One of the cooler things about summer in Japan is the centuries-old tradition of swapping ghost stories. Some argue that the fear induced by a spine-chilling story can actually lower one's body temperature, making it a great way to deal with the summer heat. With this in mind as the summer heat sets in, here is "Severed Mouth Woman," a video produced by Buildup as part of their Bizarre Creatures of Japan series.
The video recounts the well-known story of the severed-mouth woman (kuchisake-onna), a malicious blade-wielding lady with a slit mouth (which she keeps hidden behind a surgical mask) who is bent on cutting open the mouths of strangers. Apparently a modern interpretation of an old Heian period legend, this tale sparked a mass panic in Japan in the late '70s and early '80s, as news reports circulated about a slit-mouthed woman terrorizing neighborhoods across the country. In this video, produced more than two decades after the hysteria passed, a former coroner comes forward with details about the severed-mouth woman's identity. Using old skeletal records, her head is reconstructed here.
Enjoy, stay cool and... Brylcreem, Brylcreem, Brylcreem!