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Kuchisake-onna, the “Slit-Mouthed Woman”, is a paranormal figure which frequently appears in Japanese folklore. Legend says that the woman was mutilated by her husband after he believed that she was cheating on him. By slicing open her mouth, he was said to believe that no man would find her attractive again. Now, she haunts unsuspecting men.

When Kuchisake-onna appears, she is reported to ask “Am I pretty?” to her unsuspecting victim. If he answers “yes” then she will remove her mask to reveal her wounds and ask the question once again. If the man answers “no” or appears distressed by her appearance, she is said to slit his mouth from ear to ear. If he answers “yes” once again, then she follows him home and murders him as he sleeps.

Kuchisake-onna first appeared in Japanese folklore in the 1970s. Several rumours of how to escape her soon began to wend throughout the country. For example, many believe that if you give her confusing answers such as “you are average” then they have enough time to escape before she attacks.

Cordyceps fungi is a common ingredient in Chinese herbal medicines. In general, mushrooms wouldn’t seem like an obscure ingredient, however, this particular mushroom grows from the bodies of insects. If a spore lands on an insect, it can infect it. The fungus then grows within the body, using the internal organs as a food source. Eventually, the fungus rips out of the insect, distributing more spores.