For centuries, rumors have circulated in Japan about a ghost story so horrific that people die of fright soon after hearing it.
The dreadful tale — known as “Cow Head” — appears to date back at least to the early 17th century. Several known written accounts from this era make reference to the awful story, but they merely mention its title and describe it as a tale too terrible to tell.
The actual details of the story remain a mystery to this day, because those with the misfortune of knowing it usually do not live long enough to repeat it. According to the rumors, most people who read or hear the story are overcome with a fear so great that they tremble violently for days on end, until they die.
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