Speed Reads

just what we need

An ancient demon spirit may be loose in Japan

A volcanic rock known as the "killing stone," which legend says contained a demonic spirit and killed anyone who touched it, was found split in two in Japan on Monday, The Guardian reports.

According to The Guardian, "the Sessho-seki, or killing stone" is said to have contained "the transformed corpse of Tamamo-no-Mae, a beautiful woman" — legends say she was actually a kyūbi no kitsune or nine-tailed fox spirit — who participated in a secret plot "to kill Emperor Toba, who reigned from 1107-1123."

After her true form was revealed, the stories say, she was "hunted down by the famous archers Miura no Suke and Zazusa no Suke" and, after being mortally wounded by their arrows, hid her spirit in the rock, a document provided by the University of California, Irvine explains.

Per The Guardian, "local media said cracks had appeared in the rock several years ago, possibly allowing rainwater to seep inside and weaken its structure." A photo shared on Twitter showed the fractured stone. Japanese officials will reportedly "meet to discuss the stone's fate."