xxxHolic Volume 03: 09/22/11
XxxHolic Volume 3 by the CLAMP mangaka group has two main stories and a brief after story that will become an important detail in later volumes. The two main ghost stories are both set in schools and rely on the inborn stubbornness of people. There is also a recurring theme of things not being what they seem.
In the first story, Watanuki and Dômeki are sent by Yuko to check out a reported haunting at a high school. Himawari has heard of the school's ouija game getting out of hand and causing trouble for the students. Although Watanuki would prefer to go alone, it quickly becomes apparent that Dômeki's inability to see spirits and his training at the shrine has given him a powerful combination to repel and protect against spirits.
The second story is a great retelling of W. W. Jacob's 1902 story, "The Monkey's Paw." Yuko in her store room of treasures happens to have one (or perhaps, the one). A student teacher working on her thesis demands to buy it. Yuko tries to warn her against it but she of course continues to insist. So all Yuko can do is warn her to not open the container. That advice, is of course, ignored and the story plays out to its expected ending.
Volume 3 ends with a little tale of a chance meeting between Watanuki and a young fox spirit. The fox spirit is the son of the owner of a noodle cart that exists on the border between the human and spirit worlds. Watanuki's ability to find the cart is another example of his unusual abilities. It's also the start of a new friendship for him and a chance to learn that not all spirits are malevolent.
As the fox spirit meeting ends up being important later on in the series, the anime series makes a bigger deal about this initial meeting. In the anime, Watanuki's first meeting is turned into an entire episode.