The Japanese have some of the craziest and most exciting monster legends out there. I mean, seriously, if you like weird and awesome, yea, they’re great.
The Gashadokuro is a yokai from Japan. It’s a giant skeleton that roams the countryside at night. Their teeth chatter and a sound of rattling bones emanates off them if there’s no prey around or they’re unaware a person is present. But, if the monster notices a human nearby, it becomes eerily silent, able to sneak up on someone with incredible speed and stealth despite their massive size. A Gashadokuro pops up out of nowhere. For example, a person could be standing on a balcony looking out into the night, turn around, and when they look back, the eyeless sockets of a giant skull be there looking at them.
In this monster legend, the creature stalks its prey anywhere and everywhere, basically hunting any human they randomly come across. Though, for the most part, the monster hunts lone travelers on the road. A Gashadokuro reaches out and picks up unsuspecting victims with their giant skeletal hands and crushes them slowly. Then the monster bites off the victim’s head and tips them above their gaping maw to drink their blood as if drinking from a cup.
However, the Gashadokuro do not perform this horrific act because they need to feed. They only murder humans because they enjoy it. When they’re done, the victim’s bones are absorbed into the Gashadokuro, which increases its size.
The creation of these malevolent nightmares is esoteric and sorrowful. The monster is made from the bones of people who have died from starvation, the bodies of soldiers left to rot on some forsaken battlefield, or people who died in the wilderness.
Unable to receive proper funeral rights, or souls too traumatized to move on, these people become hungry revenants who much covet the living. The horrible way in which they died echoes eternally with the emotions they felt remaining strong long after the flesh has rotted away from their bones. These tormented souls are slaves to an overwhelming grudge against the living. The bones of hundreds of dead gather together and merge into one another who share in this evil obsession, and turns them into a Gashadokuro.
The oldest known legend of the Gashadokuro goes all the way back a thousand years. It tells of the tale of a rebellion, whose leader had a powerful sorceress as a daughter. When the warlord died, his daughter continued the resistance. She used her dark magic to summon a Gashadokuro and attack an important city, which utterly terrorized its occupants and destroyed their morale. The giant bone monster was used for crushing the enemies of the sorceress utterly.
The Gashadokuro were much more commonly seen in Japan back in the days of eternal war, famine, and violent murder. In modern times there usually isn’t enough tormented souls to form a Gashadokuro, which is good because they’re unstoppable and impossible to defeat. This monster only ceases to be once the negative energy that created it has burnt out like a candle, and the only real way to defend yourself against a Gashadokuro is not to travel or wander around the countryside at night.