Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 14th, 2011
New York Times 13 August 1891
Swallowed by a Snake
A Japanese Story of a Woman-Eating Serpent
San Francisco Aug 12, 1891
The steamship Oceanic, which arrived last night from Hong kong and Yokohama brings copies of a native Japanese paper called the Kokkai, which publishes a remarkable story of a monster serpent.
It says that on the 17th inst. a man called Neemura Tahichi, twenty-five years of age, went out with his wife Otora, who was forty-eight, to pursue his usual avocation of tree cutting in Koshitamura Province of Lamba. The husband and wife separated at a place called Matsu Yama. Shortly afterward, while engaged felling a tree [sic], Tahichi thought he heard his wife cry out. Running to the place he was horrified to find that a huge snake, described as being three feet in circumference had Otora’s head in its mouth and was engaged in swallowing her despite her struggles. Tahichi ran off to the hamlet and summoned seven or eight of his neighbors, who when they reached the scene of the catastrophe found that the snake had swallowed the woman as far as her feet and was slowly making its way to its home. They were too much terrified to touch it, and it finally effected its escape unmolested.
The Province of Lamba is one of the most desolate in Japan and monster reptiles and wild animals are frequently killed there.
(Cryptomundo invisible contributor note: There is no Province of Lamba in Japan, since there is no “L” in the Japanese language. This is the Province of Tamba. See “Provinces of Japan” for a map. When I saw the age difference in the couple (if reported correctly), I wondered if this was just a murder embellished with a big snake story, but then you have the other villagers as witnesses…. Still, presumably he had an ax or tree saw–why didn’t he attack the snake instead of going for help? Fishy. Or snakey…)