Fatal Frame II Director, Makoto Shibata
Now I can tell you... what happened when we were making this game...
Various unbelievable things happened during the making of the first game (see here). Naturally, I am constantly asked whether something happened on Fatal Frame 2 as well, but all I have been able to do is ambiguously respond, "Yes, lots of things..."
There were, of course, several small things. When we were doing voice recording for a cutscene, a really quiet voie of a girl saying, "Brother..." was recorded. It was overlapping the line, so we couldn't remove it. It's still in there, so maybe if you turn up the volume you might be able to hear it...
A really realistic moaning voice that we didn't put in ended up in one of the Spirit Stone Radio files. The first time I heard it I was delighted at the amazing job the sound manager had done, but they said timidly to me, "I didn't make that sound. I spent all of last night trying to remove it, but it wouldn't disappear..." It's alright to use the real thing, though, so we left it in.
Aside from those, an incredibly serious incident happened to me.
All of the spiritual phenomena so far have happened at the place where the game is being made. This means that they primarily occur at the office, but this one happened at the place where I live.
I still have the diary of the day when the woman appeared for the first time.
That day, XX/XX (Friday) 2002, I think I went to bed at around 2:30 AM. That night I had rented a lengthy movie, around three hours long, called Magnolia. Perhaps because I had just watched that I was ruminating on all kinds of things, and couldn't sleep even after lying in my futon for some time. Even when I snuggled deep into my futon and forced my eyes shut, I didn't feel sleepy at all. It was a particularly cold day, and my face was so cold that it smarted.
Unable to sleep I opened my eyes, and before my eyes floated something that looked like a white, faintly glowing stick.
I didn't know what it was, but it rushed towards me and finally I could clearly see its shape. It was a right hand extending from beside me. The hand's palm was towards me, moving to cover my eyes.
Both of my hands were inside the futon. Which meant...
"Waaaah!" (My voice was so panicked that it even amuses me.)
Trying to escape from the hand, I instantly leapt from my futon and ran from my room to the sink. (What a reaction speed, even if I do say so myself!) Taking refuge at the sink, I timidly peered into the room and saw a faint white glow in the place where I had been sleeping. Straining my eyes, I could see that a slender woman with shoulder-length hair was lying prostrate with her face on my pillow. Maybe because I didn't have my glasses on, or because she was so faint, she looked like she could have been wearing either white Japanese clothes or a white dress.
What was it? The inside of my nose prickled, and I was damp with sweat.
The woman still lay in my futon, not moving an inch. Thinking that at any time she could get up and turn towards me, I stared straight at her. I held my own for 10, 20 seconds, perhaps even a minute.
My mind had gone blank from the sudden happening, but I suddenly came back down to earth. That's right - I should turn on the light.
I reached for the light switch and turned it on... but nothing happened. The futile click of the switch as I pressed it echoed around, but the woman kept her face on the pillow, motionless. (This is the only part I don't understand. Even if the woman was a hallucination, this is the only part I can't explain. I digress, but even though the lights in the entrance and my room didn't go on, for whatever reason the bathroom light did.)
When cornered like this, people do things that don't really make much sense, so I shouted furiously in misplaced anger, "What the hell is this!? Don't freak me out like that!" and the white woman vanished, as if melting into the surroundings.
For some reason the lights in the room turned on and, of course, no one was there. It was painfully quiet.
This time around I noticed her because I happened to open my eyes, but what would have happened if I hadn't? The hand would have rushed over, and then... When I thought about it, I was afraid of sleeping in the room.
Some time ago, a phenomenon occurred where I found a woman's hair in my room and inside my bag. Was it hers? Maybe I just hadn't noticed before, and the woman was always beside me...
Anyway, I had to tell someone about this... I picked up my mobile phone, and the clock read 3:27. Surely no one would be awake at this time? Not many people would be glad to suddenly be told about something like this, either. In the end, though, I tried calling one of the staff. I only got their answerphone...
Afterwards, I played Sega's Shinobi, watched videos I had been storing and browsed the net until the morning.
It had been the first time that I had properly seen one of these "impossible" things while I was wide awake. My mind had been so clear that I could immediately get away, and truly witnessed it. It hadn't been only momentary, either, but I had been able to see the woman from different angles.
What was important was that I had reaped something from this incident. First of all, the sensation when I touched the ghost. When I was fleeing from the hand it had only brushed my cheek, but I did feel it. It felt as though I had touched a mass of water vapour, like entering the clouds when you're driving on top of a mountain.
Next was the sound. When I was touched by the hand, I heard a small, high-pitched noise. It was a high frequency shriek mixed with voice-like breathing.
What I only realised later was that I should have taken a photo of the woman why she was sleeping with my digital camera!
To get past 3:27 when I saw the ghost yesterday, I played games and watched movies and somehow many it past 4:30. Afterwards, I was scared so I put on a small orange light and closed my eyes. Perhaps the wind was strong, because a breeze was seeping in from somewhere and blowing my face gently. When I closed my eyes, however, the wind suddenly ceased. "Could it be...?" I wondered, and kept my eyes open, when suddenly the TV snapped on. Jumping, I looked over, and for a moment it showed a white image before the power abruptly went off.
This frightened me, of course, so in the end I played Clock Tower 3 until the morning. I finished it. Then watched more videos.
What I learned that is when it's bright, or there's music playing, or I'm watching TV, it doesn't come (right now).
My spiritual experiences up until this point had all had some possible explanation, like, "Maybe I was half asleep," "I was tired," "Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me," or, "I was young," but the thing I saw this time was so clear. I've had several experiences with ghost, but I've never seen them this clearly before.
But it's so scary when they appear normally when I'm relaxed. When I come home, I always feel like someone's watching me and I can't relax. Of course, when I'm busy I usually sleep at the office, which actually felt safer.
When we were making Fatal Frame 1, there were several incidents where I found long hair lying in my room. The cause of this had become clear...
The "unbelievable phenomena" continued...
A diary from another day...
Around 4 AM, I awoke when my hand was suddenly grabbed tightly.
I knew that the fingers belonged to a fairly slender person, but it was too dark to see.
I had been sleeping on my side with both hands lying around my chest, but the hand was clearly grabbing me from above through the opening in the futon. This should be the part where I say, "Then I opened my eyes and someone's arm was there..." but, unfortunately, there was nothing.
Guessing from the feeling, the fingers were slim and the hand was small. It seemed like it belonged to a petite woman or a child, but it had been unusually strong. Not only that, but besides the fingers being cold, they gradually grew stronger.
"Ouch, ouch," I said loudly, trying to look inside the futon, and I felt the hand swiftly draw back. The sensation was so clear that I found feel the fingers pulling away.
Looking inside the futon, nothing was there. The feeling of those fingers lingered until the following day.
For a few days after that, the elbow of the hand that had been grabbed hurt. The pain grew gradually stronger, travelling to my shoulder. The pain in my shoulder lasted for about a week.
I spent my days for a while afterwards in fear. More than anything, I had a bad feeling about the way that the phenomena always happened around 3:26 AM. They didn't happen every day, but when the time came around I would get weirdly antsy.
Then Fatal Frame 2's development reached its peak, and I hardly went home, but I stopped seeing the woman. She didn't appear even when I was at home.
Then, I recalled something. Perhaps I imagined it, but for some reason she never showed up when I had used Febreze in my room. Febreze, which takes away bad odours, and ghosts... Maybe ghosts didn't want to come to my room when the air was clean... Or maybe ghosts lurk in the stagnant air or odours... Had I made a really important discovery?
I have no scientific evidence, of course, but based on this hunch I posted, "I recommend that those who are troubled by ghosts try spraying Febreze in their room," on the office notice board, after which I became a little bit famous as "the man who exorcised a ghost using Febreze".
Maybe I felt quite a lot safer after this.
"Since you made your spiritual experiences into a game before, maybe the ghost is coming to you and saying, "Put me in a game, too!"?"
"Since it appears differently each time, it must be quite dedicated to providing good service. That will help."
"Will you be making a game where you exorcise spirits using Febreze next? Use red Febreze! Haha!"
"The punchline must be that you actually had a woman in your room, right?" (← I disagree)
"If you don't conduct a purification, it'll just come back!" (← I disagree)
and more... The "unbelievable phenomenon" is becoming a thing of the past now, and everyone's reactions have turned into a joke.
However, once the game was released and I began to spend more time at home, even though I have been using Febreze (lately I have started using morijio as well) it began to appear again...
For some reason, I can't sleep. Since then, whenever it seems like something is going to happen, I've started feeling something like a vague premonition. The area around my nose and cheeks gets oddly cold. Always, in a dark, empty corner of the room, I feel something approaching with a really heavy presence.
Today, trying to sleep I forced my eyes shut, and felt cold air drifting towards me. "Could it be?" I thought and inadvertently opened my eyes, and there it was.
About one metre directly above me, a woman in white was floating in the air and looking down at me. Her hair was hanging down.
Her face was shadowy (maybe ghosts don't have one at all), and I couldn't see it. What was notable about her was the pose she took as she floated, arms extended horizontally and both knees bent, left hand facing up, right hand down. Her pose resembled that of a dancing Haniwa figure I had seen long ago in a textbook. I don't think it had any significance, though...
When I thought about it afterwards, my reaction was shameful. Without thinking, I said, "Huh?" a little stupidly. After that, she woman silently vanished.
This is how the "unbelievable phenomena" have progressed.
Not only that, but even though I used to have stiff shoulders, since then they've felt really heavy. I can't see this being resolved with Febreze, so I think I'm going to leave soon.
There's also a ghost in the game that is based on the prostrate, motionless ghost that appeared in my room. Please look for it...