31 Shinbi's Apartment Ghosts!
DAY TWENTY EIGHT: SILENT HARPY
Written by Jonathan Wojcik
SEASON 03, EPISODE 22: wherever a young girl is crying alone, she just might hear a woman's voice faintly singing in the distance. If she keeps crying, the voice draws closer and closer, and then...
Silent Harpy, already one of the most threatening names I think we've heard here, manifests as an abnormally tall woman with eyes just a little too large and intense, a mouth just a little too wide for a human, and a few too many, very sharp little teeth. Following the sound of crying girls, she seems to drag them into another reality with her, since the world around them not only darkens and distorts, but they are unable to find anyone other than that tall, humming woman.
And when she catches up to a child...she grabs the child's face, she hooks her fingers into the corners of the victim's mouth, and she pulls.
Your mileage may vary, but I think this might just be one of the most horrible things any of these spirits do to people. Silent Harpy quite simply forces children to smile, so hard that it hurts and their stretched mouths remain stuck that way. Seemingly forcing them to feel some kind of distorted happiness, they even continue half-crying, half-laughing in a daze.
Like so many of the series ghosts - and a trend taken straight from traditional Eastern folklore - Silent Harpy was originally a mother. Her own child was terminally ill with no hope of recovery, but neither of them wanted to see the other cry, and did their best to appear cheerful for each other in their final days together.
One day, the girl saw another child receive a music box with a figurine of a tall, pretty lady slowly spinning to its tune. Noticing how this made her daughter really, genuinely smile, mom went to find one just like it. But when she returned, she saw a commotion of medical staff around her child's room, and immediately knew something was wrong.
The last we see of the mother, she's crying over a photograph of her daughter and the music box she meant to give her. As she cries harder, her sobs sound more and more like laughter, losing her mind over the senseless cruelty that the one time she left her little girl's side, just to make her smile, guaranteed she never saw that smile again.
The odds that this was a subsequent suicide death are almost certain, and her soul would subsequently take the form of the woman from the music box, stalking any child that reminds her of her own and horrifically forcing them to "cheer up" for her.
Once she reveals her identity however, we get to see something fairly rare for this series...
For once, a ghost's lost loved one descends from Heaven to meet up with them. The woman's daughter had never fully passed on either, waiting for the day her mother, too, would smile again for real.
GOTTEN: SILENT HARPY. A terrifying, maniacal, child-stalking bogeywoman is now forever on speed dial to defend someone else's daughter from the omnipresent threat of feral creepypastas.
Silent Harpy earned a spot in our final stretch for multiple reasons. Her design may be almost completely human, but the deranged look of her wide yellow eyes, pinhole pupils and murderous smile are instantly memorable. Combined with her abnormal proportions and killer fashion sense, she's a character design that's both deeply threatening and adorably charming. You can already guess just by looking that she's one of those Urban Legend style spirits with an unsettlingly specific behavior pattern, and what an unsettlingly specific behavior pattern. Targeting crying children, humming as she approaches and physically forcing them to smile is a recipe for horror I won't soon forget.
But as horrendous as she was in monster form, this is another of the saddest and sweetest stories in a series packed to the brim with them; maybe not an unusual one at all, but what really gets me is her little girl's soul still waiting by her all along.