Ubagabi can be classified as a type of hi-no-tama, which belongs to the category of fireball yokai. These entities manifest on nights characterized by rain, often found in close proximity to riverbanks.

Old Lady 2 Ubagabi creature


Their appearance is that of a sphere of flame measuring around one foot in diameter, within which the visage of an elderly woman can be discerned.

It is also within their capacity to take on the semblance of a chicken; however, this form is transitory in nature.

These beings are believed to be the result of the spirits of elderly women who met their demise due to the disgrace of being caught stealing oil.


In the past, within the confines of Osaka, resided an elderly woman burdened by poverty. Resorting to pilfering oil from the lamps at Hiraoka shrine as a means of survival, she found herself engaged in a heinous transgression, given the scarcity and value of oil during that era. The temple’s clergy eventually apprehended her, bringing her misdeed to light. Subsequent to this exposure, her fellow villagers subjected her to ostracism and the reproachful designation of an oil thief. The weight of her humiliation drove her to the pond situated behind the shrine, where she chose to take her own life. Such tainted demises rarely culminate well, and instead of a conventional passing, she underwent a transformation into a yokai. Even today, local residents identify the pond adjacent to Hiraoka shrine as “Ubagabi-ike,” a tribute to the yokai born from the old woman’s overwhelming shame.

Old Lady Ubagabi Creature


Ubagabi possess an extraordinary capability for rapid flight, covering considerable distances, even up to 4 kilometers, in an instantaneous manner.

There have been accounts of them lightly brushing against individuals’ shoulders before vanishing into the obscurity of the night. Tragically, those who have had contact with an ubagabi in this manner tend to experience a fatality of some sort within three years.

It has been noted that uttering the phrase “Abura-sashi!” (indicating oil theft) as an ubagabi approaches can cause it to disappear.

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