Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

I have posted this on Halloween because I am of the honest opinion that the worst horrors are those committed by humans to humans, with actual sentient intent on them. When I looked into the Hello Kitty Murder (blog link) I was also asked if I had heard about the case of Junko Furuta and so I am going to outline this one. Again it is true crime and some of it is disturbing so please do not read if you think this will not be to your taste.

There are no photos for this one, I don’t think it’s right for this subject.

Furuta was a Japanese high-school student who was abducted, raped, tortured and murdered in the late 1980’s. Her case was named “Concrete-encased high school murder case”, as her body was found in a concrete drum.

She was born 18th January, 1979 and died, aged 17 at Adachi, Tokyo, Japan. Four teenagers were involved, Hiroshi Miyano, Jo Ogura, Shinji Minato and Yasushi Watanabe. Miyani Hiroshi was born in Adachi, Tokyo on 30th April 1970 and was arrested/apprehended 23rd March 1989. It seems about 100 people knew what had happened or had been involved but no-one said anything or did anything about it. Most of the people involved were friends of the four low-ranking Yakuza teenagers.

There is a film about her plight, from 1995 and called Concrete Encased High School Murder Case: Broken Seventeen Year Olds. I haven’t seen it myself but there you go, if you are interested that is what it is called. The film’s director Katsuya Matsumura and the listings for his IMDB credits seem to suggest that this is his area of interest and the last update was for a film he did in 2015.

From all online accounts I could see Junko Furuta was a decent young woman, she was a student who lives with her family. She worked as a part-time employee and one of her schoolmates, Hiroshi Miyano, asked her out on multiple occasions. She turned him down each time as she was not after a relationship and he took exception to that; he was Yakuza and he was now out for revenge. There are reports she’d not drank, smoked or done drugs, here was a boy who was a bully and not used to the idea of being told no.

November 25th, 1988, Miyano and his friend Nobuharo Minato were in her neighbourhood and looking for women to rob and rape. They spotted her around 8.30pm that night as she was heading back on her bicycle from work. Minato was ordered by Miyano to kick her off, which he did, and they fled the scene. He then returned to her an innocent bystander and he offered to walk her to her home for the sake for her safety.  She hadn’t realised that Miyano was guiding her towards a warehouse where he decided to tell her about his gang connections.

He raped her in the hotel and then the local hotel, from the hotel he called the other three. Ogura reportedly asked for him to keep her there so they could have their fun. The group had a history of gang rape, they had released their last captive. Around 3am he took her to the nearby park so his friends could get involved and they outright told her they knew where she lived and they would kill her family if she tried to escape. She was then dragged to a house owned by Minato’s parents to continue their fun. It became a regular hideout and in order to forestall the police the gang had her call her mother to say she’d ran away.

Her parents contacted the police, 27th November, they made their daughter call home to say to stop the police investigation and when Minato’s parents were around she forced her to pretend to be the girlfriend of one of them. It later became a pretence they dropped when it was clear Minato’s parents were not going to make any report to the police. Neither his parents or brother dared to do anything because of his Yakuza connections and for 44 days the girl suffered at the hands of any number of the sadistic ‘friends’ invited over.

One of the people who got involved was Koichi Ihara who claimed he was bullied into the rape of the victim, he came home and confided in his brother about it. Koichi Ihara’s brother told his parents and they bravely went to the police. Two officers were despatched and they were told there was no one at the house, they even declined an invite to look inside, they were dismissed and after the truth came out about their negligence.

In December she tried to call the police herself, but Hiroshi got to her and when the police tried to call back Miyano told them it had been a mistake. Her death came on 4th January 1989, the four boys challenged her to a game of Mahjong and despite her terrible condition she somehow managed to win. Eventually after another round of torture the poor young lady succumbed to her wounds and died.

Nobuharu, Minato’s brother called him to say Furuta appeared dead and now they were afraid they’d be caught for murder so they got a travel bag, wrapper her in blankets, stuffed her in and then put her body in a 55 gallon drum. It was all filled up with wet concrete, then around 8pm that night they put the drum in a cement truck in Koto, Japan.

23rd January 1989 and Hiroshi Minayo and Jo Ogura were talking and hinting about Furuta when speaking to the police, but the police were talking about another case after they had been arrested for another gang rape. The police interrogation started out confusing until they matched up the case and then found the body the following day, she was identified by her fingerprints and on the 1st April Ogura was arrested for another crime and then re-arrested for the murder. Yasushi Watanabe, Nobuharu Minato and his brother were all arrested too.

The four boys identity was originally a secret and sealed by the courts as they were juveniles but journalists from a magazine – Shukan Bunshun, worked it out and published them as they considered it such a severe case they felt they did not deserve anonymity. All four of them admitted to committing bodily injury that resulted in death, but not for murder. It will wasn’t over however, Furuta’s mother suffered a mental breakdown upon hearing just how badly her daughter had been treated. Many felt the sentences were too light, regardless of the boys ages.

July 1990, Hiroshi Miyano, the alleged leader was given 17 years and tried to appeal to Tokyo High Court, but they added three years to the sentence. In 2004 he tried to get parole, but due to an incident It was declined. In January, 2013 he was arrested for fraud but there wasn’t enough evidence. Does anyone want to give this man another chance? I’m not sure, it sounds like he won’t learn and it is probably not the last incident he will end up involved in.

Nobuharu Minato got 4-6 years and on appeal was re-sentenced to 5-9 years. He was 16 at the time, his parents were not charged, neither was his brother. Furuta’s parents sued, they won their civil case and after his release he went on to live with his mother, he has not worked since.

Yasushi Watanabe got 3-4 years and again he got an appeal which elevated him to serve 5-7 years. After his release he married a Romanian woman.

Jo Ogura was given 8 years in a juvenile prison and released August, 1999. After his release he was said to have boasted about his involvement. In 2004 he was arrested for assaulting Takatoshi Isono, after his release he tracked Isono down, beat him and shoved him into his truck. The man was beaten and threatened for four hours, he got 7 years for that, his mother (another monster in my opinion) went to Furuta’s grave and vandalised it for ruining her son’s life.

2nd April, 1989 her funeral was held and her work uniform was placed in the casket. I am only left saddened by this case, and angry because her poor mother had to suffer hearing all the terrible things this young lady endured. These monsters have continued on with their lives and hers was cut brutally short, their blatant disregard for her life left me feeling horridly empty about how they even got to walk free, but I don’t control any justice system and I am sure it cannot be easy for those that have to work within in to remove their personal feelings when they have to enter into these decisions.

I kept many of the actual events of what happened to her for the end of this article because if you have read enough you may wish to stop here. I didn’t even know if I should write them out as it was so awful reading into it in the first place but decided for the sake of completion I would do it this way.

It was already documented above that she had suffered gang rape, this was persistent throughout her ordeal. She was held captive for 44 days, and the four of them alone were said to have done this over 400 times. They had beaten her, used her as a ‘punch-bag’ by hanging her from the ceiling, they’d dropped weights on her stomach, she was forced to eat live cockroaches, drink her own wine and they forced her to masturbate in front of them. They also inserted foreign objects into her vagina and anus, this included a light-bulb (lit) and fireworks, her genitals were burnt out, they tore off her left nipple with pliers and pierced her breasts with sewing needles.

After the police officers failed to save her they carried on, and after her attempt to get the police failed they became more brutal (I shiver writing that). They doused her legs and feet in lighter-fluid, then set her on fire. They forced her into convulsions when they forced a large bottle into her anus, they then thought she was faking a seizure and lit her alight again in punishment. She begged for death, they made her sleep outside on the balcony during winter and they locked her in a freezer. The injuries she sustained were so bad it would take her up to an hour to crawl to the wash-room, she eventually lost control of her bladder and bowels so they beat her for that. The smell and appearance of her was so appalling that they lost sexual interest in her and then set off on their travels to rape someone else.

After the mahjong game she was given a beating and fell on to a stereo, she was convulsing, they then realised she was bleeding and leaking puss so covered their hands in plastic bags before carrying on the inhuman beatings on her.

I don’t know about you but I genuinely don’t feel it matters that they were juveniles, these little monsters knew what they were doing was wrong they just didn’t care. No amount of sentencing or punishment will bring her back or give any sense of justice, they simply feel irredeemable in their actions. I only hope that her soul has some rest, that her mother one day gets her own. It is such a shame she could never reach her potential and yes there was a lot of my own opinion in this one but for once I felt it was only right.

Sources:

Wikipedia, reddit, Japan Times, Japaninsides.com, Tokyo Reporter, Find a Grave, Crime Library and IMDB

Gwanju, South Korea has the Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital that was closed in the 1990’s. It says that there were mysterious deaths, mad doctors who were as crazy as the patients but in reality the hospital closed for more mundane reasons. It closed through lack of money, unsanitary conditions and problems with it’s sewage disposal system.

When the owner left the country and left no documentation about the land or buildings on it the whole ended up left as it is. Whilst closed and left abandoned it is by no means left unvisited, regularly people go to the place to see it and people often break in. In 1996 the owner fled to America because it was said that he was as insane as the patients, but in reality it sounds more like a dodge to be incarcerated for the terrible conditions and the fact he would likely end up spending more to update the building and so abandoned ship, so-to-speak. Families that lost their loved ones didn’t seem to get the answers they needed about why or how deaths happened.

It then leads to stories about terrible experiments and information that should have been hidden away… this is most likely that they were not told because no one had the knowledge or because the full details might well have been upsetting, who knows? Not me.

Paranormal events are also said to occur at the place, some comments around the net on various sites say that people have experienced being scratched and that glass had been hurled around. There are also mentions about capturing EVP’s too. All in all however it seems that the reality is people were poorly treat, experienced a disservice and the owner disappeared to avoid facing up to it all.

There is also a film based on this place, the film came into controversy as the owner filed a lawsuit saying that the negative press would make an effect on attempts to sell the building. A court case in Seoul, March 2018 over ruled attempts to stop it being shown and it was released. It is a fairly generic horror for it’s type so I think if you get a moment to watch it, then it’s not all that bad for horror fans. 

The cemetery is also known as the Presbyterian Churchyard in Baltimore, Maryland and probably most famously the burial place for Edgar Allan Poe (19th January 1809 to 7th October 1849) amongst others. There have been some reportedly strange occurrences so it seems like it’s worth a little look around and to enjoy a little of the local rumors and anecdotes. 

He was reburied there 1st October 1875, and the dedication  ceremony was 17th November 1875. He had originally been buried with no headstone and  market on a sandstone block with “No 80” and these days is a household name for horror and poetry enthusiasts.  Poe’s spirit is said to be there, he travelled through a lot during his lifetime and had an unexplained death. He was on the way to visit his mother and true love when he died and it’s said that he wanders the spot he is buried in and around the nearby church. Perhaps he is seeking for his lover to come and wed him at the altar?

Another lovely anecdote surrounding the grave of Poe is that a local Baltimore man would visit the authors grave, he did this annually and would bring cognac for a toast, he would leave three roses and the remnants of the bottle for Poe himself. He would dress all in black, and would go on the 19th January for the deceased poet’s grave, he did this for 75 years. 

Just below the Westminster Hall area, is one of the areas believed to be haunted because there are stories about how many there were buried whilst still alive. The spirit then wanders to find the person that did it, as they want to seek out revenge. There are supposedly a few of them and people have witnessed their wandering spirits.

As well as this is the “Skull of Cambridge”, it is said to be the head of a minister that was murdered. The skill was placed in a segment of concrete in the hopes of drowning out the sounds of his screams but they have still been heard and has frightened a lot who have witnessed it. There is a rumour that several were committed to psychiatric wards because they had gone insane from a prolonged exposure to the event.

Leona Wellesley is another of the rumours for hauntings so I have included her name here, she was a lunatic (reference of the time) who was brought directly from the asylum, still in her straightjacket, and buried as swiftly as they could. Rumour has it that you she follows visitors and her mad laughter can be heard echoing behind as they walk but these days finding her grave does not seem to be located and might be one of those wethered ones in the area.

Black Aggie is another local rumour, was about an innocent nurse who was put to her death in the early 1900’s and they erected a statue in the Druid Ridge Cemetery as an attempt to appease the mistake. It grew in fame locally because rumours of strange things happening around it began to surface. One of them being that if you stand around the “Aggie” statue at midnight her eyes will glow red and if they do you will be struck blind. It is worth noting you may not want to go to close if you are pregnant as it is also said she can cause miscarriages.

Sadly with these things the local rumours and attention have also meant that the 1926 installation has been removed from the original site. People had been caught breaking in at night and the pedestal suffered frequent vandalism. The Agnus family were upset by the negative attention donated it to the Smithsonian in 1967, and sat there in storage in the National Museum of American Art (later the Smithsonian American Art Museum). There is a blank pedestal at Druid Ridge Cemetery and the original rests protected behind closed doors.

Have you ever been and what did you experience?

By AndrewHorne (talk) – I (AndrewHorne (talk)) created this work entirely by myself.Transferred from en.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10862323

I have a copy of the first edition published of the game Wraith, it is battered and showing its age but it is still sat in my collection. It was published in 1994 by White Wolf and is part of the World of Darkness setting. The World of Darkness is an alternative world, a fictional setting using our world events and accepting that supernatural events and creatures like vampires, werewolves and mages exist.

I remember the rumours about this when I was more heavily into following the Role Play Gaming scene and thought I might do a tea break read on it.

So rumour had it that the game setting was being worked on and that play testing is a part of this, so during the first play test and in talks with the designers they all had instances where they were falling ill When they tried to prepare the book for its original publication the printing factory burnt down.

So this is really what seems to be nothing more than a rumour circulating at the time, there was no twitter to hashtag it out and a look online only had one other person that had posted about it. So it was a rumour mill that may well have not gone all that far outside of small circles or in chat rooms now very out of date or defunct. So was there any basis to this? Most likely not, it was more likely down to the fact that the game was just selling poorly.

The game itself meant that before you even started the game you had to conceive characters that had been traumatized enough to become these angry/tormented spirits. This was not just hard for players to work with but also the storyteller. I am quite sure the concept and development was hard work, the subject of things like murder, suicide and horrific accidents are going to drag the most positive of folk down over time.

Ultimately I don’t consider this a case of cursed gaming more a case of concept that didn’t sell well in reality. After two editions Wraith: The Oblivion was shelved and now appropriately haunted a space in my collection like it does many other people’s shelves.

Does any one else recall this?

Wraithoblivi c.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

 

It’s a famous media broadcast now, it’s also a very gripping thing to listen to as well. The original book is a work by H G Wells that started life as a serialisation by the English author.

The Martians have been plotting an invasion to Earth that’s to their own diminishing resources. In the book the events of the invasion are set in motion in Woking, Surrey but Orson Welles transfers them to America. Wells no doubt picked his location as it was local and he knew how to describe things with familiarity and if you pop over to Woking at any point you can locate a 23 feet high sculpture of a tripod fighting machine, ‘The Martian’ near the local railway station.

I’m not going into the plot, the reviews or such like but it is worthy of note because of films and of course the above-mentioned broadcast. That’s the bit I am going to look at it here for now.

George Orson Welles, 6th May 1915 to 10th October 1985 was involved in the business of entertainment and is famous for the film Citizen Kane, 1941 amongst other things but this is a blog for weird and interesting things, and I’ve picked out the 1938 broadcast of the War of the Worlds which, supposedly, sent thousands of American people into a mass panic about the alien invasions in their home states…

CBS radio invited Orson Welles to create a summer show that would last 13 weeks, the series began 11th July 1938 and the adaptation for H G Wells book aired 30th October 1938. It brought Orson Welles instant fame, the broadcast itself really is worth a listen to and you can sit back and appreciate it yourself if you wish.

There was supposedly a mass panic from people convinced of its validity, that aliens truly landed and it’s this bit I am looking at, were people really panicking so much that they would run from their homes in masses?

1.7 million listened to the broadcast and polls calculated that 1.2 million ‘were excited’ and mostly the reports seem to have been anecdotal. Cantril interviewed 135 people who cited some colourful claims about grabbing guns or packing up in a panic. It would hardly have been unusual for a busy area to have fast moving traffic and other rambunctious behaviours at the time so this was not entirely unexpected. Grovers Mill, New Jersey was not blasted by alien lasers or any such thing but the media took the story of the panic and without looking at data it might even be assumed claims of heart attacks and suicides were another effect but again, there was not noticeable shows in the data to support this. Miller countered Cantril’s claims and just did not seem to match up to the 1 million plus listeners.

American Telephone Company figures suggested a 40% rise in calls, again however, they did not lead to anything specific and it was just a higher record in some parts of New Jersey.

He also mentions that there is a notable other broadcast with the results of frightening some listeners, 31st October 1974 at Rhode Island, and one in Northern Portugal 1988 but they were not reported to on the same level. The same sort of thing appears in a 2010 publication by W Joseph Campbell and Slate.com, they in turn also look at media myths or fake news and include the press reports of the panic-stricken US citizens.

31st October, 1938 Daily News of New York’s front page encapsulates the news with the title “FAKE RADIO ‘WAR’ STIRS TERROR THROUGH U.S’. The New York Times gave us ‘Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact.’  The Detroit News went with ‘War Skit on Radio Terrifies Nation’ and The Boston Daily Globes ran with ‘RADIO PLAY TERRIFIES NATION’.

But was all of this remotely correct or fake news? Well in short, no, CE Hopper Company did the 2% response to people listening to it because most people were listening to NBC. The poll was conducted for 5000 people, so 100 people of 5000 were listening? Frank Stanton of CBS also said they were never censored for it because most people hadn’t even heard the show.

6 weeks after the broadcast it was admitted to, the figures were largely skewed and descriptions like disturbed or excited were inflated to ‘panic’. It did get enough hype that Adolf Hitler cited the panic as ‘evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy’.

So why?

Well in short radio was being seen as a threat to newspapers, they could use a few isolated cases as a way to make it sounds like these types of shows were an example of this terrible new media being irresponsible and untrustworthy. The Telegraph (UK paper) says that a woman tried to sue CBS for $50,000 thank to nervous shock but it was dismissed and a man tried to claim for shows as he’d spent that money on a train ticket, Welles was said to have paid for those.

There was indeed action taken that night, the police came to the station and one minute from the end of the show they were trying to shut it down. It played out and as a result Paul White, the head of CBS News, was summoned over. Welles found out later and was convinced it would end his career, but it didn’t.

Some listeners had turned in part way through and this seems to be where the reports started. Again, though it was very much a case of over-exaggeration and it does also seem that the repeated broadcasts about it being fictional could have fallen to few ears, a case of a small audience from the previous show affecting it too.

Let’s also put this into context, at the time a German Invasion was a possibility, rumblings of the inevitable war were a reality and was it so hard to imagine those who were affected and lured in part way through might have thought it was something to do with that?

Hadley Cantril calculated a 6 million strong audience, but it was then 1.7 million later on and yet this calculation seems flawed. He had doubled the usual audience and had tried to work on the idea not ever listener had a phone too. He summarised many reactions into panicked and yet quite a number had thought it was more of a prank than a reality.

No admissions for shock were made at Newark Hospital at that time, and there were no spikes in admission at New York either. Washington Post claimed a man died from a heart attack but the claim was not verified and Snopes also places this as mostly false.

So here is my summary – firstly its put Grovers Mill on the map for tourists like me who enjoy a bit of quirky history, radio hasn’t been stopped by the papers and vice-versa. I am quite sure we can safely say the average U.S citizen would have noticed laser space blasting Martians at the time and I, for one, love the broadcast. Thank you, H G Wells and Orson Welles, you gave me a great piece of history to look back on (and no I don’t rate the latest War of the Worlds film if you were wondering.)

Refs:

Robert E Bartholomew, Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics

Snopes

Wikipedia

Telegraph.co.uk

Google Books

Project Gutenburg

Slate.com