Sunday, June 18, 2017
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Friday, June 16, 2017
When I first started the Norinko Hanasaki investigation, I found subject matter in the origins of the United States railroad lines as well as the folklore of missing children to the arrival of the Chinese Triad in Asian communities. I heard stories of a haunted freeway tunnel and discovered that the homeless people living in the tunnel may in fact be the reason for the strange voices and screams coming from the freeway underpass.
Instead of finding answers to my questions, my research has only served to raise more questions. As the one year mark of Norinko's disappearance approached, I accepted an invitation to the Buddhist services for the missing middle-schooler where I could meet with the people who have been feeding me information and background on Norinko. I attended the services to show my respects, and, to my surprise, I found more answers than I had questions.
My mind filled with morbid thoughts. I thought that no one wants to discuss the fact that Norinko may be dead, that her body could be found any day soon. But the fact that one year has nearly gone by and there has been no bad news for them was the good news. The time for something bad to have happened has passed. All that remains is for Norinko to come home.
After service, food was provided. I met Bridget, her parents, the Segawas, Suzie and her parents, the Namuris, and I couldn’t help but notice that Torinko Hanasaki and his wife, Amico, waited till after I met with the others, including Priest Horaguchi, before they introduced themselves. And just as quickly as they introduced themselves, they excused themselves to direct me to the buffet table. There would be no discussions today. That I understood right off.
As I learned right off, I was there to listen, not to ask questions. I was not allowed to tape the interview, so I took notes. The Priest insisted I use the pen and paper he provided. My backpack with my laptop, notebooks, pens and pencils, clothes, food and coffee, was taken by another priest dressed in a blue outfit similar to Horaguchi's red outfit. I didn't ask about this hierarchy. As I said, questions were not allowed or answered when I did manage to sneak one in.
I nodded yes, but before I could say anything, he continued. (Torinko sat to Horaguchi's right, just behind him, also nodding affirmatively).
Each blind man touches a different part of the elephant, one claiming that the elephant is like a snake, for he had touched the tail, another swearing it was like a tree trunk, for he had felt the great leg of the elephant, and each in turn describing his part, but none the whole. That is your blog. The elephant is there. But in dissarray. Let me help. Please write and tell me if I am speaking too fast.
I nodded yes.
And with a deep breath, Priest Horaguchi raised his right hand and made a fist. And then he offered his left hand with its palm up, as if asking for change. He said, The open hand is life, and the fist, the closed hand, is death. When does it stop being a hand? It does not. It opens and closes, just as does life. You follow, Mr. Servante?
I nodded yes.
He resumed, life opens and closes, but it does not end. And no, it does not go to Heaven. Not is our beliefs. It goes to Diyu after death, where the Great Judge, Chang Gui, or Wuchang Gui, as he is often called, decides how this closed life will be reopened. Chang Gui decides if the life before him requires tempering, as does unforged steel for a sword, or if the life requires modification by ice, as does good meat before cooking. Forgive my comparisons. I know they are crude, but in Diyu, as you well know, the life must be re-conditioned for reincarnation by either fire or ice. Chang Gui decides on reincarnation after fire or ice, how long the treatment will last, and the degree of the treatment. If the person lived a life of "sin", he'd be a closed fist entering Diyu as a closed fist, thus requiring much treatment. If the person lived the life of good, he'd be an open hand entering Diyu as a sinless person requiring no treatment. He'd pretty much be on the waiting list for a body to be reincarnated into--a human body; we don't hold to being reincarnated into insect or animal. That's not our way.
But then there's the In-Between. Neither a closed or opened hand. It wasn't your time to go to Diyu. But there you are. I know you wrote of this. The comatosed patient is neither dead nor alive. Yet, in our belief, they are in Diyu, in a waiting room. No ice or fire. It is not true death. Even when accident victims are in the In-Between, they often speak of seeing a light that beacons them. It is the door to Diyu being opened for the new person requiring treatment for reincarnation.
Now imagine hundreds of such people dying. Chinese railroad workers carrying nitroglycerin into the caves to create an explosion strong enough to weaken rock and stone, to build a tunnel for the trains to pass. Now imagine the nitroglycerin blowing up because the person handling it trips. The ensuing explosion would kill him and everyone in the cave. Not "would"--"did" kill a lot of Chinese and Japanese workers. Blown to pieces beyond recognition. How do you bury the substance of the man when all you have are bits and pieces of many men splattered on the walls, soaking into the ground loosened by the blast? We believe that a dead person can enter Diyu for treatment only if he is buried properly.
If the corporeal substance of these men is not buried properly, their essence, what you call the "soul", wanders the place of death, half here, half in Diyu. This gives Chang Gui nothing to work with, nothing to treat for reincarnation. So, the Great One ignores the Wanderers. Yet the door to Diyu opens for these victims of the nitroglycerin but because they were never buried properly, the door remains open for much longer than it should. And the Angry One, Yuan Gui, seeks justice for the Wanderers. And Yuan Gui now has a revolving door to our world in such tunnels where injustice and betrayal made victims of our countrymen.
Let me tell you about our work with the homeless. Another subject you covered quite accurately in your blog. So I know I am not straying too far from what you've already researched for yourself. The tunnel is not haunted. For us, haunted means wandering souls awaiting proper burial in Diyu, Earth, or the Skies, what you call the Heavens. We have spirits of air, fire, water, and pure evil. Goodness is reincarnation. Evil is not being reincarnated--to simplify things. Yuan Gui is the demon of grievance for the wandering souls. It flies through the open door to and from Diyu to collect these wanderers, for there are many, especially in the tunnels, especially in the McClure Tunnel.
When we took food and medicine to the homeless people living in what they called the Hole in the Wall--a room once used by the railroad managers for business, we found many documents and articles of railway communications that indicated that the tunnel and offices would be abandoned and sold to the City of Los Angeles for the new Interstate 10 freeway. We also found that the Tongs were paid to look the other way.
When we first helped the Hole in the Wall people, there were close to twenty. The number varies because many of them moved on, transients always on the lookout for better, safer home, even if just a cardboard box or a shopping cart converted to a place to sleep. Often, these transients move on because they wake up beaten and bruised, with cut lips and bloody noses, and they don't remembered the brutality they suffered deep in dream. It is a common occurrence. Thus they move on to safer shanties. But there was also the north wall behind the old file cabinets. One day they found the cabinets had been pushed aside, and noticed that the number of their group had diminished by a few members. But, as I said, transients move on, so no one gave it much thought. Until their numbers decreased to a handful. Then they left the Hole in the Wall.
Something was taking them. Sure some were transients, as the police claimed when we told them of the disappearances. But I know and recognize the work of Yuan Gui. Are not transients also wanderers? What a trifle for the Angry One to take both into the doorway to Diyu. One would think, no?
The notebook. The notebook with the writings about an angry bird called Buzzkill. What do dogs do when they see themselves in a mirror for the first time? They bark at the other dog. In the notebook, Torinko informed me, was drawing of Buzzkill. Even he recognized the Angry One in that child's drawing. That is the one thing that was different that day from all the other days that Norinko was driven through the tunnel.
And the solution is simple, Mr. Servante. You must find the notebook of Norinko Hanasaki.
[Priest Horaguchi pressed on his knees and stood. He bowed to me and said he'd fetch tea. He motioned to Norinko's father as he left the room.]
At first my great grandfather passed the responsibility of caring for the Hanasaki family to my father and he to me. Little did I know that I would fall in love with Amico, Norinko's mother. Her husband divorced her to marry an American woman. How easily corrupted we are by the American Way. I, too, fell victim to this tradition of betrayal to our culture. I came to be known as Torrance when my true name is Torinko, named for my forefathers in the Triad. Today, the organization is mostly legitimate business, but there are a few criminal elements in the lower ranks. We try to deal with it by suffocating their business dealings. Beyond that, it's up to my superiors in Hong Kong to make such decisions. I am still only in charge of carrying out my orders, and of honoring our oaths. Yet, for me, I've been handed down the task of regaining the honor that Kenta Han dismissed by accepting bribes from the railroad barons. Is it no wonder that Diyu is at our doorstep?
Now our paths have joined. the Triad and the Victim have become one. Just as the Yuan gui and Wuchang gui have joined forces capture the living souls of those who have touched the notebook of Norinko. We have traced the missing people beyond the homeless in the tunnel; there is a bus driver, two deputies, a detective, and a reporter. They are missing too. What they have in common is the link to Norinko. The homeless have been taken through the open doorway that the Yuan Gui used to take Norinko, a descendatn of the first Hanasakis. You were right in your assessment of the Hanasaki name: It is a combination of Chinese and Japanese. Norinko's line begins with the Sakis, and mine with the Hans. Through our years of trying to honor our oaths and make up for the dishonor of my great great grandfather, the names Han and Saki have become one.
Beyond Norinko's disappearance, the others, too, were taken after they handled the journal of Norinko. Once you touch the journal, the Yuan Gui passes your essence to Wuchang Gui for judgment. Without your essence, you go mad; you are half in Diyu and half here on Earth. You have 14 days until your essence is completely in Diyu. It is in the journal where Yuan Gui hides. The Wuchang Gui is on the other side of the doorway in the Hole in the Wall inside the tunnel wall. There is only one way to break the cycle of injustice and judgment, arrest and trial, Earth and Diyu. We must read the journal and receive the messages from Diyu that Norinko has been sending.
Norinko can communicate through the journal, as can the others who are not dead but who are trapped in Diyu for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The birds in your blog. That’s Norinko trying to reach me. Only she’s reached you first through her friends, Beniko Segawa and Segui Namuri, or as you know them, Bridget and Suzie. So easy to become Americanized. It is now your responsibility. Priest Bobue Horaguchi and I can help, but it is up to you to find the journal. Juan Gui and Wuchang Gui are like birds in the earthly plane, demons in the Diyu plane. If we cannot break the cycle, the demon will enter the earthly realm and cause corporeal death to steal away more spirits to Diyu. It will no longer need to take the essence of the people without killing them. With a body of flesh and feather, it will be capable of spilling blood, of taking vengeance for the injustice of the victims of the tunnels, for the dishonor of the easily corruptible Tongs who have betrayed their oaths for American trinkets.
[Torinko grew silent as Priest Bobue, as he asked to be addressed, entered with the tea. As we drank our cups of Japanese tea with lemon and honey in silence, the sheer magnitude of what I just heard never occurred to me. I played along, promised to contact them as soon as I found a trail leading to the notebook, and then I left. They did not add anything more to what they had already told me. I was tasked with something beyond simple blogging. I left without any intention of looking back. The Norinko Investigation had just come to an end.]
The shrine of Norinko Hanasaki was dismantled when I arrived on the Ocean Avenue Overpass above the McClure Tunnel to the Interstate Ten. There was one lone girl there. I asked her if she knew Norinko. She shrugged and said she saw me at the service on Sunday. Then she asked, "Did you know her?" I shrugged back, and that made her smile. She went on, "The cops came and picked up all the glass candle jars. There were some people here, but they left when the cops started taking down the signs and photos. One of the cops was mad. Even when everyone was leaving he yelled at them that 'where were the photos and candles for Mitchell and Baker. And where's the flowers for Wu?!' Who are they anyway!" She wiped away a tear, but smiled again.
She then told me, "But they didn't take this. Here. You can have it. I don't know who you are or why you're even here, but everyone at the service was calling you an angel. Don't get all happy. In my culture, it's not a good word, not always. It means like demon. There are good and bad. Demons. They're not sure which you are, but it doesn't matter. It takes a demon to beat a demon. You'll just have to do. I took this before the cops took everything. I know you know what it is. I hope you know what to do with it." And with that she handed me a drawing of a Plumage Pvnk and walked away.
I considered calling the Sheriff's office to ask them why they took down the shrine but thought better of it. Jake, it's
Note: The bird is
Sunday, June 11, 2017
The challenge is for artists to create a painting, based on and/or reflecting the above poem, "The Moonrise Trail" by Michael H. Hanson. Please access the FILES section at the Upper Left of this page to View the Poem and to Read the Official RULES of this 2017 Contest and to access the Official Entry Form which you must fill out and submit "Before" you submit a work of art. There are NO entry fees, and original works of art will NOT have to be shipped anywhere (high-resolution digital photos will suffice). Please be aware that there is NO monetary prize. Do NOT post works of art directly on this page!!! If you attempt to do so, they will be summarily Deleted!!
This is an official Art Contest page and NOT a random art appreciation website. Submit your artwork (high resolution photograph) via e-mail or FB Messaging, after filling out the application, and then your artwork will be publicly displayed in a Facebook photo album accessible on this website.
The Submission Deadline is November 17, 2017. The Winners (First Place, Second Place, Third Place, and 3 Honorable Mentions) will be announced the night of Saturday, December 2, 2017, beginning at 8:00 pm EST USA on the World Wide Web, right here, on this public Facebook Event Page. All are welcome to take part in the festivities.
Paint-The-Poem is an art contest that was created in 2015 by poet Michael H. Hanson in his ongoing endeavors to promote the arts. [DO NOT post your artwork on this page. This is an Art Contest, NOT an art appreciation page]. Michael is a Poet that utilizes multimedia to convey his words, often finding inspiration in his admiration of painted art; he creates poetry that echoes this inspiration. This dual use of word and picture combines to create a third form, the Written Painting.
Michael wished to reverse the inspiration process by seeking artists who would draw inspiration from “his” poetic vision, and thus was born Paint-The-Poem.
The purpose of this Non-Profit Art Contest is purely to Support The Arts, and showcase the work of an eclectic cross-section of artists from around the World.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
On Sunday, I will attend the service for Norinko Hanasaki at the
And I must have a plan because I have not been getting much sleep, arguing with my editors, weaving stray thoughts into each new part of the investigation on my blog. Sometimes a thought will strike me on the train, and sometimes it will wake me from a strange dream. The more wrapped up I get in this investigation, the more alone I feel, as if my world is separating from the rest of the world that everyone else takes for granted.
That poem that I wrote the other day.
I live with myself in my head
You or you don't enter the equation
Me, myself, and I alive or dead
Outside my skin you don't exist
Except as sky, earth, and zed
I get into arguments more easily over which story is more credible, or, if in fact, there is a story at stake.
I watch the hockey games and wonder what the story is behind each player. I find that that team was meant to win because they were due a happy ending. Then it becomes dangerous to think of the losing team. Are they the tragic hero or the lowly villain? And what does that say about me? About my story?
The answers are either all in my head, as it says in my poem, or there are answers to be found in
Sunday, June 4, 2017
In Part 11, the W. Chris Dubois (aka Tom Thumb) notes, I found another connection to Norinko. Dubois had not only been researching the railroad's connection to the McClure Tunnel and Norinko, he was also following a link between the Hanasaki family to Little Tokyo and Chinatown in
Triads, Tongs, and Hatchet Men
On September 2, 1885, the Rock Springs Massacre in Wyoming involved dozens of angry White workers who attacked Chinese workers and killed 28, injuring many more. The practice of the railroad barons of paying the Chinese less money led to the hiring of more Asians over the more highly paid White laborers, who retaliated by setting the attacks in motion that September day in mining camps and railroad camps alike. The Chinese towns around the camps were burnt down.
Word reached Hong Kong of the killings and the Triads, the crime organization who in the 1880s acted as both police and businessmen, responded by sending a branch of the organization, called a Tong, to protect the Chinese workers along the railway as it grew from Wyoming to California. The Tongs employed paid assassins who carried hatchets and revolvers to guard the Chinese camps and helped to rebuild the towns now under Triad protection and rule. In addition to tailor shops, laundries, restaurants, grocery stores, and medicinal shops, the Tongs also brought opium dens, brothels, and saloons.
Because of the fierce loyalty of the Triads (the Masters) to their clients and rank-and-file members, no matter if they were Tong emissaries or Hatchet Men or Saloon Keepers, the Chinese communities burgeoning around the expanding string of towns along the railway felt pride and safety under the leadership of this honorable organization.
Part of this honor system stems from the "Oaths" each member takes before joining a Triad. These are but a few of the 36 Oaths that all leaders, followers, and entrepreneurs must memorize:
- I must treat the parents and relatives of my sworn brothers as my own kin. I shall suffer death by five thunderbolts if I do not keep this oath.
- I shall assist my sworn brothers to bury their parents and brothers by offering financial or physical assistance. I shall be killed by five thunderbolts if I pretend to have no knowledge of their troubles.
- I will take good care of the wives or children of sworn brothers entrusted to my keeping. If I do not I will be killed by five thunderbolts.
- If any of my sworn brothers are killed, or arrested, or have departed to some other place, I will assist their wives and children who may be in need. If I pretend to have no knowledge of their difficulties I will be killed by five thunderbolts.
- I must never reveal Hung secrets or signs when speaking to outsiders. If I do so I will be killed by myriads of swords.
Question: Were the Hanasakis one of these families forever under the care of the Triads and their Oaths? Something to consider when I meet with Mr. Hanasaki on June 12th at the temple. Maybe this is the path he put me on with his email. ??
A Footnote regarding the Chinese and Japanese feud in early Los Angeles:
Chinatown and Little Tokyo, the Los Angeles Connection
When the railroad reached the Pacific Coast, the rail work continued northward to San Francisco. However, many of the Chinese elected to stay in Los Angeles and built the Chinese Quarter, a town not unlike the communities springing up with the help of the Triads. By the 1910s, the citizens of Los Angeles did not like the presence of the opium dens and brothels and undertook legislation to forbid such activities. With the help from lawyers hired by the Tongs, the Chinese fought back in the courts, citing the Chinese Opera House, Temples, and legitimate businesses in the hundreds along Alameda Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. The Central Pacific Railroad, however, rendered the legal proceedings moot as they purchased all the land that the Chinese Quarter sat on and razed the town to build the Union Station rail terminal connecting the ending of the westerly path of the rails to the new northerly direction.
When the Chinese moved their legal businesses to the north end of Alameda, Broadway, and Hill Street, they abandoned the illegal businesses of the Tongs, who were drawing too much attention from the Los Angeles Police Department. The Japanese rail workers who settled the land north on Alameda were forced out by the Tongs and, ironically, it was the Japanese who took in the Triad members into their new location on First Street after their ouster by their Chinese "brothers". In the 1940s, when the Japanese were incarcerated during World War II, Little Tokyo was virtually emptied and the Tongs returned to Hong Kong to defend the Mother Land from the Japanese imperialists of the Axis Powers.
The Tongs passed into legend as Hollywood villains during the Thirties, Forties, Fifties, and early Sixties when Hatchet Men became synonymous with Chinese Gangsters. But the Triads still exist to this day, mostly in legitimate business. And it is said that they still keep their Oaths to the victims of the railroad by caring for their families, whether Chinese or Japanese, from generation to generation, long after the graves of the original Tong members were filled and new members now fulfill the promises of the old Oaths.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
The Tom Thumb Notes?
I have the notebook of Norinko Hanasaki. I met with detective Jian Wu. I pinched it from his files while he was talking to the principal. I hid it in the custodian's closet, behind a locker. It won't be long before Wu figures out I have it. I have to meet with Miriam Hernandez, the school bus driver, and make my way back to the notebook before Wu notices it's missing. Lots of plates in the air, Marie. I'm saving all my notes for you on the flash drive you gave me. If for any reason Wu finds out it was me who took the notebook, I want to have a backup of all my files. Just between you and me, Marie, that notebook gives me the creeps. I want to take pictures of it on my phone and email them to you so you can add them to the drive. This whole assignment is taking a lot of left turns. It doesn't feel right. I hope it's all worth it when I snag me a job with the Times. I'll make sure they include you in the package. You're going to make a good journalist one of these days. Use my notes if you need them. I mean, in the event something happens to me. Walking off with evidence. Shit. What the hell was I thinking?! Take care. Bail me out if I'm caught.
Drawing found with the memo July 22, 2016
Other Drawings found on the Tom Thumb flashdrive.
The Lost Article
Frantic Search Brings Community Together
Norinko was on the bus with several other female students from the all-girls' First Catholic School bus when the bus entered the McClure Tunnel, which connects the Interstate 10 to the Pacific Coast Highway. When the bus emerged from the tunnel, Norinko appeared not to be on the bus.
"It is good to see so many people working together to help find her. We should also be checking the hamburger places and the coffee cafes."
Numerous phone calls to Norinko's cell phone went straight to voice mail.
Neighbors and family friends, the Segawas, said that it's too early to be concerned. A lot of good church people are involved in the search, but we should also be praying for Norinko's safe return. In early morning the 14th of June, the search continues.
According to my computer friend, Marie tried to pass this article off as her own. It was written by W. Chris Dubois, the editor determined based on a call that he had received from a fellow editor at the Los Angeles Times, who told him that Dubois tried to shop the article there in exchange for part-time work.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
The origins of the McClure Tunnel (aka the Santa Monica Freeway Tunnel) begin with the construction of the railroads in the 1800s. We learn that the Hanasaki name has ties to Leland Stanford, for Stanford worked with the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company (OOSC), where he secured Chinese workers (
Part Two: Betrayals and Massacres
The greedy railroad barons hired gunmen to throw settlers off the ranches that stood in the way of the railways. There were many violent confrontations between these hired killers and the ranchers, but the one incident that the Press covered to show the cruelty of the railroad barons was the Mussel Slough Massacre, where 7 settlers were killed by the hired assassin and outlaw Walter Crow. Newspaper reporter Tom Thumb (pseudonym) contacted the blog to allege that there have been reports of strange sounds, voices, and screams heard in the McClure Tunnel by motorists. He further implies that there is a curse on the tunnel associated with the misdeeds of the gunman Walter Crow.
Part 3 Contact with Witnesses
We first meet Bridget, one of Norinko's friends who was on the bus with her the day she disappeared. Her email to the Anthony Servante blog offers some insight into the events unfolding in our cases. She also mentions “Suzie” in the email, another friend of Norinko’s. It seems this trio was a close unit at the school.
Part 4 The Folklore of Missing Children
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
by Anthony Servante
by Anthony Servante
To Anthony Servante
From Tom Thumb [Pseudonym]
[End of the Unpublished Article]
[Writer adds a footnote that ends abruptly].
Some of the strange events that were printed in the local newspapers between 1936 and 1966 include drivers bursting into tears upon entering the tunnel. One woman claimed that her dog started barking and suddenly stopped; when she emerged from the tunnel the dog was no longer in the car and was never found. Police searched the tunnel, but what they found were the bodies of four railroad workers who were identified by their clothes as laborers of the
Since the bus driver in the Hanasaki girl disappearance has not been found, I believe that there is something in that tunnel connected to the curse of Walter J. Crow. Somehow people going through the tunnel are paying for the murders of the innocent settlers and are condemned to
Update: I heard from the office last month and plan to go live with the information as soon as I organize it and correlate it to other research and sources I've developed since the Tom Thumb email. Please be patient. To date, I am merely re-editing and re-posting the articles that I had published earlier this year to reflect the latest information that my research has ascertained.
Thank you again for your patience, readers,
by Anthony Servante
I received this email last week. It took me about that time to confirm it was not a prank. After speaking with the students' parents, I decided to post it today. Deletions are at the parents' request. Norinko Hanasaki was the name provided by the local newspaper when this story first broke. There have been several deaths and accidents that have occurred in the McClure Tunnel (aka, the Santa Monica Freeway Tunnel) over the years, in addition to disappearances and missing people, but local news media has shifted its focus to current events (sadly) away from the Hanasaki investigation.
Dear Mr. Servante,
My name is Bridget (last name deleted by me). I go to the (school name deleted by me) Catholic Middle School in (my deletion). I read ur articles on Norinko Hanasaki and the Santa Monica Tunnel and I wanted to see if u have any more news about Norinko. It’s almost ten months and we don’t know anything about what’s going on. The teachers don’t talk about it. The parents don’t talk. Nobody talks. Even the students stopped asking about it. But my friend Suzie (not her real name) and me, we still want to know what happened. Can u tell us if u heard anymore information? If we can help u, let me know.
Note: I contacted Bridget (not her real name) and asked if I could post her email on the blog. She said yes, and I edited the email because she is in middle school and under 18 years of age, as I was reminded by her parents and the parents of "Suzie". I asked Bridget questions about her friendship with Norinko, what she remembers about the day Norinko disappeared, and any information about the police investigation at the school. She said that she would send me this information as soon as she could. I await her reply and will post it (after edits) once I confirm the information. More to come.
by Anthony Servante
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
From "The Stolen Child"
The two ways we can discern the evolution of the tale is that originally parents who provide discipline to a troublesome child will be rewarded with a obedient youngster. This disciplinary method would reward parents who follow the rule of "spare the rod, spoil the child". It wasn't so much a changeling in the crib, but a spoiled child who needed "tough love". In this sense, the "devil" was beaten out of the child, leaving only his "good" side. The second way concerns events that were closer to fact. When parents lost a child to kidnappers, to plague, or to the labyrinths of the forest, in most cases the youngster was murdered, died, or was never heard from again. The evolution of the tale stretched from religious hope to the cruel reality of the era.
“'In 'The Vanishing People', author and fairy expert Katharine Briggs said God cast these angels from heaven. Those that landed on Earth became woodland fairies; those that landed in the water became mermaids and other sea creatures. These fairies remained trapped between heaven and Earth until Judgment Day.” The existence of the fairy creatures represented the notion of a religious Purgatory, a waiting room between Heaven and Hell. It was the job of the fairies and Merrows to select their victims for Hades, or allow the victims to escape or to return the children to their parents for their form of heaven.
Note: We often think of supernatural creatures like demons ("The Exorcist", for one, namely Pazuzu) to come from Hell. The priest acts an a conduit between the powers of God and the magnetic pull of Satan's power. In this sense, the "Church" is Purgatory; neither heaven or hell. But just as the fairy's role is like a pagan guide between heaven and hell, according to Briggs, so, too, is the role of the religion a pagan choice between good and evil. And not just demons. Consider the vampire as a metaphor for eternal Purgatory, where one is neither in heaven or hell.
Still, gypsies were convenient villains to blame by mothers and fathers with poor parenting skills. As fairies became less believable in the new age, the dark bohemians made for good suspects as kidnappers, child molesters, and ransomers. One only has to think of Laurel & Hardy's film, "Bohemian Girl", where gypsies kidnap the daughter of the king. The two old bachelors raise the girl until one day she comes to the castle where she grew up to find her true father. From the king's point of view, however, the story is not so Romantic. He lost his child, who disappeared from the castle grounds and was thought dead. The happy ending is just a band-aid for the loss of his daughter; he missed her childhood years. She returns to him as a young lady. What thoughts crossed the king's mind all those years?! Gypsy kidnappers? Fairies? Someone or something must be blamed.
The Yama-Uba represents the cruel side of life for the family. As we saw with the Changeling, the fairy represented a problem child or unmasked the shortcomings of bad parents. Here the Japanese spinster is the abomination of motherhood. She nurses the young that she abducts and fattens them for consumption in three days. This interpretation, however, comes from the Western influence of witches in the forest who consume children. Traditionally, the Yama-Uba is a mountain witch who the Japanese believe brings wealth to the homes she haunts. She is protective of the places she inhabits. In Berman's description (Westernized version), the witch's ghostly features are exaggerated (no eyes, no feet); in Japanese Noh Drama, "Yamauba is the fairy of the mountains, which have been under her care since the world began. She decks them with snow in winter, with blossoms in spring ... She has grown very old. Wild white hair hangs down her shoulders; her face is very thin" (Yamauba, Dame of the Mountain, Konparu Zenchiku). She exemplifies the Winter, its harsh climate, but also its beauty of Nature. The Westerners turned her into a figure with which to scare children from disobeying their parents.
"William Manchester's 'A World Lit Only by Fire' places the events in 1484, 100 years after the written mention in the town chronicles that 'It is 100 years since our children left', and further proposes that the Pied Piper was a psychopathic pedophile" (1992 Printing). The American historian surmises that that a child molester murderer was killing children and that over time the number of kids killed was embellished as modern influences added to the story. One such influence was the outbreak of plague that killed mostly children. In this case, the Pied Piper plays the role of the "angel of death", the guide in Purgatory who decides who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. "In her essay 'Pied Piper Revisited', Sheila Harty states that surnames from the region settled are similar to those from Hamlin and that selling off illegitimate children, orphans or other children the town could not support is the more likely explanation: (Wiki). Both Manchester and Harty fail to account for the sheer number of children who disappear in the story. If the Piper tale were a condensed version of decades of history, perhaps the historical views would bear a ring of truth, but our folktale here is presented over a few days and the disappearance of 134 youngsters would not stand up to closer scrutiny. It is more likely that our Pied Piper simply evolved into another bogeyman to scare the kids into being obedient little children.
Note the commonalities of the Douen, Qalupalik (and to some extent, the Pied Piper), and woodland fairy, who live in areas usually forbidden to children ("don't go too deep in the ocean water", "don't wander too far into the forest", and "don't go into the jungle"). While some folktales revolve around the activities of the folk creature, others depend on the habitat of the mythical beast or sprite. Some creatures steal the kids outright, but the enchanters lure the young victims to their lair for various reasons (to raise them as their own, to kill them, or to eat them). For the parents, this allows them to use the legend to scare the child not only to be obedient (or the monster will take you) or not to wander too far from home (or the monster will take you away forever). Although some folktales tell of the child being returned, the Westernization versions always have the children becoming victims or captives or food.
All the elements of our Westernization of the modern telling of folktales are evident here: La Llorona will take you if you stay out late at night or wander too far from home. Even your humble author here grew up with this warning night after night and spent many a late night looking over his shoulder. The new element that I wasn't aware of till my research on The Weeper was this rejection by Heaven AND Hell, and her exile to wander Earth. Perhaps her stealing and killing of children was beneficial to the Devil, so they refused her entrance, but why would Heaven refuse her without any means of redemption? In the version I grew up with, La Llorona didn't kill herself; she went mad when she saw her drowned kids flowing down the river. She tried to follow them, but the current was too fast, and she soon lost sight of their little bodies. From then on, she wanders up and down the river and searches towns by rivers, looking for her children. Even for the pathetic concrete riverbed that the Los Angeles River makes, it was still the stuff for parents to use to scare their kids to stay close to home.
But these are the extremes of the oldest form of the tales, when fact and fiction were seamless. To the modern world, especially the Western world, we see a primitive community killing its own children. In reality, however, for its time and place, these parents were wisely dealing with trickster trolls who had stolen their child and left behind a Changeling disguised as a baby. Still, it is difficult not to feel some aversion to the entire practice of child sacrifice, no matter the age or time.
Diyu has eighteen levels of torture. Each level unique to the length and degree of the punishment to be inflicted in the name of cleansing for a proper return to Earth via reincarnation. Each level is called a Naraka, which consists of Ice or Fire (except in the case of Avici, which utilizes all forms of torture for eternity, and Huhuva, where the Innocents await return to Earth).
Note: There are two types of person in Huhuva: One, the Innocent who died sinless; he will be held till there is an opening (the birth of a newborn baby) who fits his profile; and two, the Innocent who yet lives (on an operating table, buried alive, etc) and must await return to Earth either in their own body once it is repaired on Earth or reincarnated in a new body to begin life anew. This last position is tricky because if the person goes into a coma on Earth, he is basically trapped in Diyu, snacking on grape leaves and hummus till he awakes; he cannot be sent back as a baby because he is not dead. Should he wake from the coma, he is returned to his body with a healing spirit that will help his injured body heal all the more quickly. However, the memory of Diyu remains until the body is completely healed and returns to normal. Keep in mind, even in Huhuva, the Innocents can still see the other levels of torture. In a strange way, I guess, it's their reality TV.
Each Naraka is overseen by one of the Ten Yama Kings of the Ten Courts, each court responsible for the length and degree of torture. These kings supervise the Demons of Diyu. Each demon has a specialty of torture. Note in the drawings of Diyu above the demons appear as blue figures, some with spears, others with instruments of their craft in hand. When "wandering spirits" enter Diyu, they are not placed in any one Naraka and allowed to roam between Narakas for eternity. They are even allowed in Avici and Huhuva. A wandering spirit is one who did not receive a proper burial (a Chinese fear that we have discussed in the previous parts of the Norinko Research cases). With a proper burial, the spirits qualify for reincarnation and a room with a view in Huhuva.
For our purposes here in this article, I'd like to end with the folklore of missing children connection. For the Chinese, there is no bogeyman, there is no threat by strange creatures who will steal you away; they believe that missing children are in Diyu, looked after for their innocence. It is a rare child who is sinful. Even curiosity is not a sin. Should one of the Yama Kings appear to collect a spirit for the Narakas, sometimes the doorway to Diyu opens for a second. And sometimes a child may wander in to see what all the fire and ice is about, to find the source of the cries and screams. Then it is the Yama King's duty to place the child in Huhuva and perhaps to scold the child politely as a Shaolin Priest would scold a student. Only in the Chinese Diyu can such extremes exist together: Heaven and Hell, redemption and torture.
An Email from Suzie
by Anthony Servante
Thank you for writing about my friend Norinko. I think you should write more about her and not about fairy stories. I think you're being unrespectful. You need to talk to the policeman that came to our school last summer. Here's his name and phone number [deleted]. He gave a card to all the students and teachers he talked to. I hope you'll keep writing about Norinko. But more about her. Not about fairies.
Suzie [last name deleted].
I'd like to apologize for being disrespectful to your friend. It wasn't my intention. But I have to write about everything about the case, not just what the police are doing. Police information is not so easy to get so I write about subjects that will keep the name of Norinko Hanasaki of interest to my readers. As you can see, I have written three articles about Norinko and a lot of people are reading them. And your schoolmate Bridget also appeared on my blog and offered to help. But I do promise I will call the number you sent me. And I promise I'll write about it. But you can help me too. Can you tell me about Norinko? It would also help if you reminded Bridget to send me that information I asked her for. Again I apologize for seeming insensitive, but that's far from the truth. I do care. That's why I'll keep writing until we learn more about what happened. Please extend my apologies to Norinko's family as well.
Bridget's Email: 4-25-17
A Norinko Hanasaki Research Case
I held up this email for obvious reasons. I mean, I just came from seeing "Phoenix Forgotten", which is basically "Blair Witch" with UFOs. Surprised to see it was produced by Ridley Scott, whose latest version of Alien meets Prometheus looked pretty generic in the new trailer (especially after that awesome extended "trailer" with actors Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace--can adults still say 'awesome'; it was our word first).
I decided to blog this email as is, unedited (except for the name of the sender whose name has been changed because of her age). All I can say is I confirmed it is from the Catholic school in question, but the subject matter is anything if not interesting. Just for comparison, we've got articles on the Tongs of the Wild West, the true story of the corpse that wouldn't lie still, and other strange subjects that relate to the focus of our attention--the McClure Tunnel and all its mysteries since the mid-1800s. Even today there are still new odd phenomena and tragic accidents occurring inside the tunnel. Closures have become commonplace.
Still, there's always the more topical side that relates to a blog called the Servante of Darkness. So here is Bridget's email, I hope the first of many.
An Email from Suzie
The Tokidoki Connection
by Anthony Servante
As promised, our correspondent and contact, Suzie, friend of Norinko, has provided some information about the journal of her classmate. The company that made the notebook is called Tokidoki; it makes figurines, clothing, and school backpacks with characters from the Cactus Friends & Pets series. Earlier this year, I visited the "PUFF MONKEY", a store that carries the product in addition to "Hello Kitty", Marvel and DC characters, and the new Ju Ju line, to learn more about the characters. What I learned I've added to Suzie's email as photos of the various Tokidoki products.
However, it would be remiss of me to ignore the darker side of these figures. For instance, one character is Death, called "Adios" and another is Death's girlfriend, "Ciao Ciao". But I get ahead of myself. The Cactus Friends & Pets are children and their pets who wear cactus suits to protect themselves from the evils of the world and prevent Death from touching them. The characters are in constant bliss and joy in their perfect world. But the artist behind the Tokidoki figures, Simone Legno, an Italian artist, always blends a creepy side to the blissful surroundings. The logo for the line is itself a contradiction of opposites: A "heart and crossbones", a mix of a Valentine's symbol and a pirate's symbol. It is this contradiction that seemed to appeal to Norinko, and I must say, even to your host as well. I have become the avid collector of Tokidoki characters in plush dolls and ceramic figurines. It is not an inexpensive hobby. But enough about me. Let's get to the email.
NOTE: THE PHOTOS AND GRAPHICS ARE MINE, FROM MY COLLECTION SINCE STARTING MY RESEARCH ON THESE CASES. THEY WERE NOT INCLUDED WITH THE EMAIL.
Dear Mr. Servante,
I wanted to send you this email about Norie's love for her Tokidoki Friends. But first I wanted to share this poem that she wrote the last time we were shopping for Cactus Pets, the day she disappeared.
Norinko wrote this poem when we went shopping for Cactus Friends. She loved to buy Blind Boxes. Those are boxes that are completely sealed so you can't see what figurine you're getting till you open it. Inside the box is an aluminum packet, and inside the packet is your figurine. They cost around $15.00. And there are dozens and dozens of characters. While all the girls at the school were buying clothes or shoes, Norie was buying Cactus Friends and other Tokidoki stuff. She always paid with a prepaid card. Her allowance card. Her parents put in money in the card for her every week, usually on Monday. So, Monday, after school, we'd go straight to the shop at Santa Monica Place for more stuff. But we had to hurry so we wouldn't miss the bus.
The last time I saw her, I asked her if she wrote anymore poems. Strange but she said she didn't write poems. Other people did. She only copied what they said. Then she looked around as if she were looking for someone. I remember she shrugged and said no one was around to copy from. She bought a Bastardino figure that day. He's a little dog wearing a cactus suit that protects him from evil and death.
She said she liked that Bastardino wasn't afraid of Death with a capital "D". He chewed on Death's bones. Then she giggled and said, "I can't write that." The other girls in the shop giggled and pointed at Norie who was clutching Bastardino and staring at the door. The bell above the door sounded but no one came in or left. I pulled Nories sleeve and told her we can't miss the bus.
Norie disappeared June 13th, 2016, a Monday. We had just finished shopping for the Bastardino figurine. She didn't know she was going to buy that. That was just what came out of the Blind Box. She thought it was a sign of good luck and put the box in her backpack. But in my religion, they teach us that "luck" is not good or bad. It is both at the same time. You pray to avoid luck, because you take the good and the bad together when you're lucky. I said a prayer for Norie when we got on the bus. I didn't know that that would be the last time I would see her.
I think I should tell you about Norinko's notebook. She came to school that day with a new copy of a Tokidoki Notebook. It came in the mail, she said. It was for her poetry and drawings of her version of the Cactus Friends. She called her characters the Plumage Pvnks. Yes, Pvnks with a "v", not a "u". They were kids and adults too that wore bird outfits that let them fly from danger. The Cactus Friends are kids and pets who fear the cold and scary world. They believe Evil with a capital "E" is everywhere and looking for innocent children and puppies and kittens. Death with a captial "D" looks for everyone young and old, guilty or innocent. Once Death touches you, it's adios and ciao.
To protect themselves, SANDy, the leader, wears a suit of cactus. Its sharp needles keep Death and Evil away. All SANDy's friends and her and her friends' pets also wear cactus suits. SANDy represents water and life, strong and weak. She knows that without the cactus suit, she will be killed, but as long as she wears it, she can protect the water that gives life to kids and plants. The Plumage Pvnks are kind of the same thing, but they can fly away from Evil and Death with a capital "E" and a capital "D".
Next time I'll send you some drawings that Norie gave me of the Pvnks. So stay in touch with me. Me and Bridget are the only ones who are talking about this.
Next month is one year since Norie disappeared. Her parents and mine and Bridget's are getting together at our Temple in Santa Monica. I know in my heart that Norie will come back to us by then, I pray for it everyday, but with luck, you accept the good with the bad, the hope with the despair, so I want to invite you to the Temple, June 11, 2017. Send me your home address and I'll send you a paper invitation that you'll need to get in. Thank you again for keeping the memory of Norie alive.
Please please stay in touch.
Your friend, Suzie
by Anthony Servante
The mystery of the tunnel may have been solved. Perhaps the disappearance of Norinko Hanasaki has something to do with the recent discovery of a hidden entrance in the Santa Monica Freeway tunnel itself. But there were no answers or solutions found in this forgotten cavern. If anything, it served as a reminder of the surprises this tunnel continues to serve up. A small Shanty Town of a few dozen homeless people were found living in the entrance. They have since been removed and tossed back into the streets of Santa Monica, Venice, and neighboring Los Angeles, as quickly forgotten as they were found.
However, there were a few questions raised that may in fact deepen the mystery rather than solve it. Consider this a slight detour from the mystery of the tunnel for a moment to consider the plight of the homeless. Although this story may seem unrelated, there are those questions that remain.
On the last closure to the McClure Tunnel (also known as the Santa Monica Freeway Tunnel), Caltrans workers, who were repairing the wall damaged in a fatal vehicle collision earlier this year, found an entrance to a homeless shanty town behind a false wall. Over a dozen transients, consisting of families, veterans, addicts, and mentally ill men and women who were apparently off their medication, according to unidentified authorities, were living in makeshift homes built of cardboard boxes, shopping carts, and plastic tarp.
The CFA, however, disputes the goals of the city; the activists say the council members are more concerned with the destruction of city property than with the welfare of the transients. In the past, these homeless men and women have been driven by local law enforcement back and forth between Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica, each department tossing their homeless problems to their sister cities. Such practices are believed to have stopped, but these transients must end up somewhere.
A Few Questions:
How does the discovery of the shanty town bode for the Norinko Hanasaki case?
Has anyone questioned the transients about seeing the 14 year old girl since last June 2016?
Next month will be the one-year mark of Norinko's disappearance, and I have been invited to attend a prayer service at the temple where the Hanasaki family are members. I have researched a bit regarding this homeless issue and found that the temple is a member of the CFA. They just may be the people to speak with. The temple priest has agreed to meet with me the day after the service to discuss my questions. I promised to share my blog cases with him as well.
This meeting is set for June 12th, 2017. The service is set for Sunday, June 11th. Norinko Hanasaki disappeared June 13th, 2016. Let's not forget that amid all these cases that I've been posting. I had planned to post more notes on the Norinko case when I found out about this homeless shanty. Therefore, Part Nine will now focus on the Santa Monica Newspaper notes left behind by its former reporter working on the case (see Part Two for more information).
I have been accused of being all over the place with this case investigation, but I post them as they happen or as the relevant information presents itself. No excuses. I'd like to say I will now remain focused on the main case, but that damn tunnel keeps on churning out new oddities for me to cover. All I can promise to my readers is that I will not lose sight of the main goal: To find out what happened to Norinko Hanasaki. Everything else is just peripheral phenomenon. And it all will be covered here.
Thank you for your patience,
by Anthony Servante
On May 8th, 2017, I contacted the Santa Monica Local Newspaper regarding “Tom Thumb” (alias given to the Servante of Darkness Blog), who had written the article on “Mussel Slough”, which comprised Part Two of the Hanasaki cases. I spoke with a friend of his at the newspaper who asked not to be identified. She told me that he had quit. I asked if she knew where he may have found a new job. She said he was “no call, no show”. I told her that I was working on the Norinko Hanasaki case. She said she still had all his work on a flashdrive and could send me a copy. I received the files by email the next day. Rather than organize and select certain files, I decided to post what I was sent. Forgive the order. I made notes (in italics) to connect relevant information in the files to my Norinko Hanasaki cases. The rest must speak for itself.
The Files of Tom Thumb
(Circa July 2016)
Deputy Evelyn Mitchell Transcript:
Reporter: Can you tell me what’s been happening since you arrived, Deputy Mitchell?
Mitchell: Here are my notes. Nothing major. Missing girl. 14 years of age. Was on the bus. And then she wasn’t on the bus. The missing girl, whose name we can’t release until the notification of her parents, has not been found. We have deputies searching the McClure Tunnel. The 10 Freeway traffic has been detoured off at Lincoln Avenue. Detective Jian Wu—he prefers “Joe” Wu is on the way. He’s been assigned to look into this matter. Here’s some basic notes of information I got from the bus driver and kids. Nothing special, but Detective Wu will be asking his own questions. My partner and I just tried to see if the girl got off somewhere along the line. Can’t be sure at this point. Anyway, here’s what I got:
3:15 School let out.
3:30 Miriam Hernandez, bus driver, checks off all students from her roster as the kids board the bus. 12 kids got on.
3:35 Bus departs school for drop offs. Makes 6 drop-offs.
3:45 Bus enters McClure tunnel when inside bus lights start to flicker and go out at the same time the tunnel lights go out. 6 kids still on bus start screaming. Bus driver slows down to navigate toward the light at the end of the tunnel. The bus exits the tunnel.
3:50 Suzie, the missing girl’s friend, notices she has gone, informs driver. Suzie, at the behest of the driver, walks up and down the aisle of the bus, looking for her friend. Nothing. Only five kids on board, plus the driver. 3:55 Bus driver reports missing passenger to dispatch / dispatch reports to Santa Monica Division, and we are dispatched to the scene.
4:00 Bus stops at the Union 76 Gas Station. Bus driver double-checks the empty seats up and down the aisle, she told us. The five students are instructed to remain on bus till the Sheriff’s arrives.
4:15 Deputy Steve Baker and I arrive on the scene, find the girls milling around outside of the bus. The driver said she couldn’t keep them on board. Some called their parents on their cell phones and were told to wait outside the bus.
4:18 We check off the roster of the bus driver to see who was dropped off and who was left on the bus. The name left that remains unaccounted for belongs to our missing girl.
I copy down the names and numbers of the remaining girls from the roster after asking the gas station attendant if they had a copy machine. They didn’t. Meanwhile, Deputy Baker gets the driver’s information.
4:30 We wait for Wu as parents begin to arrive. Tell them that Detective Joe Wu must clear it for them to leave.
4:45 Detective Wu arrives. Suzie and her parents approach Wu and ask him if they’ll find the missing girl. He informs them that at that moment, deputies are looking for her, following the trail of the bus from the school to the gas station. I give my notes to Wu after taking pictures of them with my phone and emailing them to my desk computer at the division station.
Detective Jian “Joe” Wu Transcript
Reporter: Do you have any leads on the missing girl?
Detective: The Division will be making a statement to the press sometime this evening in front of the Santa Monica Station. Bring your questions there. And maybe you ought to choose your words a bit more carefully at this early stage. “Leads” is a bit loaded. It’s a missing persons case unofficially for now. Once we notify the parents of the girl, we’ll consider whether we’re looking for “leads” or a missing girl. Thank you. Deputies, could you escort our star reporter from…
Reporter: Santa Monica Local Newspaper.
Detective: the Santa Monica Local Newspaper behind the tape.
Deputy Baker: What tape?
Detective: The one you should have put up already—around the bus, the kids, and the parents. Leave an opening for the parents to drive in and out to pick up their kids. Make sure you get their contact information before they leave.
Deputy Mitchell: Got it already.
Detective: Tape! Deputies!
Miriam Hernandez Transcript
Reporter: I am with Miriam Hernandez, bus driver in the famous case of missing student, Norinko Hanasaki. Thank you for allowing me into your apartment here in Long Beach.
Miriam: Are you recording this?
Reporter: Yes. Would you tell us about your arrest, please?
Miriam: I don’t like being recorded.
Reporter: Then perhaps you can tell me why you’ve marked up your walls with poetry? Is this the same poetry that you wrote on the bus windows the day of your arrest?
Miriam: Please turn that off or I will shut up.
Reporter: Just a few more moments, please. What are you doing?
Miriam: I am not talking to you. Please leave.
Reporter: What are you doing with that marker, Miss Hernandez? What are you writing? Three corners wide The brink of darkness hovers Angels hear my tears. What does that mean?
Miriam: Ang-hell hears my tears. The bus is coming back. Get out of my house.
Reporter: I’m leaving. Please put that down. No need for that. I’m going. Look, I’m turning off the recorder.
Reporter: I am outside the apartment of Miriam Hernandez. Her apartment walls are covered in what looks like to be lines of poetry. She was arrested July 6, 2016, about ten days ago. Today is July 15. The words looked familiar. Will check them against the notebook poems I took pictures of yesterday.
(JPEGs too blurred to post; blank pages also. My copies of the poetry lines [below] that I could discern from the five photos; the breaks are mine):
He slept in class
He slept in deep
He slept in the tunnel pass.
Three corners wide
The brink of darkness hovers
Angels hear my tears.
With life and death
Here in the marrow
Of my final breath.
There is no going home
As with the “homeless” case, more questions than answers. And I continue to be humbled with your patience. Perhaps it is in the journey we find the end of the tunnel.
by Anthony Servante
Since the beginning of time, Evil has targeted the weak and the innocent. In the animal kingdom, creatures big and small have developed defensive tricks to protect themselves from harm. The lowly chameleon adapted a camouflage ability to change skin color to hide in its environment. The little sparrow learned to fly with unpredictable maneuvers to avoid being eaten by hawks. Even the mighty elephants found protection in herds to ward off hungry lions. Human children scream at the top of their lungs to scare off predators. But what of the fearless monsters intent on feeding on the plump goodness of a juicy little toddler who has strayed from the protective arms of mommy and daddy? Evil in forms both natural and supernatural have also adapted its instincts for preying on these lost ones.
In Part Four of the Norinko cases, we discussed folklore around the world that focused on lost and missing children. It comes as no surprise to learn that, according to Suzie (our contact for updates about the Hanasaki investigation), her friend Norinko had created a whole universe based on how Evil and Death can be avoided by children.
I'll let Suzie explain the creation from here.
The Email 05-17-17
To the Readers of the Servante of Darkness Blog and the Readers of the Norinko Hanasaki Investigative Cases:
The first thing I want you to do is forget about what Mr. Servante wrote in the introduction. He showed me that introduction, and I didn’t really agree with it, but he explained that it keeps the readers happy. Maybe he’s right about the Evil thing, but when I agreed to write to Mr. Servante about my friend Norinko “Norie” Hanasaki, it was to talk about Norie, not about Evil. My friend Norie liked Tokidoki Cactus Friends. She liked the way they were part scary and part happy. She wanted to make her make-believe friends like that, in the Tokidoki way. That’s when she came up with the PLUMAGE PVNKS, kids who dress in bird costumes to fly away from bad things, to fly way high above all the badness of the world. When you wear your costume, you can’t be touched by Death, Evil, Sadness, Sorrow, or even Regret. She always promised me and Bridget that when she went to college, she would learn designing to make the costumes. I told her that we wouldn’t be kids anymore by then. But Norie didn’t care. She always practiced her drawings, using me and Bridget as models for her costumes. Everyday her drawings improved. She said that she had to hurry or all the bad things would catch up to us while we were children, that that was when we were weak little creatures of God.
For us Buddhists, God was when Goodness and Evil are balanced in the world. Sometimes Goodness tips the scales, like the Temple Priest says on Sundays at service, and sometimes Evil or Badness tips the scales the other way. Children share in the great joy of life when Goodness is heavy, and children share in the great sadness of life when Evil is heavier. With our bird costumes, we could fly when Evil gets heavier than Goodness, and stay high in the air till Goodness tips the scales back the other way. In our religion, the Scale is God, and Goodness and Evil are parts of the scale.
And so Norie drew the costumes, and then she drew me, and Bridget, and herself as three PLUMAGE PVNKS. Here are the drawings that my friend Norinko Hanasaki drew for us. You can see how early on she could barely hold the pencil, but later she developed into a better artist. On the day she disappeared she drew the last of the three costumes on the bus, the one for herself, the Buzzard who does not kill; it survives on what Evil animals kill. So, for Norie, Buzzkill meant the bird that did not kill. She knew it also meant someone who doesn’t like to have a good time, like at a party. In a way that was kind of like Norie; she didn’t like parties, but she always came to my birthday parties and to Bridget’s birthday parties, even though there were a lot of friends there that she didn’t know. She was shy. She liked to read, especially the books from the Temple that the Priest lent her after service. In those books somewhere she got the idea for the PLUMAGE PVNKS. I know she will return to us someday. I know this blog will help to reach her wherever she is.
And a few weeks later, the Detective stopped coming to the school to ask questions. And the two police officers stopped working in Santa Monica. And Miss Hernandez stopped driving the school bus even though she didn’t go to jail after being arrested. There was a reporter, this fat guy with bad breath who was hanging around the school and talking to students and teachers about the notebook. Someone told him that Miss Hernandez had it. And I don’t know what happened to him. He stopped working for the newspaper, Miss Johns told us. Her and the Principal say that the notebook must be important because everyone is looking for it. But all it has is some poetry and some PLUMAGE PVNK drawings, that’s all. I think Norie is more important than that the stupid journal that she bought for her poems and drawings. I saw the Buzzkill poems in Part 8. Those are Norie’s poems. I don’t recognize the other ones. Those aren’t Norie’s.
I just want to say one more thing. Me and Bridget and Norie have been friends since elementary school. At first, Bridget just hung around with me and Norie because Norie and me were a little bit fat, and Bridget was skinny and pretty. We know how people say that she only hangs around with me and Norie because the pretty girl always stands out with fat friends. And maybe that was true when she first hung out with us. But not anymore. It’s like almost 6 years that we’ve been friends, and it’s not about being more popular or more pretty. She probably cares more about Norie being missing than me or her parents or my parents. Maybe not Norie’s parents, but she cares. She just shows it in her own way. She’s the one who convinced me to write to the Servante of Darkness Blog.
I can’t wait to meet you, Mr. Servante, at the service. I promise to keep writing to you. I don’t agree with you all the time, but you’re doing more than anyone else right now for Norie. I promise for Bridget and me that we’ll keep helping you. I promise for Norinko, my friend always.