With a name that translates to "Killing Stone", the Sessho-seki (殺生石) in Nasu, Japan is ominous in its own right. The famous rock in Nasu, Japan is said to have imprisoned the wicked nine-tailed fox demoness, Tamamo-no-Mae. Superstition says that anyone who comes into contact with the stone is cursed and ultimately killed.

Many are now worried about an even graver fate, however, as the stone has been found broken in half, and perhaps freeing the spirit to wreak havoc throughout the land.

Japanese Twitter user Lillian shared information of the stone's breaking in a now viral Tweet, saying they went to visit the stone, usually tied down with a rope, and found it broken, saying they felt like they just witnessed something they shouldn't have seen.

Legend says that the stone is actually the transmuted corpse of Tamamo-no-Mae, a nine-tailed fox demoness who took the form of a beautiful woman as a ploy to murder the Emperor Konoe on behalf of an evil feudal lord. When she was slain by the famous warrior Miura-no-suke, her body was transformed into the stone. Because of this, contact with the stone is believed to be cursed, leading to hauntings and calamity, so the breaking of the stone has understandably spooked many with the idea that the demoness has been freed to cause greater disaster.

The break appears to have occurred naturally after nearly 1,000 years, and several who have visited the stone recently say they noticed cracks appearing in it. Masaharu Sugawara, president of the Nasu Kogen Yumoto Guide Club, a volunteer group that provides tourist information in the area, said, "It is a natural phenomenon, but it is a shame because it is a local symbol", The Yomiuri Shinbun reports.

Various versions of the nine-tailed fox have been depicted in popular Japanese media, and fans of hit anime and manga Naruto will be familiar with one of them.

Naturally, many online have reacted to the news with fear it's a sign of incoming doom, with some even linking it to the ominous "end of the world" dark fox Phoenix that appeared above Mt. Fuji recently.

If the demoness really is on the loose, one has to hope its taken the more friendly form that it appears as in some artist's illustrations like below:

By - grape Japan editorial staff.