31 Shinbi's Apartment Ghosts!

Written by Jonathan Wojcik

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SEASON 03, EPISODE 15: a toxic, purple fog begins to creep through the apartments, and those who breathe it begin to act different. Taking over a mother, her son, and even her son's friends, the entity acts out what it believes are normal family activities...such as eating live centipedes, for whatever reason.

The spirit responsible manifests as part woman, part centipede herself, appearing humanoid at first but growing the lower body of a gigantic chilopod as her haunting progresses. She can crawl on walls and ceilings with extreme speed, her elongated fingernails are razor sharp, and she constantly emits that dark, toxic fog. Not only does it sicken and brainwash the living, but she can hide in it as a smokescreen to stalk her victims, and she's very angry that the kids have intruded into "her" home to threaten "her" family.


This origin story feels like a mashup of two ghosts we've seen before, but one day, on a road trip, a family hit a pothole and needed to fix their tire. While they waited, the mother and son found a large centipede in the road. The son thought it was scary, but the mother told him how centipedes are actually sweet animals that care for their young, and that they should move it out of the road so it doesn't get hurt.

Picking the centipede up with a stick, she crossed the road to let it go in bushes, unaware that a truck was coming. In a somewhat less predictable turn, she wasn't struck and killed to become the Mama Centipede ghost; her husband and son were killed, and it was only due to her moment of compassion for the tiny animal that she wasn't, as she would have preferred, killed with them.

Since then, her ghost sought out families to be a part of, possessing mothers and hypnotizing children with her poison, immediately convinced every time that they really were her and her child.

In a surprising twist on the usual formula, this ghost isn't ready to move on as soon as her identity is known. Her true, human soul is STILL angry, still confused as to why a bunch of tweens broke into her house and tried to take her away from her son. Hari has to show her how the mother and son she possessed are comforting each other without her, and she finally understands that she's been the intruder all along.

"Go on! SHOO! Get outta here!!! God, I'm only like twelve, or something, why am I this whole damn town's Dead Mom removal service?"

MAMA CENTIPEDE ends up another ghost that Hari summons a number of times to come, combining deadly speed and sharp claws with a constricting centipede body and that toxic, mind altering smokescreen effect.


Her story may be a rerun, but the fact that this series has two ghosts based on the oft-overlooked maternal love of venomous, widely feared arthropods just means this series is twice as great as I thought, and as awesome as the Spider Ghost was, I have to say Centipede is my favorite of the two killer bug moms. Even if she didn't have the lower body of a centipede, her green-skinned humanoid half has a killer style all its own; the enlarged, luminous pink eyes, needly teeth, slightly angular lips and pointed chin have a very "yokai" look to them, accidentally a little bird-like to my eyes in a way that still suits a bug-goblin woman. The long, black hair and tattered shirt also make her look more visually like somebody's ghost than some of the other animal-based spirits, and so does the way she tends to hold her arms up in the air with her long fingernails dangling down!