Earlier in March of this year, some superstitions tied to Japanese legend had quite a few people feeling that something ominous was on the horizon. That's because the Sessho-seki (殺生石), known as the "Killing Stone" in Nasu, Japan, broke. According to some interpretations of folklore, the stone was believed to have imprisoned the nine-tailed fox demoness, Tamamo-no-Mae, and that direct contact with it or her would result in being cursed and even death. As you might expect, the breaking of the stone (said to have occurred naturally and gradually over a period of 1,000 years) spurred fear that the the nine-tailed fox demoness was now free to unleash calamity upon the world.

While the stone's breaking and talk of the possible unleash of a curse became a sensational internet narrative, local officials explained it as the unfortunate result of a natural phenomenon. Those officials may be busy quelling more feelings of something supernaturally sinister lurking around the corner, however, as just last week, the carcasses of eight wild boars were found just nearby the stone.

According to a Yomiuri Shimbun, the dead bodies of eight wild boars were found in proximity to the broken Killing Stone. While some online are taking the dead boars as an omen or proof of the stone's dangerous nature, it's said that the boars appear to have died due to exposure to toxic volcanic gases in the area such as hydrogen sulfide. As the Yomiuri Shinbun notes, dead boar and tanuki have been found in the area in the past, but such a number is surprising. The carcasses were collected and then incinerated for safe measure.

Even with the natural explanation, talk online from commenters about the release of the Nine-Tails has picked up again, with many taking to Twitter to speculate:

"Is the Nine-Tails collecting sacrifices?"

"Maybe it really was unleashed after all."

"Even animals shouldn't get too close to it."

"To be honest, I'm more concerned about those gasses."

By - grape Japan editorial staff.