Originally posted on 28 October 2011
Last edited on 9 September 2015
Source: Official website

Fatal Frame III: Column #6 - 26 August 2005

Night 6, 26th of August

The director's tales that can finally be told

I had wanted to upload this article last week, but I went to the Winchester House in San Francisco for an event for Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (the American version of Zero: Shisei no Koe), so it's a week late. My apologies to anyone out there who might have been looking forward to it.

The Winchester House is a famous haunted house. The family, who found their fortune with the Winchester gun, one by one met with ill fates and Sarah, the last one left, is said to have continued making alterations to the building to confuse the ghosts of those who died by Winchester guns until her death. This place shares some similarities with the background of Fatal Frame 3, and is somewhere I wanted to go. I also thought that perhaps I might be able to add to my spiritual experiences in America, but unfortunately nothing worth noting occurred.

I went inside at night, relying on the beam of my torch, but I sensed nothing, and though it was fun to try to figure out the complicated and pointless layout, I couldn't really sense the presence of any spirits. It would be more fitting to call the place a mystery house than a haunted one.

Now, let us get to the main topic. Whenever I am interviewed about this series, what I am always asked is, "Did something happen this time, too?" By "something", naturally they mean "something unbelievable", and it seems as though they expect these things to happen each time when unbelievable things occur in a scary game.

Though it probably isn't what you would expect, we went to a purification this time so that nothing would happen. With the last game, Fatal Frame 2, something "unbelievable" occurred at my own house. That took quite a toll on me. It's not so bad when they show up at work, but I don't like it when they show up at my house when I'm relaxed. Not only that, but we worked with more companies on this game, and when I thought about the other people, too, I decided to go to a purification. However, in the end it had no effect whatsoever (so I won't state which shrine it was at), and in fact I ended up confined to my bed with a fever of more than 40°C from that day (a theory went around that I, myself, was an evil spirit).

And still, regardless, the ghostly phenomena continued. First of all is what happened when a voice actor was in the recording booth.

Visitor's Footsteps

I won't say who the voice actor was, but maybe they had a sixth sense - in any case, they were the focus of unbelievable things.

First of all, before recording began, they often said, "Um... Someone's knocking on the door." The recording booth was quite sturdy, so that no sound would come out. Even if you knocked hard, it would be impossible for the person inside to hear. Not only that, but the staff were in the listening room. There was no one standing in front of the door.

Upon attempting to ignore it and continue with the recording, they said timidly, "They've been knocking hard for quite a while now. Is everything okay?"

All of the sounds inside the recording room were recorded, but even using headphones it was impossible to hear the sound, and it wasn't recorded on the tapes, either. As the recording continued, they said, "I can hear someone walking around on the ceiling. I think it's getting into the recording..."

Naturally, even if someone had been on the floor above there was no way the sound would be caught from that location. Eventually they said that the footsteps were circling the mic, but again it didn't appear on the tape, and no one could hear it through their headphones.

If we had caught it I would gladly have used it, but this time around only the voice actor could hear the sound.

Next up is something unbelievable that happened at the house of S, the sound manager.

Impossible Shards

At our home, we have an old cupboard that was given to us by an acquaintance. The fifth of February... In the middle of the night, I awoke to a crashing sound. Startled, I put my hand to the futon as I tried to get up, when I felt a sharp pain in my fingertip. When I opened the futon and looked inside, I saw a scattering of glass shards. I couldn't immediately tell what had happened.

Of course, I had no memory of putting in the shards myself. All I could think was that someone must have opened my futon and scattered the glass shards inside.

Coming back to myself, I looked in the direction the sound had come from before and saw that one of the inlaid glass doors had fallen off and shattered on the floor. The surrounding area was covered with shards of glass. Maybe it had been loose - but I can't explain how the inside of my futon, snug up to my shoulders, had become full of broken glass...

During the development of Fatal Frame 1, there was an incident in which the glass in a bathroom suddenly shattered, but this "impossibility" surpasses even that.

Not only this, but a person from a magazine said that, after lending Fatal Frame 1 to a friend, the friend awoke in the middle of the night to a clattering sound. When they looked to where the sound was coming from the shelf was shaking, despite there being no earthquake. The moment he realised that it was the shelf he had put his borrowed copy of Fatal Frame 1 on he became frightened, and ended up returning it without having played it. This is another slight coincidence.

Speaking of the bathroom glass incident, there was another small incident that occurred afterwards. They aren't a member of staff, but this is an unbelievable thing as seen by K, head of international business.

Small Handprints

When I was still in the same building as the Zero development team, there were handprints on the wall of the women's bathroom. They were faint... about the height of one's face when sitting on the toilet - and both hands. I think the hands were smaller than mine. I thought maybe they had put their hands there when they were straining (laughs), but when you think about it, it's an unnatural stance.

The wall was a little dirty, and the handprints appeared faintly white. It seemed like only the place where the hands were wasn't as dirty. They stayed there for a while. They disappeared when the Zero development team moved to another building.

Speaking of small handprints, I've frequently heard the footsteps of a child, too. Since then I occasionally hear child-like footsteps. When I'm sleeping in the nap room I hear the pitter patter of footsteps followed by the bathroom door opening, and then the sound of someone coming out of the toilet. I didn't pay it much attention at first, but when I thought about it, the steps were so small and their coming and going from the bathroom so complex as to be strange. When I got up no one was there, and the number of entries didn't match with the number of exits.

It seems as though I'm not the only one who has heard the footsteps of a child. N, a woman on the CG team, also experienced something unbelievable.

Incessant Footsteps

When I was sleeping on the sofa in the women's locker room, I heard someone passing by. The footsteps seemed to belong to a child. I heard it over and over, and couldn't get to sleep. The footsteps seemed to be coming and going between the stairs and the hallway, even though no one should have been there between 3 and 4...

This happened several times. The cleaner comes at 5, and when they do the footsteps go away.

Someone else has heard the footsteps. An unbelievable thing that T of the CG team experienced...

Footsteps Running Around the Bathroom

It was around 11PM. As I was making coffee in the office kitchen, I suddenly heard the pitter patter of footsteps walking around inside the men's bathroom. The bathroom was dark, and there shouldn't have been anyone in there. I shouldn't be hearing anything.

The sound was too loud to be the dripping of water, and the sound matched that of regular footsteps. I was scared, so I ran back to the main floor. This honestly isn't the first time, either. I always heard it on the same floor.

Speaking of bathrooms, I recalled something else. This is the unbelievable thing experienced by M of the CG team.

Passing Shadow

This was a little while ago, but I saw something strange. I was staying overnight to work that day, and I think it was around 4 AM when I went to the bathroom.

As I was washing my hands in the bathroom I casually looked up into the mirror. That's when I saw something in the mirror. There's a vertical window in the bathroom door. On the other side, I could see something I can only describe as a red shadow pass by...

I was startled, but I didn't react right away. After a moment's delay I opened the door, but of course no one was there. I thought it might have been a reflection or something like that and had a look around, but couldn't find anything red at all.

As you can see, unbelievable things continue to occur. I have other trivial stories, too, but I'll spare you those.

Now, then, let's get back to my own story.

After ghosts started appearing in my house I moved, but since I had chosen a brand new building I stopped seeing them - at first, anyway. Later, though, they did start to appear. Oddly enough, this was after I had been to the purification...

This experience is one that really happened to me, not a story that I've heard from someone else, so I can proudly declare that it was real. Not only that, but it happened when I was wide awake, not half asleep or drunk. I encountered another one...

This happened one night a little while after going to the purification. We had entered the final stage of development, so it was my first time being home in a while and I couldn't get to sleep. Finally I put on a late night TV show and, at least starting to feel sleepy, I got into bed, using the remote to turn off the TV. The next second, as the room went silent, I opened my eyes to the sound of a loud knocking sound on the floor. Then I heard the sound of the remote going flying and landing on the carpet. As I looked over not in the direction of the sound but of the remote, I realised that something like a white pole was in front of me.

Since it was dark, and I didn't have my glasses on, it took me a moment to focus. Peering more closely, I saw that it was an arm. A white arm was dangling vertically beside my ear. It was thin and sinewy, but probably belonged to a man. Shifting my gaze to the side, I saw a clenched fist trembling there. My arm... I rubbed my hands together inside the futon. They were there. Then whose arm was this? If I followed the arm my eyes might meet with that of its owner, I thought, and, despite the bad feeling I had about it, I wasn't much of a fan of just leaving the trembling arm there, either. I don't know how much time passed. Steeling myself, I looked up to see who the arm belonged to.

There was nothing beyond the arm. To be precise, it gradually became translucent before disappearing in mid air. It was just like a character in my own game. "It's like the game," I thought with a hint of amusement, when suddenly the arm vanished as if melting into the air.

I waited for a while in terror, then turned on the light. The remote still lay there, wrong side up. For some time afterwards, I slept with the lights on.

Something happened in a newly built apartment where nothing should have. I felt a sensation akin to defeat. Wherever I went, I was going to see them.

After that, I was troubled by a strange drumming noise in the corner of the room, but the days were peaceful. I managed to sleep with the lights off again.

Around the time when development reached its end and the game's ending was in the final stages, one more decisive "unbelievable thing" happened. I'll talk about this another day. Please wait a little longer.

(Director Shibata)