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Scary stories to bring home with you – Halloween 2017

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A trip overseas is never complete without bringing home some stories to tell your friends.  SO, in the spirit of Halloween, we’ve decided to put together some of the most popular and scary stories/urban legends from our study abroad locations.





We know that Japanese scary movies are some of the best in the horror genre and have even been remade into popular Hollywood films. Japanese horror stories usually have a reoccurring theme where a spirit, usually a yurei has a grudge, and or will ask you a question, ultimately giving you the option of death or escape. When it comes to scary stories, Japan really knows its stuff.  Here are two scary stories that gave us chills!

The story of Oiwa

Yotsuya Kaidan is said to be one of the most well known Japanese scary stories. Its been adapted for film at least 30 times and is said to be the inspiration behind the popular films The Grudge and The Ring.Oiwa, The Grudge, Japan, Tokyo, The Ring, YMCA Global Study, travel, spooky, halloween, scary, horror movies, yurei

It follows the story of a young woman called Oiwa and her evil husband Tamiya Lemon, an ex-samurai.

Although the story has many versions the most popular one follows as such:
Oiwa is a young woman who is married to the evil Tamiya Lemon. Although Oiwa is happy and in love with her husband, Tamiya finds himself sick of poverty and bored of his wife. He seduces his rich neighbour’s daughter and they form a plot to murder Oiwa by poisoning her. Although Oiwa is badly disfigured by the poison, she ultimately dies from a broken heart and the shock of her husband’s evil deeds.

On Tamiyas wedding day, as he lifts his new bride’s veil he is shocked to see Oiwa’s disfigured face and beheads her, in reality beheading his new wife.
Oiwa continues to haunt Tamiya, driving him to madness and depending on what version you find, he succumbs to suicide or is killed by Oiwa’s brother.
It is said that Oiwa’s story is cursed and it is a tradition for any directors/principal actors to make the pilgrimage to her actual grave – at a temple in Sugamo, Tokyo for blessings. Urban legend says that injuries and dangers follow those who don’t!

Teke Teke

Teke Teke is the story of a girl who was pushed in front of a train and sliced in half. Some say she was bullied and fell onto the tracks as a result of that, others say that she was pushed by an impatient man. Regardless of how it happened, she is said to haunt train stations and railway tracks and (this is so creepy but lol worthy) gets her name from the scratching, scuttering noise she makes when she drags her mangled torso with her hands and elbows.
She likes to trick people by resting on windowpanes or behinds countertops so you think that she’s a regular ol gal and nec’ minute she’s scuttering towards you down the empty platform

Oiwa, The Grudge, Japan, Tokyo, The Ring, YMCA Global Study, travel, spooky, halloween, scary, horror movies, yurei, teke teke, schoolgirl
To escape her you must answer her two questions correctly, if you don’t, she slices you in half.




Scotland is notoriously known to have many hauntings due to its dark history. Although we had many to choose from, here are two TRUE stories that just kept popping up.

Burke and Hare murders

Perhaps Scotland’s more infamous serial killers, William Burke and William Hare committed at least 17 murders with the help of Burke’s mistress, Helen McDougal and Hare’s wife, Margaret Laird. The corpses were then sold to Dr Robert Knox, a renowned lecturer on human anatomy.

It is said that Hare was introduced to this means of making money when an indebted lodger died on him and Hare received  £7.10 for dropping the body off to Knox. Since then, Burke and Hare began luring unsuspecting people to their lodge and killing them. Their list of victims consisted of drunks, tramps, the elderly and on some occasions, children.YMCA Global Study, Scotland, Edinburgh, travel, spooky, halloween, scary, Burke and Hare, Murder, Burke and Hare murders
They were exposed when a suspicious lodger, who began snooping around discovered the body of their last victim, Margaret Docherty, and called the police. The case drew much attention and often mobs o
f people were found outside the court, demanding justice. Initially there wasn’t enough evidence against them nor any witness to testify against them; however, this changed when Hare confessed to his part of the crime and gave evidence against Burke; saving himself from the death penalty. Burke was sentenced to death, his body was publicly hung and then later given to Edinburgh University to be dissected (oh the irony). His body was publicly dissected in the anatomy theatre.

Here’s a snippet from their Wikipedia page,
“Police had to be called when large numbers of students gathered demanding access to the lecture for which a limited number of tickets had been issued. A minor riot ensued but calm was restored only after one of the university professors negotiated with the crowd that they would be allowed to pass through the theatre in batches of fifty, after the dissection. During the procedure, which lasted for two hours, Monro dipped his quill pen into Burke’s blood and wrote “This is written with the blood of Wm Burke, who was hanged at Edinburgh. This blood was taken from his head”.[131]”

His skeleton was given to the Edinburgh’s medical school where it still remains to this day, and just when you think it doesn’t get creepier, a book bound with his SKIN can be found at the Surgeons Hall museum.
Interestingly enough, Dr Knox was not prosecuted for his dealings with Burke and Hare, it was suggested that his greed for success made him turn a blind eye to the murders. He resigned from his position and eventually left Edinburgh after being alienated by his university peers.

The ghost of Sir George Mackenzie


Otherwise known as Bloody Mackenzie, his grave is located at the back of Greyfriars Kirkyard in the Black Mausoleum.
Heres of a photo of the Black Mausoleum JUST incase you were wondering what it looked like. (Creepy af)
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History tells us that Sir George Mackenzie was a highly accomplished and well-educated man, a loving husband and a caring father, so far so good right? 

Being Lords Advocate to King Charles II,  George Mackenzie was responsible for the Covenanters prisoners of war and subjected them to inhumane torture, starvation, exposure and beheading. He was responsible for the death of at least 18,000 people. Yet somehow he managed to keep this sadistic side hidden from his family.

It is said that in 1999, a homeless man broke into the Black Mausoleum to take shelter from the rain. While he was there, he ransacked the place to find something valuable, when he came across Mackenzie’s casket. Out of curiosity, he tried to pry it open but the floor gave in below him and he fell into a pit that was filled with the decaying bodies of plague victims that were carelessly buried in a mass grave. The man was filled with terror and fled, passing a man walking his dog who upon reaching the tomb claimed the doors had been “blasted off”.

They say that this intrusion disturbed the evil spirit within and since then over 500 ghostly attacks have been reported by those who wander near or pass by the tomb. These reports include burns, broken fingers, bruises, the feeling of hair beings pulled, being punched or kicked and even being choked. One woman was found passed out at the entrance of the tomb with bruising around her neck. Some have also reported hallucinations, smells and the feeling of being followed. The tomb is now heavily vaulted with a solid steel chain and a large padlock to keep people out (and safe).
In 2000, a minister named Colin Grant performed an exorcism on the graveyard which was unsuccessful. He went to claim that he was unable to finish as he was overwhelmed by the tormented souls of the dead and an evil presence. Its recorded that he died of an unexpected heart attack a week later. Many claim this was the result of challenging the Bluidy Mackenzies malevolent spirit.
Click here to read the whole story.

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