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Grandma’s Noh Mask Part : 2

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Mask Image by Alex Motoc on Unsplash Illustrated by The Haunted Bar

Back to Grandma’s Noh Mask

If you haven’t read Grandma’s Noh Mask part 1 , please go to the previous post and catch up.

Guys, I’m back. I’m writing this while I’m still in shock. I apologize if my sentences are all over the place but I will do my best to keep myself up.

So I went to see the old maid. Let’s call her Aki.(That’s not her real name by the way)  As soon as she saw me, Aki said she wanted to visit the grave of “her lady”, by which she meant the wife of my husband’s grandfather, the woman who owned the Noh mask.

So we drove to the graveyard for about 20 minutes and Aki went and prayed at the grave, placing the flowers and burning incense. And then she asked me,

Can you promise to my lady, here in front of her grave, that no matter what you hear from me, you will leave the place alone. If not, I cannot tell you anything.

I was kind of caught off guard. Promise in front of her grave? I wasn’t prepared for this to be  this serious before even knowing what happened. But Aki’s face was so serious and tense, I could see that it took a lot for her to decide to share whatever she was about to share with me.

I felt like I had no choice but to promise that I would stay away from the place after hearing the story, though investigating the rooms was my original purpose.

We went to Aki’s house and the following is the story she revealed to me. This story revolves around my husband’s grandfather and grandmother, in other words, the guy who had a mistress and his wife who played Noh. For the simplicity of the story let’s call the grandfather Kazu and grandmother Toki.

Before meeting Kazu, Toki was married to another man. Unfortunately this man passed away and left Toki with 2 young daughters. Toki returned to her hometown with her daughters to move in with her parents(who were extremely wealthy).

Upon this move, Toki brought back the family buddhist altar from her first husband’s house with her. This was because her first husband did not have any relatives or family members alive at the time. Toki was the only one who could take care of the altar to continue honoring him and his family.

Some time after moving back, Toki remarried Kazu. Things were really great in the beginning. Kazu quit his job and started his own business under the full sponsorship of Toki’s wealthy parents. His business took off well and he became a wealthy man himself. Toki and Kazu had one daughter.

Kazu was over the moon with the birth of his own first child. He purchased a big emerald Obi-clip for Toki to show how much he appreciated her. Toki treasured this Obi-clip with her heart. Kazu was a good husband to Toki, and a good father to all of Toki’s daughters. Even though 2 of them weren’t his biological children, he loved all girls equally.

It was when Kazu’s youngest daughter was in high school. One of her best friends lost her father. The friend’s family had a business on their own, but without a father, it went south really fast. Soon the family started to suffer financially. The situation of this friend broke the youngest daughter’s heart.

She came to Kazu and begged him to help them get back on their feet. Kazu agreed to the request of his daughter and reached out to this friend’s family and started supporting them.

However, this “friend” of the youngest daughter ended up becoming the mistress of Kazu. Toki and her daughters were beyond angry. Not only this friend betrayed the youngest daughter as a friend, but she chose to repay their kindness and generosity by becoming a mistress and destroying her whole family.

To make the matter worse, the mistress got pregnant and gave birth to a boy. Toki only had one daughter with Kazu. This meant Toki lost her face as a wife to the mistress. Kazu stopped coming home to Toki.

Toki sunk deeper and deeper into depression. One day she went to her parents’ house and came back with the buddhist altar of her previous husband. She carried it into the storehouse and placed it in one of the rooms. From that day, she would spend a significant amount of time in the room every day, polishing it relentlessly.

Time went on and the mistress gave birth to the fourth boy with Kazu. Around this time, Toki found her escape in Noh dance.

People were overwhelmed by the intensity of her dance. The concentrated energy and the deep emotions that Toki released through her dance, with the Noh mask on, made her look like she had become the grudge itself.

Even her own daughters were too afraid to stay around her by this time.  Toki dedicated her entire self to Noh dancing until she literally couldn’t dance anymore. Toki fell ill and spent her last days in bed. When she lost her short battle to the illness, her haunting started.

Toki’s unexpected death hit Kazu hard and brought him back to his senses for the first time in years. He realized what a tremendous mistake he had made and how heartless and disrespectful he had been toward Toki, who had been nothing but a loving, caring wife to him.

He missed her deeply and regretted everything he had done and caused her pain. He officially moved back to the house he shared with Toki and the daughters, and spent most of his days reminiscing on Toki’s old belongings, especially the Noh mask that she used to wear.

Kazu’s health started visibly deteriorating from this time. In several weeks, he fell unconscious and got carried to the hospital. Mind you, he had no pre-existing condition. He was an all around healthy guy. But his heart was failing him.

He was given an emergency surgery to his heart, which the doctor later revealed to have been a very difficult, highly risky one, and luckily survived. During recovery, one of his friends who visited him noticed that he had “female trouble sign” on his face. Kazu went to a psychic and got the exorcised.

The Noh mask was donated to a museum as the psychic advised him to. As soon as doing that, his health was back again. He was once again a strong healthy man. The problem seemed to be gone at last.

However, the family noticed that the door at the back of Noh stage was stuck for no reason. The door wasn’t broken. There was no lock on it. It just wouldn’t open.  Around this time, Aki found that the door on the Buddhist altar in the storehouse was also stuck.

The family knew for sure that both doors opened fine before they donated the Noh mask to the museum. The daughters thought that it was the sign that Toki’s wrath was still there. They decided to lock the doors and sealed the places.

10 years had passed and there was a live-in maid named Haru. A lot of live-in maids at that time were women from troubled households, who had nowhere to stay. Haru wasn’t an exception. She was married, but her husband was a wife beater with gambling problems.

Haru escaped from her husband one night while he was asleep, with barely nothing but her life. For Haru, life as a live-in maid in this house was the peace that she finally found after surviving the life of hell with this guy. But her peaceful days did not last long. One day, her husband somehow found her. He stormed into the house and tried to bring her back.

One of the drivers stepped in and tried to stop him but ended up getting beat up pretty bad by this violent man. This pushed Haru over the edge. She couldn’t take the guilt of seeing an innocent driver get injured because of her past.

She attempted suicide in the bathtub in the maid’s room but failed when the other maids found her fast enough and took her to the hospital. She went missing as soon as she was discharged from the hospital. And Toki’s emerald Obi-clip disappeared too.

From the situation it seemed like Haru had stolen the Obi-clip. To a certain extent, Toki’s daughters were upset that out of all the valuable things in the house, Haru took the Obi-clip that always had a special meaning for their mother. But they also understood that Haru needed money to escape from her terrible husband.

One day, when Aki was sewing in the maid’s room and one of Toki’s daughters(my mother-in-law) came over to tell her something, they both heard a noise like a small object falling to the floor behind the maid’s room. They both looked at the direction of the noise and saw Haru sitting inside the room next to the maid’s room. What on earth? Where did she come from? How did she get in? They looked at her confused.

Haru bowed down deep and said “I am so sorry.” , then disappeared.  The spot that Haru was sitting on had a damp stain. There was an emerald Obi-clip in the middle of the stain.

They later learnt that Haru had thrown herself into the ocean and drowned days before her appearance.

Since that day, there were multiple occasions that someone found a wet stain on the same spot on the floor. They decided to seal the side of the maid’s room. The emerald clip was kept in the safe together with other jewelry before it went missing again. The daughters believed that the spirit of Toki took it inside the sealed room.

Aki believed that the haunting of Toki brought death to Haru. At the end of this story, Aki told me

I hope you understand and respect the feelings of Lady Toki and her daughters

 

I’m not really sure how I feel about this, or if I believe in the haunting of someone at all. But given that Kazu went from being a strong healthy man to a sick man with a weak heart in a matter of a few weeks, then got back to being strong and healthy again as soon as getting rid of the mask…I guess the haunting was real. I guess it was possible.

Aki also told me that when Kazu passed away, the sons from his mistress went after his money and almost started a nasty fight with his daughters. But in the end, the sons gave up and retreated with nothing because they feared the haunting of Toki.

I don’t know what I think about all this but I know that I cannot do anything that would hurt the feelings of Toki.

This is the end of my post. Thank you guys all for keeping up with me. I appreciate you guys for encouraging me to dig deeper. The truth I discovered was not a happy one but as shocking as it was, I think it would have been much worse if I didn’t know the truth and had gone straight into the sealed area out of curiosity.

So thank you guys for pushing me in that direction through this thread before I did something stupid.

Update:

I told my husband everything I’d discovered and we went to a temple to consult with a monk about what to do with those sealed areas. The monk suggested that we didn’t have to do anything about the sealing for the time being.

But whenever the house undergoes some operation like renovation or demolishing the building, it is recommended to have some cleansing ritual done by the shrine or temple. Until then, we must stay away from the sealed area and take good care of the god shrine inside the house.

As for Toki’s spirit, it is OK to see her as kind of protector of the house. As long as we stay respectful to her and live a life as a good person, she would protect us. But if we engage in something disrespectful to her,

there would be consequences which we could call a haunting.

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End of Story

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