In Japanese folklore, there is a yokai known as tatarimokke, which translates as cursed infant. A tatarimokke appears just like an ordinary owl but is actually the spirit of a dead baby or young child. These yokai remain close to the home of the family with whom they lived while alive. It is believed that their hooting is actually the sound made by the spirit of the dead baby.

Ohara Koson

Tatarimokke are generally harmless and are usually highly respected by the grieving family, who will leave them offerings. However, depending how the child died, they may seek revenge. If the child was killed or cast away unwanted by its parents, it will be far more sinister, often holding a grudge against those still alive. In these cases, the presence of a tatarimokke can cause unpleasant sensations in people who pass through the areas they haunt. 

Utagawa Hiroshige, 1832

They have also been know to create strange sounds, appear as floating fireballs, and other weird phenomena. There are even more rare cases when tatarimokke are the spirits of murder victims and in these cases the yokai will curse the perpetrator causing ruin for both them and their family, even in future generations.

Masaharu Aoyama, 1950

Utagawa Hiroshige

Yoshimoto Gesso, 1930s

Ohara Koson, 1920s

Narazaki Eisho, 1930