This time we continue our look at Fuyumi Ono’s horror novel, The Bloody Labyrinth (小野不由美の“鲜血の迷宮”). Chapter 4 is when things really start to get good. That night at 9PM, everyone gathers in a little room near the dining room, and they hold a séance led by the research team headed by Ms. Igarashi. The Minami Research Group is also in attendance with Oliver Davis as well as Shibuya’s team. Miss Suzuki, Ms. Igarashi’s assistant, sits in front of white paper with a pen, which she starts moving when the spirits arrive. As she is writing more and more forcefully on the paper, the room is full of the sound of knocking along the walls, the candle goes out, and they hear voices or sobbing or some kind of auditory event. Ms. Igarashi tells everyone to stay where they are, while Bousan begins his protective Buddhist chant.
I am rather curious about Bousan’s warding prayer, which appears in katakana in the text, and I’m wondering if it is actually a transliteration of some Sanskrit sutra, which would be well beyond my abilities as a research though I’m normally pretty good with these things. Anyone with information, please send me in the right direction in the comments. Here is what it looks like in the book:
[ナウマクサンマンダバザラダンカン! ] (p.131)
I suspect it is a real prayer rather than just something made up because John Brown, the Catholic priest in this series, does use one of the scriptures, John 1, from the formal Catholic Rite of Exorcism when Naru calls upon him to perform the rite during some cases:
Like most of these sorts of warding prayers in all of the religions Fuyumi Ono cites in her stories, they come with very strong warnings and rules on their use. Here’s the Catholic list of parameters. I’ve seen complaints from Taoists who use the Nine Cuts about its appearance in TV shows, probably for the same reason, but I don’t see anything wrong with the way it’s used in these shows:
As a Buddhist scholar, I’m sure Fuyumi Ono was aware of these problems, and I didn’t get the impression from the anime that these are ever used in a frivolous way to warrant complaints.
Anyway, Yasuhara looks over the papers Miss Suzuki was writing after they get the lights on, and many of them say “help.” Bousan picks up one of the few that says “I don’t want to die” in red ink. Naru checks out the video in their base room to look over what happened, and they review it with Ms. Igarashi and Miss Suzuki. They see that the temperature dropped a few degrees during the séance, and they notice some particularly interesting things on the video. After rewinding the video a few times to verify it, the paper that said “I don’t want to die” was not one Miss Suzuki wrote. The words appeared suddenly as the paper was falling from the table and flipping around before hitting the floor!
Finally, they all turn in for the night. Ayako, Masako and Mai share a room and discuss their impressions during the séance before falling asleep. That night, Mai dreams Suzuki disappeared. In the morning, they discover Miss Suzuki went missing later that night on her way from the bedroom to the dining room. Neither Mr. Oohashi nor the staff have seen her. Naru checks the video again, while Ms. Igarashi tries to convince Oliver Davis to use psychometry to find her, which he refuses to do. They discuss calling the police, and it seems a large search is organized to scour the house to find her. Mr. Minami suggest she ran off after getting frightened during the séance, and Ms. Igarashi thinks it might be wise to call her house. They cut short the search.
The Shibuya team spends some time speculating about where Miss Suzuki disappeared and checking their instrument readings for clues. Meanwhile, Ms. Igarashi calls Miss Suzuki’s family in Tokyo and discovers she has not returned home. After dinner, Naru and Lin talk about a large empty space in the floor plan that has an L shape. Madoka Mori arrives to give them a report on the disappearances a few months before. The first one was Hideki Matsunuma, who was 18, and the second was 21-year-old Wamasaya Yoshikawa.
Chapter 5 has some interesting details that are not shown in the anime. Remember at the beginning the client had brought in 20 psychic researchers to help crack the case. I didn’t get into too many of them in detail because there were so many characters that it would be overwhelming and probably not important to name them all. This chapter introduces a few more researchers that were not highlighted in the anime. The first is Shinobu Hijiri who heads a team of investigators from Chyoumei Christian Church. He has two assistants, Miki Uehara and Hideo Atsugi, and they are on the second floor conducting an exorcism when something goes wrong and Atsugi goes missing, too. If I’m interpreting this correctly, Atsugi became possessed by a spirit, and that’s why they were doing an exorcism. I’m not having much luck clarifying the expression used here with any of my dictionaries, so I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but that’s as much sense as I can make out of it.
Now down to 18 psychic researchers in the house, they all gather in the dining room at lunch and have a discussion. They prepare to form a search party and determine that Atsugi disappeared on the second floor just like Suzuki did. Naru studies the floor plan for the second floor and ponders the empty space a bit again. They also bring up concerns because a man from the previous search party disappeared when searching for Matsunuma months earlier. The monk Imura is also involved, and it comes up in the text that he is a blend of Shingon Buddhism and some esoteric teachings and that he reads sutras.
There is a detailed description of the room where Hijiri and his assistants performed the exorcism, and Mr. Oohashi is on hand to explain how it was built in previous generations. I’m unclear on which room this happens in, but they poke around a fireplace in one and perhaps find Atsugi’s remains along with an old bundle of cloth that turns out to be a jacket with a name sewn into the collar saying Miyama Charity Hospital. The Miyamas owned the house, and so they wonder what it means. Naru also finds an old bank note in the coat with the following words written across it:
The rest of the chapter consists of more consultation with Mr. Oohashi and Madoka Mori returning with information on the hospital and the Miyamas. Again, there are a ton of names and confusing details regarding the house’s history, but this is the first mention of one of the Miyama’s earlier relatives, a man named Kaneyuki Miyama, the key figure in the history of the house that is connected to the hauntings. They decide they need to get into the secret room, and they work on the strange text they found earlier on the bank note.
I’m going to stop there. This section of the text forms a nice parallel between the two disappearances, searches and reveals with Madoka’s two reports. We’ll finish the last four chapters next time.
On a language note, it looks like they call Masako Miss Doll in places (人形さん,ningyo-san), but I don’t really know why that is. It’s kind of cute nickname, and maybe that makes sense given the way she’s drawn in the anime.
Part three of a four part series.