Ghoul trips: spooky way to cool off
But when 11 junior high school students in Japan were carried off a bus to hospital recently, there was a different cause: they had scared each other sick with ghost stories.
Spine-tingling horror stories are a tradition in Japan during the warm months. Telling them is seen as a way of cooling down because of the shiver of fear that accompanies hearing an eerie tale of ghouls, freaks and the supernatural.
Speaking to Mainichi newspaper after the event, doctors in Kyoto, where the incident occurred, surmised that the pupils suffered hyperventilation as a result of anxiety caused by the chilling tales.
It is likely that the poor mites were relating what has become known throughout the country as the "Seven Mysteries" of each school. These spooky tales commonly include stories about a piano that suddenly begins playing in the middle of the night and a skeleton in the school science lab that moves on its own.
So obsessed do pupils become with ghosts and these often disturbing tales during the hot season that some are availing themselves of "ghost detector straps", which are marketed for mobile phones. "Who you gonna call?" one might ask.