Haikasoru

 

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It’s the RED GIRLS giveaway contest!

by nickmamatas

It’s time for another giveaway contest, and this time we’re giving away four copies of Red Girls, the latest Haikasoru release from Kazuki Sakuraba of Gosick
fame.

Red Girls deals with three generations of an illustrious family in post-war Japan, and contains at its heart a mystery—who was the victim of the murder a psychic grandmother confessed to? A pretty straightforward crim…wait, psychic?

Yes. Red Girls won the Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 2007, but it is a supernatural mystery, a modern fantasy. Well, unless psychic powers are real, in which case the book on cinema box is not a fantasy. And that brings is to the theme of our giveaway contest!

Ever experience anything supernatural or psychic or ghostly or weird? For real? For real real?! Tell us about it in the comments in a short essay. We’ll choose the four best winners on Friday April 17th, and noon, and will ship the winning books to you, no matter where you live, freeee!

And feel free to submit in English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, German, or Greek. We’ll also take poems.

So, Red Girls. Psychic phenomena. Fantasy or mystery. Tell us your mystic secrets and maybe you’ll win a free book!

Source: https://cinemabox-app.com

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9 Responses to “It’s the RED GIRLS giveaway contest!”

  1. Takehaniyasubiko says:

    Did I ever live through “anything supernatural or psychic or ghostly or weird”? No, not by a long shot.

    “Knowledge of the hidden”, the occult, always enthralled many, including me. I always swallowed large chunks of popular culture and folklore in search of any phenomenon (or noumenon) that could be called paranormal, even by a stretch. Those were the only fields where I could find such events, though.

    In real life, as long as I can remember, everything bowed down to the laws of scientific bodies. Studying the history of many cultures only assured me that ghosts, extraterrestrials, godlike ninja, immortal pirates, unidentified flying objects, cryptids, one man armies and psychic abilities were nothing more than fairy tales, often constructed by the upper classes to control the weak-minded pleb. I got my heart broken at a fairly young age by the cruel facts, but hey, at least some of those fairy tales are cool, right? Especially the Japanese stuff. That’s the best stuff. For real! For real real!!

  2. Andy Hendry says:

    I grew up in South Wales on a blue hill; my bedroom looked north towards the mountain of stone and Mynydd Twmbarlwm -the twmp. When I was a child the twmp of Twmbralwm occupied a special place in my young psyche. Looming above the valley below drawing the horizon into the forground -dark and haunted as the sun sank, green and verdant when it beat down from the clear summer sky.

    twmbarlwm

    As I grew I asked about the strange shape of the far/near horizon. The general theory amongst the kids my age was that it was a Norman fort or a prehistoric burial mound, some also said that it was where the Romans kept an eye on the subjugated but ever rebellious Silures -the tribe who gave their name to the nearby Roman fort of Isca Silures (which later became the birthplace of Arthur Machen, Caerleon). It turned out that all of these theories were right and that the site had been in use from the Iron Age through to the Norman invasion. Until relatively recently it was still a site of a pilgrimage of sorts for local people on Good Friday.

    Whilst I found the history of the site interesting my young mind was turned more and more by the folklore surrounding the mountain. Folklore that was, in its entirety, dark and grim and therefore of great fascination for a prepubescent boy such as I was. When I was 10 my mother, who worked in the giftshop of the local museum, brought me home a pair of books by local author Alan Roderick: Ghosts of Gwent and Folklore of Gwent. I was thrilled by these books and read them until the binding crumbled and they were but a collection loose leaves. The volume on folklore had plenty to say about Twmbarlwm.

    According to Roderick in the early 1800s (the exact date escapes me though I think it was the 1830s) a local antiquarian led a team of navies up the mountain to excavate the mysterious mound. It was a clear summer’s day as they climbed from the village of Risca yet as they approached the summit the sky rapidly darkened as storm clouds rolled from all directions. As the team neared the summit lighting began to strike the ground all around the twmp causing the superstitious navvies to flee and the excavation to be abandoned. To the best of my knowledge there still hasn’t been an archaeological investigation into the mound itself.

    Some years after the aborted excavation it seems that people noticed that the number of honey bees in Britain had dropped drastically. Their whereabouts were soon discovered when thousands upon thousands of bee corpses were discovered to be covering the twmp and the top of the mountain. As if all the bees in Britain had migrated their and fought to the death.

    Then there were also the tales of missing children on the mountain. In stories dating back to, at least, the 18th Century children playing on the slopes of the mountain hear the sound of music, and no I don’t mean Julie Andrews, drifting on the breeze. One of the children inevitably goes to find the source of the music and is never seen again.

    Like I said, dark stuff.

    As I grew into a teenager the place continued to dominate my mental landscape and, as a young teen, friends and I would cycle up the mountain and go camping on its slopes. Then I grew older and discovered the various alternative subcultures that thrived in the local area I began experimenting with all the usual things that kids experimented with at that age -drink, drugs, and as much sex as possible.

    Being as this was South Wales one of the main recreational drugs that we experimented with were the local mushrooms -Psilocybe semilanceata or Liberty Caps. ‘Camping trips’ soon became a regular feature of autumn and early winter for me and my friends. We would spend days wandering the fields picking mushrooms in order to make insanely strong ‘brews’ from hundreds, sometimes thousands, of the strange little mushrooms. We would then go camping in the coniferous woodlands below the twmp and spend an evening expanding our consciousness. In fact I had my most powerful and vivid hallucinogenic experience on that mountain, at a friend’s bachelor party, which had me seeing clockwork maggots crawling red hot from the embers of the fire, stars swirling in the night sky above our clearing and figures on horseback ducking impossibly through the trees around us.

    These experiences were all fun and games as I completely understood that the things I was seeing and hearing around me were the product of imagination and Wales’ most famous botanical product. However one evening we did have a genuinely strange experience. An experience that has many explanations, none of which are satisfactory.

    It was maybe 17 years ago that this occurred and it was right at the end of mushroom season so it would have been early November. We had the last of our super brews bottled and were just waiting for an excuse to indulge. Just such an excuse cropped up, though I forget what it was, and so we decided to drive up the mountain one Friday night. Five of us drove up the mountain to start setting up the camp at around 9 o’clock in the evening. Four of us got a fire going, gathered enough firewood so that we wouldn’t need to gather any whilst we were altered, and the fifth returned to town to pick up the last of our party who had been working in a local pub.

    Well, it turned out that our bartender friend had gotten home from work and fallen asleep on the sofa. Our driver having something of a crush on her decided to wait, rather creepily now I think about it, outside her house until he could wake her up.

    Whilst we were waiting we opened a beer and those that smoked rolled a couple of spliffs to pass the time. After a while of sitting around chatting we inevitably experienced periods of quiet where our gazes were drawn hypnotically to the fire. It was during one of these lulls in conversation that we heard twigs snapping in the forest around us. Now bear in mind that it was approaching midnight in November and we were a good half an hours walk away from the nearest houses. So the sound of multiple people walking in circles around our camp did unnerve us slightly.

    We shone the one torch we had into the narrow gaps between the oh so straight trees around us but we couldn’t see anyone, even if we shone the torch where just a moment before we had heard a twig snap. Over and over this happened and then, as we were starting to get seriously freaked out and called into the night “Hello, hello, who the fuck’s there?” We heard it. A child giggling -first to one side of us, then the other. A high pitched giggle that would sound right and natural on a primary school playground but at midnight in November far from the nearest houses sounded decidedly unnatural.

    Those giggles were the final straw and we poured water over our fire and struck out for the road. As we walked in single file following Ryan, the only one of us who had thought to bring a torch, the sounds of people running around us continued, as did the giggling. It would get nearer then farther making us jump and urging us on until we were as close to running as we dared in the dark.

    It was such a relief when we finally cleared the trees and bundled out into an open field bathed silver by the moon. We walked rapidly away from the woods glancing back over our shoulders at the giggling woods as little voices rang out “Goodbye! Goodbye!”

    That was the last time we went camping on Twmbarlwm.

  3. Ken says:

    I certainly did have a ghostly encounter, and it happened in that way most common with anything; when you least anticipate it.
    When I was a teenager I was a ghost-hunter. My buddies and I had saved up a thousand dollars to buy this top-of-the-line ghost-hunting kit that was loaded with all of the good stuff. Super sensitive trip-alarms, microscopic sound recorders, and just the works. We went out to all of the local haunts (which, my being from New Jersey, is an absolute ton if anyone is familiar with the Weird NJ magazine) and lugged this big kit and a couple of video cameras everywhere we went.
    We did this for four years before wringing it in. We’d often thought we’d encountered a ghost, but it was never really so. We certainly wanted a ghost, so much so that, at times, we’d trick ourselves into thinking we’d encountered one. But it wasn’t so, and eventually we stopped telling our lies about finding ghosts, sold off the kit for a fraction of what it cost us, and went out separate ways of job and college.
    So I went away to a very quiet school in the mountains, and my major was (is) philosophy. All of my being let-down by not finding ghosts convinced me to adopt the dryly logical lifestyle, I suppose. But it’s a very small school on the northern tip of New Jersey and is located in the button of a series of a mountains. Outside of trails in the woods, there’s nothing much to do here, especially at night and all of the stores (and even bars!) close at ten p.m. And that’s where this got started—
    The mountains my school is located between are actually an immense reservation. There’s a lot of dilapidated structures in the reservation, but most of them are very close to the entrances and have been kept standing for tourist purposes. But if you go deep enough into the reservation, there’s only a very few of these old structures left standing. And there has always been one in particular of a very curious design.
    It’s a stone cabin, without any roof, and its innards are gutted and vague. The stones are in poor condition; chipped and mossy, and there are several spots of the structure that, if you lean against it, can feel not only a certain stone move, but even the entire wall. It’s extremely dangerous, and has been so for a while. There’s thick yellow rope around the building, but, naturally, this stops virtually nobody from approaching. While the outside walls are graciously natural still, the inside of the building is loaded with graffiti. Thing is, the graffiti isn’t street tags or swear words, but a series of various spellings and poems all related to “Will.” What has always stood out for me is this one poem on the far side of the building;

    Won’t you cry
    If only tonight
    Loud enough, Sweet,
    Lest Father not awaken

    There’s a legend to this Will. Lots of various ideas, but in particular the sole consistent one is that this home had belonged to one of the quakers that used to be in the area. There was a mother and father who had a child and named him Will. The story is that there was something wrong with the boy, probably mental, and the mother in particular was sickened by this. She’d always found mental and physical disabilities in children as symptoms of sin from the parents. While she believed herself pure she surmised her husband was not. Still, she loved her husband and depended on him— but her boy, Will, she did not.
    So one night she filled the tub with clean water from the well, only a little so as not to make much noise from the creaky vein. She brought it inside and laid it in the removed room from the main of the house. She took Will, who was always an intensely quiet boy who’d never cried, and drowned him in the tub.
    The next day, after her husband condemnded her as a murderer, the wife, hysterical but unrelenting, ran off into the mountains, mad with both grief and fury.

    Anyway, that’s the legend. And of course, once I’d started school the first of friends I met were just beginning their lives as ghost-hunters while I had already retired. They wanted to visit the cabin of Will at the witching hour naturally. At this point in my life I was far more afraid of running into a bear than a ghost, but as there is genuinely nothing to do at this school at night I agreed to come along, for the purpose of my own snooty arrogance towards what they were doing.
    We made it there an hour past midnight. It was extremely terrifying going through the trails by flashlight than any had anticipated, and when you jump back three feet for every single step forward the journey ahead extends well past its due time.
    But we got there eventually. And we ran out of there immediately.

    The moment we walked in and shined out flashlights into the corner room where Will was allegedly drowned, we saw a wooden tub extending from around the corner.
    And heard the sound of panicked, sloshing water.

    So that was that. The most awful and horrifying experience of my life. But I did go back the next day, to check for that tub. It wasn’t there— but it had been. And something terrible was happening within it. Again, and perhaps each and every night as well.

  4. Carola says:

    I have always lived in the same home, until I was about 19. Then came a point when I moved houses six times in five years. The second house I lived in was by far the scariest.

    When we moved in, I had the choice of taking a bedroom on the first floor, or the attic. The attic was large and awesome but a lot needed to be done to make it habitable and we’d only be in the house for half a year (we hoped), so I said screw it and took the first floor bedroom.

    To this day I am still glad I made that decision, because night after night we would hear a door slam in the attic, sometimes multiple times at night. I never dared check at night, and neither did my parents (which is funny because my dad is the most down to earth person you will ever meet and he does not believe in anything ghostly or supernatural at all). But every time we checked during the day, the doors were closed and none of them appeared faulty in a way that they could open by themselves.

    We’d leave them closed and even locked them at some point to prevent them slamming.

    But they still slammed. Every night.

    Although I cannot say for sure if this was a ghost encounter or not, I am still glad to be out of that house!

  5. Cat says:

    My husband and I had never spent a Christmas at home with our kitties. The year we decided to do so, our curious but very fragile sweetheart, Gail, died in July. For the first time in our married life we had a Christmas tree, and there was a sensor shaped like a snowflake which would turn lights on and off by touch. Every night when we went to bed we’d turn off the lights, and every morning we’d find them on. We’re pretty certain it was Gail, whom we affectionately call “Our Little Ghost.”

  6. Teri says:

    Take of this what you will, but I have had three odd occurrences happen while working at a local casino. The current building is built on a block formerly filled with numerous businesses; a bar, assayer office, opera house, hotel, other miscellaneous Comstock-era businesses, and a rumor of underground storage for the furniture and funeral parlor across the street. Interestingly enough, in the space between the floors, it seems as if some of the original walls were kept as the casino expanded during it’s 50 years in business.

    The first odd event was while walking with my supervisor through the main floor. It was a busy day, patrons filled the Keno lounge, almost all the slot machines had someone sitting there playing. and the snack bar was full. My supervisor had a unique name, a combination of her grandparents names Walter and Henrietta. As we walked, I heard someone call her name, “Walletta!” I ignored it while she turned to see who needed her, but she turned back quickly since no one was looking at her. A few steps later, louder this time, again we heard “Walletta!” Both of us turned and still no one was looking or trying to get her attention. I told her I had also heard her name and thought it was odd that no one was trying to flag her down. We started walking again and for the third time, significantly loud enough to make me jump, we heard “Walletta!” Spinning around quickly, we looked to see who was almost screaming at her. No one was looking our way. The odd thing was, no one else was looking anywhere or reacting to hearing someone yell loudly across the casino. It was as if only we had heard the voice. Looking at each other, we left quickly and did not hear her name again.

    The second happened was while I was working behind the Keno desk. It is a casino so no one under 21 is allowed to wander alone. I was working with one other person and as I turned to look at her, I caught sight of a young boy, possibly 6 or 8, moving down the steps behind us leading to the storage room. I could clearly see his sandy blonde hair cut bowl style and the short sleeve white shirt he wore. As kids do when caught, he ducked down behind the railing wall to hide as I turned to approach him. I walked around the wall and saw no one. I even took the stairs to the storage room and no one was there. I asked my colleague to come check and as she walked over where he would have been ducking, she stopped suddenly and looked at her arms that had broken out in goose bumps. She turned and walked away, saying he was still there and it was my job to deal with kids and ghosts.

    The final event convinced me there truly was something there. I was working late with another person getting ready to call one of the final Keno games for the evening. My assistant was complaining something cold was blowing on her, though I was convinced it was merely a leak from the air blower (forgetting that the fan was not on at the time she said it). I turned to face the control panel and was about to start the fan when something hit me square in the chest, knocking the breath out of me. I remember stumbling back, gasping for air, while my assistant jumped to my side. She told me I went completely pale and she was afraid I was going to pass out. I was cold and shivering, yet my attention was on my hands. My skin had a distinct blue tint but my nails seemed to have turned yellow. When I could breathe again, maybe a few minutes later, my assistant asked what happened. Feeling where I was “punched”, my chest bone felt sore, I told her that it almost felt like I was drowning. I glared at the space in front of the control panel and threatened the air if it did that again, I was calling in an exorcist.

    Nothing happened after that. This was only ten years ago and the memory is still fresh from how bizarre it was during those few months.

  7. Tom McBride says:

    I suppose that one of the reasons why people find ghosts unsettling is because there is always a part of them you cannot see. To be a ghost, you do not have to be dead, but you do need to have something removed. It doesn’t have to be a part of your body, but the absence has to be visible. For that reason, I sometimes wonder if I pass by more ghosts than usual on rainy days. When it rains, umbrellas flower; most of them are probably too young to be tsukumogami, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t accompanied by something strange.

    I pass by a Japanese woman one day, on my way to university. She is holding an umbrella. It is a softly grey day, but there is no rain. Still, she holds an umbrella. The umbrella hides the top half of her face.

    What is it keeping from me? She does not seem to be hiding. It’s more like she’s being hidden. Why else would there be an umbrella in her hands on a day without rain? She doesn’t need it. Maybe the umbrella needs her instead. I think that’s it. The umbrella needs to hide her. That has to be it.

    Why am I reassuring myself like this?

    All I can see is her mouth. It’s in a shape I’ve never seen before. Not on a person. Not on a real person, anyway. Maybe on a doll or a drawing, but never so far on a human.

    We pass each other by. That’s it for now. I see her again later, though.

    This time, it’s late, and I’m waiting at the bus top, or the train station. (I forget which.) It’s dark, and lonely. Even if I don’t remember the exact place, that last detail will always stick in my mind, because in a city like this, I’ve never found myself at either without at least one other person being there.

    That place gets filled soon enough.

    The woman appears again, with the umbrella still in place. It’s in exactly the same position as it was before. She stands there, waiting alongside me. The bus (or train) is taking its time, so we wait there in silence. After a while, she turns to me, with a question.

    “The ghost usually arrives ten minutes late, doesn’t it?” she asks, in a voice perfectly suited to her mouth. It sounds like a dream that’s too heavy for sleep.

    What?

    I forget my answer, but I make some excuse, saying I don’t know, and that I must be waiting at the wrong place. I leave. I have no idea why she would ask me something like that, as if I would know where or when to encounter ghosts. I walk home instead, past bicycles leaning against the railings like a gang of cats.

    That night, I dream about her. She is slightly different in it than she was in real life. She’s younger, and without her umbrella. I can see the woman’s face, even though her hair is longer. Her dress is longer, too, so that it completely conceals her legs. I used to read up a lot on Japanese folklore online, and one detail I kept on encountering was that Japanese ghosts have no feet. Maybe that’s why I am dreaming her this way.

    My vision in this dream is fuzzy, like it’s a video recorded on camera and put up online. I can clearly see her mouth, though. She’s laughing, carefree. That stops when she notices I’m watching her. I don’t know how she sees me, but when she realises this, she stops, and so does everything else.

    The dream stops too.

  8. Jennifer Crow says:

    When my husband and I were newlyweds, we lived in a building that had been converted into apartments from an old high school. One night, I awakened with the sense that someone else was in the bedroom with us. As I emerged from sleep, I realized there were two girls in the room who were equally shocked by our presence. “What are *they* doing here?” one of them said to the other. And then they were gone.

    I’m not sure if they were ghosts, or if we somehow slipped for a moment into the past life of the school, but it was definitely one of the oddest experiences I’ve ever had.

  9. Ben B. says:

    I don’t really have any personal stories of supernatural occurrences to relate. I’ve heard some from friends but none come readily to mind. So in lieu of reciting someone’s tale, I’m going to expound on one of my favorite theories. It’s one that I find occurring to me the more and more I notice it, or choose to notice it. I call it the “Plate of Shrimp” phenomenon. It’s something Alex Cox, the director of the awesome “Repo Man” coined. It’s similar to Jung’s ideas about Synchronicity and Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance, except more basic and to me, more believable. Rather than explain it in my own words, I’ll let Miller, the character who espouses it in “Repo Man”, do so.

    “A lot o’ people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch o’ unconnected incidents ‘n things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice o’ coincidence that lays on top o’ everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you’re thinkin’ about a plate o’ shrimp. Suddenly someone’ll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o’ shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin’ for one, either. It’s all part of a cosmic unconciousness.”

    I swear, ever since seeing this movie, this very thing happens to me all the bloody time. Call it new-age-y or hippy-dippy, it’s there. Or maybe it’s that thinking along those lines sets you up to see Plates of Shrimp where you want. It’s a total mystery. I’ve taken to noting them down when they happen simply because some are really bizarre. A lot of them are what people would call coincidences, like having a conversation with someone where they use the word pride and then turning on the tv only to find that a nature doc about lions is playing. Like your brain has been primed to look for hidden meaning and all that. But could it be that our minds are actually constructing our reality as we go about our day, pulling at all the subliminal residue of the words and ideas we encounter in order to fill out reality as we move through it?

    It’s this kinda stuff I could natter on about for hours. The consequences of having a father who was formerly obsessed with New Age-thinking. I guess questioning reality also ties into having a love of science-fiction and fantasy. Which is why I’m typing this very stream of consciousness essay on this website right now. Whoa, meta.


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