Skull Mushroom, Mount Osore, Japan
The Skull Mushroom is one of the most unique mushrooms only grows at the Mount Osore in Aomori Prefecture in Japan. It is called “skull” because the cap of this mushroom produces the pattern resembles a pair of human skulls in the back and front. This bizarre-looking mushroom has been used by Itako (female shamans who are also healer, and exorcist at Mount Osore) for many centuries for its magical hallucinogenic medicinal purposes and spiritual rituals. Mysteriously, unusually large numbers of skull mushrooms sprang out at Mount Osore after The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, officially named the Great East Japan Earthquake (North Eastern Japanese Earthquake, 9.0 magnitude, ) and tsunami of March 11, 2011 which caused over 15, 000 deaths in Japan. Many faithful and spiritual locals consider this extremely rare paranormal phenomena as those people killed by this earthquake reincarnated into this special mushrooms for guarding the Gate of Hell at mount Osore, so that this earthquake’s victims would all go to Budddah’s land and the Heaven. The last time when this many skull mushroom sprang out was happen in the fall of 1923, which was only a month after the Great Kantō Earthquake struck the Kantō plain on the Japanese main island of Honshū on September 1, 1923, which was the deadliest earthquake ever to strike Japan up until this year’s Tōhoku Earthquake. For this year’s Itako Taisai festival to be held at the Bodau-ji Buddhist Temple at Mount Osore on July 20, 2011, unlike previous years, extremely large number of skull mushrooms are scheduled to be used for the ritual called kuchiyose, which seasoned itako claim to summon the souls of the dead, and deliver messages in their voices for faithful followers.