TRANSLATION: demon fire
HABITAT: grasslands, forests, watersides, graveyards
DIET: life energy
APPEARANCE: One of the more dangerous types of hi no tama yokai, onibi is a beautiful but deadly phenomenon. Its name means “demon fire,” and it certainly earns that moniker. It look likes a small ball of flame, usually blue or blue-white (red and yellow onibi are less common), and often appears in small groups of twenty to thirty orbs. The orbs can range in size from three to thirty centimeters, and usually float around at eye-level. They appear most often during the spring and summer months, and particularly on rainy days. They appear more frequently in places that are surrounded by nature.
Onibi can be found all over Japan. In some areas, they are said to occasionally manifest the faces and even voices of the victims whose life force they have drained. In Okinawa, onibi is said to take the shape of a small bird.
INTERACTIONS: Onibi does not create much heat, but the orbs possess a different danger. Living creatures that draw too close are sometimes swarmed by dozens of orbs, which quickly drain away the life force from their victims. Soon nothing is left of the victim but a dead husk on the ground. During the night, onibi is often mistaken for distant lanterns, and many people have vanished into the forests chasing after phantom lights. Travelers should take care not to be lead off their paths to their deaths by demon fire.
ORIGIN: Onibi usually are created out of the dead bodies of humans and animals, though it is not known what process causes onibi to develop at some times and not others. Intense grudge and malice from one living person towards some other thing is also able to create onibi. It is often considered to be identical to the will-o’-the-wisps of English folklore.