Exorcising a Bake-Neko?
September 5, 2011 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Japanese Folklore Filter: If you believe that you are haunted by a Bake-Neko, or perhaps that someone has become possessed by one, are there accepted practices for exorcising it, according to any traditional Folklore sources?
posted by vacapinta to Religion & Philosophy (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Apparently, if you can track the spirit down you can just hack it up and kill it. This story is from The Obakemono Project:
A famous bake-neko story involves a man named Takasu Genbei, whose pet cat of many years went missing just as his mother's personality changed completely. The woman shunned company and took her meals alone in her room, and when the curious family peered in on her, they saw not a human being but a feline monster in the old lady's clothes, chewing on animal carcasses. Takasu, with much reluctance, slew what looked like his mother, and after a day had passed the body turned back into the same pet cat that had gone missing. After that Takasu miserably tore
up the tatami mats and the floorboards in his mother's room, only to find the old woman's bones hidden there, gnawed clean of flesh.
Here's the site's cite list.
posted by carsonb at 1:57 PM on September 5, 2011

In other words, there's no point exorcising according to the story because the monster will have already destroyed the being it's occupying. D= Sorry.
posted by carsonb at 1:59 PM on September 5, 2011

If you're looking for exorcism in general, this is historically done by yamabushi, mountain mystics. In terms of historical accuracy for the average Japanese person, this is probably as plausible as you could get-- nobody is familiar with the Edo period bakemono or their habits anymore (so you could reasonably ignore the story from the Obakemono Project), but yamabushi are still well-known for being powerful mystics.

Sources cited: firsthand visit to yamabushi sites in Nara prefecture; Tenrikyo foundation story; Japanese girlfriend
posted by shii at 7:36 PM on September 5, 2011

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