Sadako lives? The true story behind Japanese horror movie “The Ring”4 min read
Theres a story about a cursed video tape, nothing too scary. It’s just a bunch of random images with the ending of a well being covered. If you watch it, you’ll get a call from a woman. She’ll whisper “Seven Days” then hang up and, from that day, you’ll have exactly one week before you die, when a woman dressed in white with long, black hair covering her face will come from the TV and kill you.
Perhaps you understand of what I speak?
This story is the basis for Koji Suzuki’s “Ringu” trilogy, and his works have been made into movies popular all around the world. In horror masterpiece internationally know as “the Ring”, the 19-year-old psychic Sadako Yamamura was brutally murder and thrown into a well in order to stop her powers from spiraling out of control.
But did you know that her story was based on a real girl named Sadako who was a psychic and lived in Japan in the early 1900s?
And it seems that her psychic ability was that she was able to project words and images onto film.
When the real Sadako was a young girl, she was very withdrawn and depressed. She seldom spoke and never played with other children, spending all of her time alone. Her mother, linked to the really existed clairvoyant Chizuko Mifune (1886 – 1911) was a gifted psychic, and she conducted several experiments with a psychic researcher, Dr Tomokichi Fukurai. Some stories depict that these experiences weren’t always pleasant and some even depict that the woman was abused. When the doctor published the results of his experiments, Dr Fukurai asked to hold a public demonstration. Other scientists who attended accused Chizuko of being a fraud and said she faked her psychic abilities. The woman was so distraught by all the criticism that she committed suicide and Sadako, devastated by her mother’s death, moved with her father to a remote island. As she grew older, she began to develop psychic powers of her own, and when her father learned of her powers, he brought her to the same Dr. Fukurai in Tokyo.
The doctor forced Sadako to participate in many experiments that involved using her mind to make words and images appear on photographic film.
In Japan, they call this “Nensha” which means Thought-photography or Thoughtography, and Sadako produced a number of these “thoughtographs”, even if nobody could explain how it was done.
When Dr Fukurai wanted to publish another book with his findings, Sadako refused. She remembered what happened to her mother, and she told the doctor she was leaving and wouldn’t return.
Nobody knows for sure what happened after that. Some people believe that the doctor murdered her. According to some accounts, he lured her out to the woods near the hospital and strangled her. Then, he threw her body down a nearby well and sealed it with large rocks to keep her hidden forever.
However, according to the legend, Sadako was not really dead and when she woke up, she was trapped in the well and couldn’t get out. She attempted to escape by scaling the walls but failed every time, breaking off her nails and fingertips in her desperate attempts. The poor girl survived in the well for seven days before she finally died with her heart full of hate, and with her last breath, she vowed to have her revenge on the world.
Sadako’s rage and terror and the manner in which she died combined with her psychic powers to create a terrible curse or “grudge”.
This resulted in a series of inexplicable images being projected onto a mysterious unmarked videotape, in which she appears as a shadowy young woman dressed in a white gown, her face covered by long black hair. They say that if you watch the video, you will die in seven days.
Apparently the only way to avoid the curse is to make a copy of the videotape and give it to somebody else…and this is also the world-famous movie plot!
In any case, except the story of Chizuko Mifune and Dr Fukurai, the rest could be just an urban legend and we will never know. But the film is really considered a horror masterpiece that deserves to be seen…