I recently found out that May is Mental Health Awareness month. I know quite a few people who struggle with mental health whether they deal with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.. Helping people feel less judge when they seek help is something we as a society really need to work on. As a paranormal investigator, part of the investigation is actually trying to determine if the client is dealing with a mental health issue or a paranormal one.
Last week, my friend, Mathew, and I went to see La Llorona. I was really excited to see this movie because its a part of the Conjuring series and because of the story it's based on. I don't know if I had my expectations set too high for the movie but I walked away from the movie feeling slightly disappointed. I don't know much about Mexican culture or a ton about the La Llorona lore (what I know is what you saw in my post about La Llorona) but even I could tell that a good bit was doused in Hollywood magic. As for a horror film, it was more humorous than scary. The one thing that I did like about the movie is that it touched on some traditional Mexican rituals that I haven't seen in many movies before. It intrigued me to look more into them but the more I researched, the more I was drawn to one ritual in particular.
I can't tell you what my first horror film was but I can remember my first Japanese horror movie. The one that launched a life long semi-obsession with them. That movie was the Japanese version of The Ring. My friend, Nicole, let me borrow it for a few days after we had gone to see the American version in theaters with our boyfriends. She promised that the Japanese version was a lot scary than the American version. I remember sitting in the back of my station wagon in between classes at Alamance Community College watching it on my laptop. I loved how much it scared me no matter how many times I watched it. Unlike the American version, the Japanese version actually went into why the spirit was trying to kill everyone. It made it seem more realistic and believable. Most Japanese horror movies I have since watched were similar in scare factor and explaining why the hauntings happened in a believable manner.
While in Japan, I happened to learn about a couple of odd ghost or demon summoning games. These games are often played by middle school and high school girls. Hearing about these games made me think about how we use to play Bloody Mary growing up. They were odd games meant to scare us and test our bravery. I guess summoning creepy ghosts in the bathroom is a rite of passage for all kids around the world.
As a teenager, I remember playing different games with my friends trying to figure out what our futures held. We used drawn games like M*A*S*H to figure out if would live in a mansion with Devon Sawa and our 9 kids or shack with the nerd from math class and a dog. We would also spend hours making cootie catchers that would need folded and unfolded to reveal a fortune or compliment. Sometimes we would even use our necklaces as pendulums to divine a message from a board we had written before class started. This was long before I knew what pendulums really were or understood that these practices could be a form of magic casting. To us, these were just games to pass a boring class or to play during a sleepover. Recently though I have learned about games that are similar that are played around the world.
It seems appropriate to be writing of this first spirit as snowflakes are currently swirling around my house. The cold, whiteness outside does seem magical to a Southern girl like me and I can start to understand why stories like the one I am writing about came to be. While I don't think I will be visited by any spirits in this storm (or the one that may come next weekend), this storm is setting the correct mood for this topic. Before I continue, go grab something warm to drink like coffee or hot chocolate. Yuki-Onna may be returning today and I would hate for you to freeze while you were reading this post about her.