|This article is about the phenomenon in Higurashi When They Cry. For the story arc in that same series, see Onikakushi.|
|This article is about a piece of terminology in Higurashi When They Cry.|
The Series of Mysterious Deaths in Hinamizawa (雛見沢村連続怪死事件 Hinamizawamura Renzoku Kaishi Jiken, lit.Hinamizawa Village Serial Mysterious Deaths Incident), also known as Oyashiro-sama's Curse (オヤシロさまの祟り Oyashirosama no Tatari), is a phenomenon that has affected Hinamizawa annually, wherein one person dies and another one disappears, the latter of which is referred to as "demoning away" (鬼隠し onikakushi).
"Demoning away" is a term similar to being spirited away (神隠し kamikakushi), except a person is kidnapped by demons.
The concept of demoning away has long existed in Hinamizawa's legends. Hinamizawa used to be known as Onigafuchi, and its inhabitants were said to be descended from demons and would regularly suffer a hunger for human flesh. Their god Oyashiro-sama permitted them to go down to human villages and kidnap people. One person would be devoured by the villagers, and another would be submerged in the swamp to pacify Oyashiro-sama's anger, events that would form the basis of the Watanagashi Festival. The sinking of sacrifices in the swamp was interpreted as the villagers submerging Oyashiro-sama's wrath itself.
Modern Day Phenomenon
The modern day phenomenon of Oyashiro-sama's curse began after the government made plans to build a dam in Hinamizawa and flood the village. The villagers protested, declaring that Oyashiro-sama would curse anybody who defied the village, and their prayers were seemingly answered when the dam construction foreman was murdered on the night of the Watanagashi in 1979. Police investigation determined that the foreman was killed and dismembered by several other construction workers, and they managed to arrest everyone except one person. The perpetrators were all drunk and had confessed to killing the foreman after an argument, and they had dismembered the foreman and each took one of his limbs to hide them. The ringleader, who had one of the arms, was never found. The strange circumstances regarding the missing culprit and the foreman's death convinced villagers that Oyashiro-sama's curse had struck.
The next year, the victims of the curse were the Houjou couple. They had supported the dam project back when it was active and were ostracized by the village as a result. The couple had gone on vacation in a park in Shirakawa and were seen falling off of a cliff and into a river, but only the husband's body was found. Because it happened on the night of Watanagashi again, belief in the curse grew stronger.
In 1981, the third victims of the curse were the head priest of the Furude Shrine and his wife. They were indifferent to village matters during the dam war, and the husband, formerly a Shinto priest, was seen as especially unfit to lead the Furude family due to marrying into it. The head priest suddenly died from a mysterious illness one night while the wife disappeared, leaving behind a suicide note saying that she planned to submerge herself in the swamp to quell Oyashiro-sama's anger. Police investigated the swamp and found the wife's sandals near it but were unable to recover her body..
The fourth victims of the curse were Satoshi Houjou and his aunt, the latter of which was found dead with her face bashed in with a baseball bat. Satoshi had gone missing a few days later, however police claimed someone with a similar appearance to him was getting onto a train headed out of Hinamizawa. Meanwhile, a drug addict arrested by police had confessed to killing the aunt and was placed into a holding cell. It was highly likely that the addict was the culprit behind the aunt's murder, but before any more questioning could be done, he died in his holding cell from choking on a spork. Regardless, the villagers believed that it was Oyashiro-sama claiming more members of the Houjou family as victims, continuing the retribution for the Houjou couple supporting the dam project.
Kuraudo Ooishi is very dedicated to solving the mysteries behind Oyashiro-sama's curse, however he has a reputation among the villagers as "Oyashiro-sama's messenger," as he has always been seen talking to the curse victims shortly before their deaths or disappearances.
This article or section contains untagged major spoilers for the original Higurashi When They Cry and possibly the console-exclusive arcs. Readers who have not completed the main story are advised not to proceed further.
The modern-day version of Oyashiro-sama's curse is actually a ruse perpetrated by the Irie Clinic to procure subjects for research into Hinamizawa Syndrome, a parasitic virus native to the region of Hinamizawa. Symptoms manifest when an infected person develops strong paranoia, and this eventually causes them to become dangerously violent in terminal (L5) stages.
The death of the construction foreman was instigated by him becoming stressed by anti-dam protests and developing terminal symptoms. One night he angrily attacked his subordinates for drinking, and his subordinates reacted in self-defense and wound up killing him. One of the perpetrators of the incident had a previous criminal record and was afraid of being arrested, so he encouraged the other culprits to chop up the foreman's body and hide the individual parts, ensuring that they couldn't rat out the others without also turning themselves in. The workers went their separate ways but the ringleader was eventually seen by Miyo Takano, who determined that he had terminal symptoms and brought him to the clinic with the help of the Mountain Dogs. The ringleader was dissected shortly after during research, and his disappearance led the villagers to believe that Oyashiro-sama had wrought judgment.
The second year victims were killed when their daughter Satoko Houjou pushed them off of a cliff. She had issues with her parents and grew incredibly distrustful of them, developing L5 symptoms. Satoko lied that they had fallen off, unable to comprehend that she really did kill them. Because Satoko was also a terminal patient and was still alive, the Irie Clinic started research on her however Ooishi was investigating the deaths of the parents and saw some inconsistencies with witness reports. In order to stop the police from learning any more and to protect Satoko's mental state, Doctor Irie deployed the Mountain Dogs to deal with the wife's body. Because their deaths also happened around the time of the Watanagashi, the villagers believed Oyashiro-sama had struck once more and began calling it a curse.
For the third year, the Irie Clinic captured the wife to do research. It was believed that her daughter Rika Furude was the "queen carrier" for the Hinamizawa Syndrome parasites, and it could have been linked to the Furude family's long-held traditions that firstborn women were special. The clinic had told Rika's parents of the virus' existence and received permission to research Rika, however the parents decided they didn't want to assist the clinic anymore after Rika came down with a fever and were growing distrustful of the clinic. The existence of Hinamizawa Syndrome was known only to the clinic and to the Furude family, and there was concern that if the parents refused to help then they would reveal everything to the public. Takano thus had the Mountain Dogs deployed once more to dispose of Rika's parents. On the night of Watanagashi, the priest fell ill after drinking too much and was taken to the Irie Clinic for treatment, his wife accompanying him. Rika's father was then presumably poisoned and killed, with Rika's mother captured and dissected due to her being the previous queen carrier. The Mountain Dogs then forged a suicide note saying that Rika's mother drowned herself in the swamp.
In the fourth year, Satoshi had developed strong hatred towards his aunt and uncle for being abusive, developing L5 symptoms. He bludgeoned his aunt to death on the night of Watanagashi and tried to act as though nothing happened. A few days later, Satoshi went to buy a big teddy bear for Satoko's birthday and called Irie to help bring it home. When Irie met up with him, he determined that Satoshi was an L5 patient due to him asking if his aunt was really dead and acting paranoid that other people looked like her. Irie took Satoshi to the clinic and placed him in intensive care, where he has remained well into 1983.