The story of Chizuko Mifune is rather short and rather sad. This young Japanese woman became famous for her ESP abilities, especially her ability to describe what was on a card sealed inside an envelope. She was the subject of an investigation into ESP lead by a Doctor Fukurai. Sadly her life was not a long one. She took her own life with the aid of poison at the age of twenty four.
A Young Talent
Fukurai wrote about the experiments that he did with Chizuko Mifune in a book he published in 1931 entitled ‘Clairvoyance and Thoughtography’. It seems that the majority of the experiments that he worked with her on involved ESP. He was particularly interested in her ability to read what was written on a card that was contained inside a sealed envelope. At the start of them working together she impressed the doctor greatly with her ESP abilities but over the course of the working partnership her psychic abilities seemed to wane. The loss of her apparent powers led some of the scientists to believe that she had been cheating after all. Strangely as her powers started to wane her sister began to present with powers of her own. The principal of the school her sister attended approached Fukurai to tell him of the sister’s new found abilities. This same principal is the one that introduced Fukurai to Mifune. On hearing of her sisters new found gifts she thought herself of no further use to anyone and took her own life. She was not only despondent that she had begun to lose her own gifts, it seemed as though her sister was ready to take her place.
A Troubled Mind
From the few records that mark her life on earth it would appear that Chizuko Mifune was a troubled soul. People regarded her as being temperamental and overly sensitive. She was regularly sleep deprived as she suffered from bouts of insomnia and there is a belief that she suffered from some form of eating disorder. One symptom in her catalogue of issues that was underplayed was the description of her having ‘singing in her ears’. This ‘singing’ had been with her since she was a child and as she aged became a continuous noise. It is claimed that though she seemed to hear music well she would not always hear the voice of someone speaking to her. Perhaps this ‘singing in her ears’ was tinnitus, if it was it would certainly explain her sleep disorder and depressive state. Perhaps this is what forced the loss of her abilities, a simple inability to concentrate and focus because of the noise in her head?
She may not have walked the Earth for very long but Chizuko Mifune has left something of a legacy behind her. She has been an inspiration to the Japanese horror industry, and has even appeared in anime publications and several Japanese novels. As for Dr Fukurai, much of his research was discredited and what could have been an avenue to parapsychological research was lost.