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The Saeki House

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SUGINAMI HOUSE

(aka THE SAEKI HOUSE)

Location: The Saeki House is located on a hill located up off an alleyway behind several storefronts in the Takaido area of the Suginami Ward of Tokyo, Japan, but the local authorities otherwise are hesitant to reveal its definite location.

Description: The structure is a two-story largely burnt and derelict Japanese pagoda with two upstairs bedrooms and exterior veranda on property separated by a surrounding brick and stone wall atop a driveway cut out of ascending bedrock.

Ghostly Manifestations: According to Japanese legend and folklore, when someone dies in the middle of an extreme rage, the emotion stays behind. This precept parallels the concept that the living leave psychic impressions in the locations and objects most connected to them in life. The United States as well as all countries have their share of haunted locations situated at sites where the living have been violently ejected from the plane of existence to the next. From the former home of Lizzie Borden to the nation's battlefields, almost every location with a tragic history has a ghostly legacy. The Saeki House is basically the Japanese version of Rose Red, almost twenty people connected to the house have died or vanished. The only "survivor" of the house was an American exchange student named Karen Davis, and she committed suicide from her hospital a few weeks after she was pulled alive from the burning structure.

Karen Davis had been sent to replace be a last minute replacement in the house for Yoko Sun Wu, a caretaker for the bedridden mother of Matthew Williams, a transplanted American accountant. Whatever happened to Yoko has never been satisfactorily answered, but a piece of unidentified bone from the house was correctly matched forensically to her DNA. In her short time in the house, Karen experienced what she later described from her hospital bed a sudden barrage of auditory and optical stimuli. In her words, she described an intense cloud of darkness "willowy and expanding but fraying at the edges like a huge mass of human hair."

"It had no discernible center nor any obvious size. It was liquid in movement and ethereal. I couldn't see through it, but when it came against my face, I saw what seemed to be distinct eyes looking straight through me!" She later testified.

Karen also described the sound of water splashing from the empty bathtub while she was there, and separately, the sight of small wet childlike footsteps. Sounds like scratching came from the attic along with that of a gurgling-groaning noise of someone trying to catch a breath. For some reason, Karen was always picking up and collecting trash. Matthew's mother was bedridden, and couldn't get upstairs unassisted. Partially eaten food, candy wrappers, spilled soup containers and used plastic utensils were constantly turning up and Karen never understood who was making the mess. She had yet to meet her clients nor find Yoko herself, but she never felt alone. Just out of her mind's eye, the shadow of another person, other than her bedridden patient drifted unseen and barely noticed behind clouded window panes of glass. She never did catch up with this shadowy intruder, nor did she get to meet her clients. When her employer came to check on her, Karen was in a fugue state of shock, barely aware of where or who she was, and hunched in fear in a corner. Her patient a few feet from her was dead of a heart attack. The police searching the house found Matthew Williams and his wife dead in the attic from what seemed to be a murder-suicide.

Even when she wasn't in the house, Karen felt touched by it. While showering in her college apartment, she had a chill and the distinct touch of another person touching her body.

Sadly, Karen never lived to describe more about the house or what she had experienced. Paranoid and schizophrenic after the fire, she somehow escaped the restraints on her bed and fled to the hospital roof where she jumped in full view of her own sister.

History: The house was once the home of Takeo Saeki, a Japanese shop-owner. On February 23, 2001, Tokyo police were asked by concerned employees to look for him after he vanished. They found a horrible sight in the house. Takeo's eight-year-old son, Toshi, had been drowned in a bathtub with his cat, and his wife, Kayako, five years his junior, had been stabbed to death and wrapped in plastic before hidden away in the attic. Cutting off Kayako's long tresses of hair, Takeo then pulled them into a rope and hung himself in another bedroom. Police also found several cut-up pictures. Takeo had cut his wife's face out of all pictures (spiritually removing her from his life) and then pinned them through the eyes of each picture to the door of the closet (spiritually destroying her soul). No one is quite sure what sparked the heinous murder spree, but it was later theorized that that she had been in love with her college professor, Peter Kirk, who had took his life the next morning after the murders. The police investigation was quite lengthy and ended with a sinister end. Two investigators were found dead of unknown causes and a third one vanished. After the alleged Williams murder-suicide, the fourth investigator from the case was seen heading to the house with two cans of gasoline to be never seen again. An hour later, the house was up in flames with Karen Davis and her boyfriend trapped within.

Less than a year later, two students from the nearby college as well as one of their professors vanished after entering the house. A third student was dismissed from school to return home in the United States and has since vanished as well.

No professional examinations have ever been allowed at Saeki House. When the Collinsport Ghost Society traveled to Tokyo to investigate the Fukoku Seimei Office Building which was haunted by a former female employee, they also set their sights upon Saeki House, but the local authorities barred their requests for directions to the location.

Identity of Ghosts: Japanese culture is full of stories of ghosts and curses, but it is firmly believed by the Japanese that the house is cursed. Several American paranormal investigators and parapsychologist refute this, giving rational experiences to the disappearances. The contrary thought is that the ghost of Kayako Saeki is in the house.

Source/Comments: The Grudge (2005/2007), Phenomenon described solely from the movie.

"Tragic Murder Suicide - Father Kills Wife and Child," Daily News Japan (ENGLISH VERSION), November 11, 2001

"Murder Ghost Claims Another Victim - Hospital Patient Jumps to Death," Daily News Japan (ENGLISH VERSION), September 9, 2007

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