Updated: Mar 1, 2021
[The below is a print out of an email]
From:Kaito Tanaka < Kaito.Tanaka@[REDACTED] >
Sent: 20 June 2004 01.13
To: ‘ Dr Price’ < DrPrice@[REDACTED] >
Subject: Re: Mass death
I feel I wasn’t clear in my last response. I did not mean to imply that sites of mass death mean a greater likelihood of the supernatural. On its own sheer quantity seems to be of little importance. I have found more evidence of paranormal activity at the house of a single murder than in a town where a mudslide has killed hundreds.
The prime determining factor instead seems to be intent, an element that outweighs numbers and even violence almost every time. As tragic and brutal as it may be, thousands dying in an avalanche are merely the unfortunate victims of an accident. I suspect that it would take a particular type of soul to hold a grudge against nature.
But murder, or any calamity brought about by corruption, greed or selfishness is quite another matter. Add sufficient weight of numbers and you have something powerful. It taints a place, like the anger, fear and misery permeate into the very rock. It binds things there and makes them want to lash out. I suppose you’d call it evil.
As to whether it’s ghosts that haunt these places or something else is still to be determined.
Concentration camps initially seemed to be a logical place to carry out further research but I quickly discovered that this was not the case. So many of them have been transformed into museums and are visited too frequently by people in philosophical moods. I theorise that this has a diluting effect over time, which suggested that somewhere more isolated might yield a better quality of data.
I originally investigated the site of the Nishapur train disaster out in Iran. It caused the death of over 300 people and destroyed an entire village. However, the strangeness of that episode warrants its own dedicated report that I shall submit to you later.
I eventually found a suitable example in China. A colliery, taken over by the Japanese in the 30s that developed a pattern of horror even before the disaster itself. I suspect the Japanese treatment of the Chinese is something that I have always distanced myself from, always having felt more American than Japanese, but you will undoubtedly already know many stories of the abuse and cruelty that came out of that time. This was no different: Chinese citizens and prisoners forced to work under foul conditions with insufficient clothing, victims of starvation, disease and violence.
So far, no different. However, during the 40s an explosion tore through the mine. Following the disaster, relatives of those left inside were prevented from making rescue attempts by the Japanese guards. They went as far as erecting electric fences to keep them out. Then they shut off the ventilation to the mine and sealed it. It was officially deemed an attempt to curtail the fire… but they proceeded without first evacuating the miners. It is estimated that only a handful had died in the initial explosion. Most were killed by carbon monoxide, trapped underground and suffocating in the dark.
Records suggest that over 1,500 people died.
Cruelty and mass death. Perfect, in other words, for our purposes.
I made my first visit to the location on Thursday. Of course, I could not access the mine itself, but I did not believe that I would need to. The site alone would likely be enough. I took some readings, which you will find attached, but it was largely unnecessary… the feeling of the place, Price, I can’t describe. There is an awful air – something like a lingering smell but I doubt it’s as mundane as that. Tangible enough that people avoid the area, though, even during the day. And a feeling of weight, as if you are heavier when you walk, finding yourself stooping for no reason.
I resolved to return at night, when there would be less noise from the nearby towns. I took a number of microphones with me and placed them in a variety of locations over the ground. I recorded for several hours, sitting in silence, just listening.
With my own ears, I can’t say I heard a great deal, so I took to listening through the headphones. At first I thought I was to have as little luck with them.
But as I sat there in the cold and the dark with my eyes drifting shut, I fell into an almost meditative state. It was as if I was able to tune in to something different, somewhere other.
I have attached the recordings for your perusal, and you may be able to make more sense of the details than I could. I am unfamiliar with Mandarin, but I believe that you are a master of many tongues. Regardless, I did not need to know the words to understand the meaning.
Cries of despair are such a distinct sound. People who have truly lost hope, consumed by their own terror, have barely anything human about them anymore. The deeper I listened, the louder the voices became, and clearer – so frightened, so angry, emanating from under the ground.
Excitement flooded through me and I actually found myself saying out loud, “I hear you”. I said it in Japanese, oddly, rather than English and immediately felt a little foolish. Surely they could not hear me.
This was followed by a momentary loss of sound, a brief lull in the voices. I adjusted the settings on my equipment and tried to settle myself back into that trance state.
As I drifted back to those ghostly sounds of the past, I thought they seemed a little different. Lower, maybe, with more anger now than fear.
And then I realised there was another sound.
Can you hear it? It is clearest on the third recording, something like scratching and the sound of metal on earth. I would not have thought the miners lived long enough to attempt to dig their way out, but I can’t think what else it could be. Maybe it is not a ghostly echo, but something else?
Perhaps you will have a better idea.
I was unable to record more that night, as I was subsequently encouraged to move on by local law enforcement, but I felt that I had collected as much data as I could hope for.
I shall email you again tomorrow with my findings on Nishapur. I’ll sign off now, as the wind is getting up outside. A storm must be building because it sounds almost like screaming and I must see to the windows and doors which are banging fit to break.
We shall speak soon.
[There are two notes in the margin, scribbled in pen. The first says “The fool called them to him”.
The second says “Need to send someone else to Nishapur”.]