Sorta-Scary Stories That Really Happened! (from Uri's blog)
A bit about my motive for creating The Crooked Man, as mentioned in the extras in-game.
I said it was based on a personal experience, but it wasn't my own.
It was my older brother's.
[NOTE: Due to similarities of the story to the game, there are spoilers for The Crooked Man. Be warned!]
My brother looks like a tough guy on the outside, but he's really a coward who's easy to influence.
He also has good manners and is kind at heart, so the people around him are fond of him.
Though as his little sister, I get bossed around a lot! ( ﾟдﾟ)
So, this brother of mine loves to travel. He started a travel club in college, and drove all over the place with his friends.
Then on one of his trips, something strange happened.
My brother had gone on a road trip with a few friends to a place in the northeast.
They checked in at the place they were staying, got dinner, and drank a lot afterward. (But my brother was the driver, so he didn't drink.)
Then suddenly, in the middle of their get-together, one of the girls spoke up with "I think something's going to come out..."
This girl always claimed to "see things," and no one could ever tell if she was being serious or making it up, but... at any rate, my brother got the feeling the girl really was scared.
Also, despite being a coward, my brother does have a great interest in the occult. He watched that whole series of "It Really Happened! Cursed Videos" (but was too scared to watch them alone, so he always needed me to hold onto), and sometimes drives out with a friend to spiritual sites. He's not bright.
Anyway, he had kind of a bad feeling about this. Apparently it was just him and the girl who felt this way, but he decided to cut the party short to get up early the next day.
Everyone went into their futons, and some time passed.
My brother had been driving for a long time, so he was quickly overcome with drowsiness, and was half-asleep.
Just as he was about to fully fall asleep, it happened.
Something cold and hand-like grabbed his ankle in the futon.
He was surprised, yelped, and jumped out.
It was loud enough to wake up his sleeping friends, so I imagine it was quite a scream.
When asked what had happened, he replied something seriously grabbed my leg!! But they just thought he was drunk. Even though he hadn't been drinking.
Unsatisfied and swept over with fear, he managed to get back to sleep.
But from the day after on, my brother was attacked by many unlucky things.
First, on the way back from his trip, there was a three-car-pileup in front of him.
Apparently he hit the brakes just far enough away that he only lightly hit the car in front, but if he had been a moment too slow he would have flown into the window and gotten badly injured.
My brother was present for three suicides. He bore witness to a suicide jumper and someone jumping in front of a train.
His nerves were apparently fairly wracked seeing brains spilled out on the ground.
He also had a relapse of hives. He was last tormented by it in middle school due to stress from clubs and studying, but it came back yet again. Before it had been due to stress, but nothing was particularly stressing him this time, so he thought it odd.
Deep inside, I wondered if something... strange (read in an occult-y voice) was following him and applying an unseen pressure. But I was silent.
Then, there was an event that critically wounded my brother.
The day of that massive quake in east Japan, it became clear my brother would have to repeat that year of school.
This was especially a problem considering he had a tentative job offer ready after graduation, and now it seemed lost.
It was quite a shock for him. I was job-hunting at the time, so even I came to think "aw, my poor brother."
So did our mom, and she gave my brother this advice.
J( 'ー`)し < With all these bad things happening lately, maybe you should talk to T?
I'll explain who T is.
...Calling him that might come off as a joke, but it just seems like a fitting name. Though he's not actually a T at all.
T is the son of a chief Buddhist priest, and he's been friends with my brother since kindergarten.
He's tall, kind, and gets asked favors by lots of people.
My brother has a ton of faith in T, and he would always talk with him if anything bad or worrying came up.
According to T, my brother was "easily haunted," and would periodically be followed by something or another. Usually it was minor stuff, so they would go away without T having to do anything. But while being haunted, bad things would happen and he would be overly anxious.
At any rate, T cordially listens to any trivial worry. He truly is like the Buddha.
Oh, and according to T, his sister (that's me!) is one of a rare few with such good fortune as to not have many hardships in life. Well, maybe.
So as mom had advised, my brother decided to explain the situation to T.
First he got out his cellphone to make an appointment. (At the time, T was already carrying out a memorial service in the sick chief priest's stead.)
I happened to be present at the time. And strangely, the phone call lasted mere seconds.
I asked what was up. My brother looked uneasy, and said that while he hadn't explained anything, he'd been told to come to the temple immediately.
I decided to refrain from saying things like "Wonder if T's mad..." and instead told him that he's in a bad situation and better get to that temple.
This was sometime past 10 PM. My brother came back at 2 AM.
He looked very excited. When I asked him for info, it went like this.
When he arrived at the temple, T was waiting for him, having his usual rough appearance and battle gear (AKA his stole).
T said to come in, and my brother was lead into the main hall without either of them explaining anything.
T sat him in the center of a large mat, and my brother was wondering what was going on. Beside him, T began some kind of ceremony.
T swung papers with drawings on them, circling around him, chanting what seemed to be sutras.
My brother was taken aback, wondering what the hell he was doing. Soon, something strange began to happen.
He suddenly got very sad.
He couldn't resist the urge to cry.
He told me he was still confused, and kept his eyes tightly shut to keep the tears from overflowing.
He wasn't sure how much time had passed, but he noticed T sitting in front of him, asking if he was okay.
Still dumbfounded, T said, you went to ___ in the northeast, didn't you?
My brother was surprised, since T shouldn't have known he went on a trip there. He asked what on earth was going on.
This is what T told him.
The moment I heard your voice on the phone, I perceived you were being haunted again.
And unlike prior cases, it's very clearly stuck to you, and refuses to let go.
So I called you to the temple to do an exorcism.
But once I had you here in front of me, I found it was a spirit with a will too strong to exorcise.
I tried to do an exorcism still, but that only got it halfway.
You're being haunted by a dead girl from the place you took a trip to.
She was from a time not too long ago, when literacy was high even among common people.
But she couldn't read. She couldn't go to school either, and she couldn't really spend time with girls like herself.
She just wanted to have fun with girls her age.
But her wish was never granted, and she died.
She was buried, but she still lived. She died in the earth, sad, bitter, wondering why her. Her hatred must have remained in that place.
Seeing you and your friends on your trip, she wanted to be with you. Because she couldn't do that in life.
You seemed the kindest of them, someone who would show sympathy, so she picked you.
She didn't mean to do anything bad to you, but she wanted to use your sympathy to bring you to her side. Thus, many unlucky things happened to you.
During the exorcism, when you wanted to cry, you unconsciously sympathized with her, and thus became very sad.
I said the exorcism only went halfway, yes? That's not because she refuses to leave you, but rather because you unconsciously accept her.
To fully expel her, you must hold a memorial service for her. You must take care of your own sympathy.
Go to ___ once more. There's an untended grave near the inn there. I'm unsure where exactly it may be, so tell the people at the inn the situation and offer flowers somewhere near the inn. And bring not only flowers, but something that will please the girl.
Go as soon as you can.
Still excited, my brother told me he was going to ___ right now.
Mom hurriedly wrapped up some flowers in her room and gave them to my brother. Then she handed some candy we had around the house. Because she figured a girl would have to like candy.
Mom was crying. She said she felt so sorry for the girl, given she was around the same age as her son and died full of regret.
I also gave him some special salad-flavor Jagariko.
My brother came back home after about a day.
He drove to ___ and went to the hotel where he'd stayed for his trip.
He told his story honestly to the innkeepers, and they were surprisingly believing. They said that there was a huge field behind the inn which could easily have an untended grave, so they thought it would be best to make an offering there.
My brother offered the flowers and candy there and joined his hands together.
With his eyes shut and hands held, he felt mysteriously happy, and soon started crying.
Since then, sinister things stopped happening around my brother, he was able to get hired by the company that was going to tentatively hire him, and now he's a working adult. The hives also calmed down, and he happily goes to work. Though he does mutter some nonsense about wanting a girlfriend.
The majority of you are probably wondering what this has to do with The Crooked Man.
Well, at first, I wanted to make this story into a game directly.
But thinking of the girl who had died, I wondered if making a game out of it would really be the best idea.
So I took the most interesting parts of the experience - I focused on the idea of being haunted due to an unconscious sympathy to make a completely different story for a game.
I had wanted to use the idea of "Going to meet someone calling me" already, so I combined it with that to make Crooked Man.
To be honest, I have a negative view of straight-up putting ghosts and stuff in games. By which I mean, if you can see them plainly, they're not scary!
That's why I wanted to make INSANITY about madness, and Paranoiac about the worry of whether you're normal or not.
But hearing my brother's experience, I've come to realize that whether you see it or not, what exists exists. I now think the point is in how it affects you, and how you respond to it.
So though the Crooked Man keeps appearing and attacking, David keeps resisting as well.
Perhaps the scariness goes away, but I guess that's just life.
And that was the impetus for creating The Crooked Man. Thank you very much for reading.