As if 2022 wasn’t already a tumultuous year with deadly flooding in Australia and Russia's invasion into Ukraine, it seems like there is another problem on our hands.
Japan’s ‘killing stone’, said to kill anyone who comes into contact with it, has split into two.
Legend has it that the large stone contains the corpse of Tamamo-no-Mae, a beautiful woman who was part of a plot to overthrow and kill Emperor Toba, who reigned from 1107-1123.
According to the myth, her true identity was an evil, nine-tailed fox whose spirit is captured inside the volcanic rock.
It can be found in Tochigi prefecture, near Tokyo, which is famous for its sulphurous hot springs.
The stone split in the past few days and a passerby snapped an image of the tourist attraction sitting in two pieces.
The picture has since gone viral on social media as many are terrified that the evil spirit has been released.
John Faltin took to Twitter and wrote: “Japanese killing stone that was rumored to hold a 9 tailed Fox demon has been broken. My guess is the demon is going to look around at 2022 and want to go back into the rock for another millennium.”
Nick B. Nassiri wrote: “And here I thought 2022 couldn't get worse. Now a furious Japanese spirit is freed from its 'killing stone'."
While another user wrote: “'Evil Japanese spirit released from containment stone' was not on my 2022 BINGO card.”
The ‘killing stone' has served as a muse for many artistic projects as it appeared in Matsuo Basho’ work The Narrow Road to the Deep North and has inspired a Noh play, a novel and an anime film.
Head of a local volunteer guide group Masaharu Sugawara, told the Yomiuri Shimbun the splitting of the stone was a ‘shame’ given it’s a symbol for the area and a popular tourist attraction but said that nature had taken its course.
It’s yet to be decided what will happen to the infamous stone, as government officials will be meeting to discuss the rock’s fate.
Some have said they would like to see the stone restored to its original form.
And if it does, make sure you purify your soul with a hot spring bath just before!Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Alamy