Spirit of wrath and vengeance. Onryō appear as ghosts showing the clothes they were buried in and the wounds that killed them. The infamous Oiwa appears in a white dress with long, ragged, black hair. This is typical of a woman buried in Japan.
I must begin this story with a prayer:
Oiwa you suffered greatly. You did not deserve such brutal murder at the hands of your wicked husband. I pray for your soul.
I cannot bring myself to describe the Onryō without mention of you, the most legendary of your kind. Though the story is disturbing, I must ask your blessing to tell the tale. It is my professional obligation as the collector of great creatures.
I understand that the proper way to ask is at your gravesite in Tokyo. Right now I cannot make the trip, so hear my vow: I will travel to Japan in this life. When I arrive, I will seek out your grave and bestow upon it the greatest blessing that I can muster. This I swear I will do.
In Japan, ghosts are known as yūrei. They share much in common with the Western understanding of ghosts. They are the souls of people who died suddenly, or under acts of violence. The souls of people with an unfinished task on this earth. They appear as faint, translucent entities in the form in which they died. They will be wearing the clothes they were buried in, such as a white burial kimono. You will often see the wound that killed them. They are usually bound to a specific location.
Yūrei are usually harmless, though a very dedicated soul is capable of causing some mischief. But there is one exception. A type of ghost that is universally feared. These people died under horrible circumstances, with fiery passion coursing through their entire being. They do not pass on but dwell on earth seeking vengeance above all else. Their vengeance is wildly out of control. They curse not only those who wronged them, but any innocent who comes near.
They are called Onryō.
This deadly grudge spirit is horribly strong. They persist on their wrath alone. Though they have the strength to immediately kill any mortal, they prefer to curse them and make the destruction a prolonged ordeal. The grudge curse targets a person and everyone around them. It spreads like mold throughout a physical place, bringing death and ruin to all who enter. It is almost impossible to banish an Onryō. Even if you find a way to lay them to rest, their curse can live on in a location for years after they are gone.
There is an Onryō who is known above all others. Her name is Oiwa and her grudge curse still exists today. Oiwa was brutally tortured and murdered by her scheming husband. Her curse is so powerful, that injuries and death may befall those who even tell her story. Darkness has permeated the very fabric of the story. Even still, many have dared to retell the story of Yotsuya Kaiden.
I have vowed to visit the grave of Oiwa. When I do, I hope to learn more about her and about the Onryō. Any further insights, especially any defensive techniques, will be recorded on Novus Bestiary. This I swear I will do.
Written by Giles Ravensong.