Ghost story writer Hirokatsu Kihara has been interested in the supernatural ever since he was young. As a Guest of Honor at FanimeCon 2023, the writer recounted during a panel his first paranormal encounter.
Kihara was in middle school, when he went camping in the mountains with his friend. It was a very rainy night. While inside their tent, they heard the click clacking of heels from outside. To confirm what they had heard, the pair zipped open the tent and saw a woman with long black hair in a white dress and red heels, approaching them. Despite the rain, her hair and clothes weren’t getting wet. In fear, they zipped the tent back up. Luckily, she carried on walking past the tent. However, they realized the path she was taking would lead her to a cliff. The pair thought she might be in danger, so they called out to her, informing her of the cliff ahead. Yet, she paid no mind to their words. In a panic, they ran after her to warn her. Although she was only walking, it was strange that no matter how fast they ran, they couldn’t catch up to her. As she stepped off the edge, she somehow was able to continue walking on air, while the click clack of her heels could still be heard with each step. And then she suddenly disappeared into the distance. They could barely believe what they had seen.
This experience would inspire Kihara to learn more about the supernatural. For the past 35 years, the writer has been documenting inexplicable, eerie stories. This journey has brought him all around the world, including over 30 visits to California. One of these visits included a trip to San Jose’s Winchester House.
In a conversation with APA, Kihara shared his experience at the Winchester House: “It’s a pretty special place in the U.S. It’s one of the few places where you feel like there really are ghosts that live in that house.” The Winchester House offered a variety of tours, and naturally, Kihara opted for the long version in order to experience it to the fullest. Feeling a little mischievous, he strayed away from the guided tour to do a little exploring of his own. He reasoned, “No matter where I am, I’m sure I’ll figure out how to get back to where I need to be.” Kihara proudly mentioned that he’s usually good at finding his way around unfamiliar places. Inside the house, he looked around and took some photos, but when he tried to return to the group, he strangely couldn’t find his way, ended up at a crosspoint and realized, “Oh my god, I’m lost.” But then, something unusual happened: “A light shone through a window from outside, as if showing me the path back.” And with that, he rejoined the group, while the tour guide had no idea he even left the group. He shared, “Again, I realized how crazy and creepy the Winchester House is. It was amazing to visit a place I’ve known about since I was young, but it’s too bad that I didn’t get the chance to meet a ghost when I was there.” While this particular visit didn’t include a ghost encounter, Kihara remains committed, if not further spurred, to continue to explore the paranormal. When we suggested a second visit to the Winchester House for a late night flashlight tour around Halloween, Kihara gleefully responded that he would love to visit if he could come back around that time. Maybe he’ll have more to share about his next visit to the Winchester House.