a young age gave Veronika a solid base for her future (completely unplanned) career in the entertainment industry.


Obi-Wan Will Be The Overseer Of Young Skywalker In The Latest Star Wars Prequel

From TMZ

The next movie in the 'Star Wars Story' franchise will feature Obi-Wan Kenobi -- but it ain't an origin story ... far from it actually.

According to a newly released production bulletin -- obtained by TMZ -- Disney's next foray into their spin-off series appears to be called "Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story," with a working title of "Joshua Tree." "Return of the Jedi" also used a code name ... "Blue Harvest."

The synopsis reads as follows ... Obi-Wan is on Tatooine being an elusive hermit and stuff, but secretly watches over an infant Luke Skywalker, whom he delivered to his uncle, Owen. Tensions between the local farmers and a tribe of Sand People -- headed by a ruthless war chief -- eventually brings Obi outta hiding ... and into Jedi kickass mode. Scene.

The bulletin lists Stephen Daldry as the director -- he'd been rumored to be in talks for the film, and now it looks like he's attached. The movie's shooting in London at a well-known 'Star Wars' studio, recently used for 'The Last Jedi.' Production is set to begin next spring.

Here's the kicker (maybe) ... fans have been clamoring online for Ewan McGregor to reprise the role of (then-young, now-older) Obi, and he recently said he'd be open to it, but hadn't heard a peep from Lucasfilm ... yet. *These aren't the theories you're looking for.*


From BOOM! Studios

BOOM! Studios is proud to continue KaBOOM! Summer Blast, a week-long spotlight on the best middle grade comic books and graphic novels from the award-winning imprint in the coming months with an extended first look at RUINWORLD #1, the debut issue of writer/artist Derek Laufman’s hit middle grade comics series.

Intrepid adventurers Pogo and Rex are on a quest for fame and fortune. Their discovery of a special map leads them on an epic journey through dangers, demons and old enemies. There’s one tiny problem—they’ve already lost the map. Now they’ll have to survive the greatest dangers of a world where threats hide behind every corner…if they can find a way to first survive each other’s best intentions first!

RUINWORLD #1 features a main cover by Derek Laufman (Adventure Time) and a variant cover by Sean Galloway (Teen Titans Go!).

“If you’re a fan of adventure, comedy or being happier than you can imagine,RUINWORLD was made for you,” said Whitney Leopard, Editor, BOOM! Studios. “Derek brings a charm and wit along with a great eye for action that makes this series unlike anything else on the stands. Pogo and Rex will steal your heart from the moment you meet them – but don’t worry, they’re pretty terrible thieves so they’ll give it back to you right away.”

RUINWORLD is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ critically acclaimed KaBOOM! imprint, publisher of world-class licensed series such as Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, Peanuts, and Garfield, along with original series like Mega Princess by Kelly Thompson and Brianne Drouhard, Brave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes and Selina Espiritu and The Deep by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer.

Print copies of RUINWORLD #1 will be available for sale on July 11th at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.

Vintage The Munsters Living Room 1:16 Diorama Model Kit by Polar Lights

$39.99 Order This Model Kit at View Obscura Comics

Get your glow-in-the-dark ghouls! Model kit of America's first monster TV family, The Munsters! Herman, Lily, Grandpa, Eddie, and Woof Woof. Create the Munsters' living room scene! Figures of Herman, Lily, Grandpa, Eddie, and Woof Woof the werewolf teddy bear are included with all the parts needed to create the Munsters' living room scene. Lily's casket-shaped chair, Herman's electric-chair recliner, the TV set with "rabbit-ears" antennae, rafters for Grandpa and his pet bat to hang from, and various rats are all here! Molded in glow-in-the-dark plastic to make it ghoulishly fun, this 1:16 scale model kit measures approximately 7-inches tall x 8-inches wide when fully assembled. Incredible! MIB! UNOPENED, FACTORY SEALED!

2018 Roswell UFO Festival News

Here's the latest news from the organizers of the 2018 Roswell UFO Festival:

New post on Official UFO Festival Roswell Website

Free movie fun at the 2018 UFO Festival!

by UFO Festival

 In the epic adventure film `Independence Day,' strange phenomena surface around the globe. The skies ignite. Terror races through the world's major cities. As these extraordinary events unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that a force of incredible magnitude has arrived, its mission: total annihilation over the Fourth of July weekend. The last hope to stop the destruction is an unlikely group of people united by fate and unimaginable circumstances.
What a perfect movie to show at the official 2018 UFO Festival Independence Day weekend!  Join us at the 3rd St. Station pavilion for a FREE showing of this critically acclaimed movie. Movie begins around 8:30 p.m.  The floor is concrete, so plan accordingly.
Remember to bring your:
  • Chairs
  • Snacks
  • Bug spray

501st Legion to appear at the 2018 UFO Festival!

by UFO Festival
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Do you love Star Wars?  Who doesn't?   We are thrilled to announce that members of the 501st Dewback Ridge Garrison will be on hand for photos and more at the official 2018 UFO Festival!
Since 1997, the costuming organization known as the 501st Legion has spread the magic of the Star Wars genre worldwide through its authentic-looking costumes, and has become the leading force in fan-based charity events. The 501st, also known as "Vader's Fist," is truly dedicated to brightening the lives of those less-fortunate.
Members of all ages and characters, including Darth Vader himself, will thrill audiences at this year's event. There is nothing quite like a group of Stormtroopers to bring attention to an event. Unlike individual entertainers, the 501st Legion functions as a group creating a true science-fiction/fantasy ambience with a wide range of professional-grade costumes and props. Our internal standards ensure a high level of professionalism in both actions and appearance to ensure your event runs smoothly.

Professor Godzilla Uses Monster Movies To Teach Politics

Finally a class I would love to take!

From Anime News Network

Hiroshi Ito, a media studies professor at Wakayama Shin-ai Women's Junior College in Wakayama, is taking a different approach to teaching Japan's constitution and anti-war ideals this semester. Ito began teaching a class on April 26 that explains the constitution through the Godzilla film series.

Ito said, "I want students to examine how Japanese society that surrounds the constitution has transformed, using images from the Godzilla series of films that spans more than 60 years." Since the original film debuted during Japan's early postwar period in 1954, TOHO has produced 29 live-action Godzilla films. The most recent, Shin Godzilla, debuted under the direction of Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi in 2016. The franchise is also inspiring an anime film trilogy, and the second film, Godzilla: Kessen Kidō Zōshoku Toshi, will open in Japan on May 18.

With Japanese politicians currently discussing amendments to the constitution, Ito believes "it is critical for people to know first what's in and around the constitution." Since adopting its current constitution in 1947 after the end of World War II, Japan has had only a Self-Defense Force and no official military. However, current Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe and other members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party want to amend the war-renouncing Article 9 of the constitution and restore the country's military.

As Ito's class explains, the original "Godzilla (films) started as an anti-nuclear, anti-war project." The original film sends a strong anti-nuclear message with its title monster awakened by a hydrogen bomb. The film's message references real-world events, such as the the United States' bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Ito is a fan of the Godzilla franchise, and came up with the idea for the class after seeing Shin Godzilla and its success. In the film, the United States suggests a nuclear strike because other attempts to stop the monster have been ineffective. Although Japanese efforts prevent the use of nuclear weapons in the end, Ito sees the film as contrasting the franchise's initial anti-nuclear message. He said, "These things were now taken for granted, and it worried me."

Ito hopes to pique students' interest with Godzilla in order to educate them about the full significance of Japan's constitution, including its Article 9, and its influence on the now pacifist country. Toward that aim, the college course will show scenes from the film franchise related to peace and the constitution.


Solo Part Of A Trilogy? Is Lando Next?

From The Playlist

Kathleen Kennedy Says A Lando Calrissian ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff Is “Next”

Ron Howard has talked about sequels (it depends on how the audience reacts to ‘Solo’ and how much money it makes) and the entire cast is signed on for at least three movies). So what’s next for Lucasfilm? Well, there are rumors, unsubstantiated as of right now it should be said, that an ‘Obi-Wan‘ film shoots in the spring of 2019 (still unclear whether Ewan McGregor will star). And there’s been talk of the Simon Kinberg-penned and dormant ‘Boba Fett‘ movie coming back too.

But Kathleen Kennedy herself has revealed what’s apparently “next,” and it’s a Lando Calrissian solo film that would star Donald Glover. “We think that the next spin-off will be dedicated to Lando Calrissian, ” Kennedy told Premiere France. ” Of course, there are still many stories to tell about Han and Chewbacca, but Lando will be next.”

This would be pretty big news considering that (not a spoiler because we know they’re signed on for multiple films) that ‘Solo’ sets up potential sequels and many expect the Obi-Wan Kenobi movie to shoot next. But Donald Glover is signed up for more films, and perhaps Lucasfilm wants their own “Black Panther” and a film that serves the African American audience that will clearly come out in droves if they’re given a good movie.


The Forgotten Prisoner of Castle-Mare

Vintage The Forgotten Prisoner of Castle-Mare 1/8 Scale Aurora Model Kits #422-100

$29.99 Order This Model Kit at View Obscura Comics

The Forgotten Prisoner of Castle-Mare is one of the most sought after and harder to find of Aurora's first run of monster models, It was the only original design in the series, a collaboration between Aurora and the staff of the Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, Warren Publishing Company. The box displays the logo for Warren's flagship book Famous Monsters of Filmland, in an attempt to cross-sell the product to young horror fans. The box lid also boasts wonderful painted art by Mort Kunstler. Original Kit Issued: 1966 - 68. Re-Issued: 1969-1972, 1992, 1994, 2001. Since the sales had been declining for the monster models, the last kit to be issued as a Long Box. MIB! UNOPENED, FACTORY SEALED! This is the 1992 reissue.