Graveyard Shift

Creepy Stories, Legends, and Backstory About the Hollow Ship  

Aaron Edwards
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Japan is no stranger to eerie tales and hearsay. The country has a rich and at times incredibly creepy mythology (if you don't believe us, look up "Harionago") that can steer the imagination to some pretty crazy places. One of those stories concerns the Hollow Ship, otherwise known as the Utsuro bune. Essentially one of the first modern accounts of a UFO from Japan, the Hollow Ship stories are strange and often baffling. 

On February 22, 1803, a strange round ship resembling a flying saucer mysteriously came to a Japanese shore. A non-Japanese woman who couldn't speak their language came out of the boat, tried to communicate with the locals who discovered her, then cast off again.

Who was this woman? Where did she come from? And why was she in a ship of such a strange design? All good questions... and nobody really has a good answer. But there are many theories and accounts, some of which are downright bizarre. 

The Ship Described Is Unlike Anything We've Heard About
The Ship Described Is Unlike A... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Creepy Stories, Legends, and Backstory About the Hollow Ship
Photo: Kyokutei Bakin/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

According to some accounts, the ship was metallic. Many thought it was constructed from iron and glass, which is pretty strange for 1803. It was shaped like a "rice cooking pot," had four windows, and was covered in black paint. The windows also apparently had bars that were clogged with tree resin.

Of course, this account is just trying to describe the boat in terms people could understand. The ship could have been made from very different materials, but there would be no way the people of the time would have known about them.

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The Woman Inside the Ship Looked Very Strange
The Woman Inside the Ship Look... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Creepy Stories, Legends, and Backstory About the Hollow Ship
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

So, this woman who was inside the ship has a pretty strange description. She was said to have pale pink skin with red hair and eyebrows. Some say she had white-frosted red hair, as if she had extensions covered in white powder. One thing is for certain: she wasn't from the immediate area of Japan. 

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Some People Think She Was an Alien
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Video: YouTube

Given the strange make of her ship and her strange physical description, many believe that the woman was an alien. Rather than being a UFO, her ship would be referred to as a USO, or Unidentified Submerged Object. Perhaps her ship was an escape pod of some kind? Is the big ship still out there somewhere in a crash site at the bottom of the ocean?

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The Woman Was Carrying a Strange Box
The Woman Was Carrying a Stran... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Creepy Stories, Legends, and Backstory About the Hollow Ship
Photo:  Daderot/Wikimedia Commons/CC0

Aside from the fact that she had some interesting physical attributes, the most curious thing about the Hollow Ship's female occupant was that she carried a box. Stories say that that the box was extremely important to her. So important, she wouldn't let it out of her hands or let anyone near it. There are some who say the box was made of wood or a pale material, but there's no way to be sure. 

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