Creepy Fact #8: Human Pillar (Hitobashira)

Japan is a country with some really creepy, bizarre yet captivating past. Picking just one story was very difficult as Japan has a lot to offer in terms of spooky stories and urban legends (and movies! I highly recommend watching Hausu. It’s just a weird masterpiece, but I loved it a lot!). Domo arigato Japan!

Ancient Japanese believed that using human skeletons or parts of their bodies in construction would yield a strong support to the buildings. They also believed that the use of human skeletons would serve as a sacrifice to the gods and thus render more stability to the architecture, this practice is called Hitobashira.

Bones and other remains have been found on-site of several different locations, lending at least some possibility that human sacrifice may have been involved in the making of some buildings: this include the Maruoka Castle and the Jomon Tunnel. Train drivers have reported hearing ghostly noises under the tunnel, which is believed to be the screams of those who were buried in the walls to support the foundations.

Stories of hitobashira and other human sacrifices were common in Japan as late as the sixteenth century, needless to say that currently, hitobashira is no longer practiced in construction.

Elle. x

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