Thursday, January 21, 2016

Taxi Drivers Report Ghost Passengers in Area Devasted by Tsunami (Japan)

Asahi Shimbun [Japan]
21 January 2016

By HIDEAKI ISHIBASHI/ Senior Staff Writer

SENDAI--In early summer 2011, a taxi driver working in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which had been devastated by the tsunami a few months earlier, had a mysterious encounter.

A woman who was wearing a coat climbed in his cab near Ishinomaki Station. The woman directed him, “Please go to the Minamihama (district).” The driver, in his 50s, asked her, “The area is almost empty. Is it OK?” Then, the woman said in a shivering voice, “Have I died?”

Surprised at the question, the driver looked back at the rear seat. No one was there.

A Tohoku Gakuin University senior majoring in sociology included the encounter in her graduation thesis, in which seven taxi drivers reported carrying "ghost passengers" following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. […]

The seven drivers' accounts cannot be easily dismissed as simple illusions. That is because if a passenger climbed in their taxi, the driver started the meter, which is recorded.

If the passengers were indeed "ghosts," they were still counted as riders. As a result, the drivers were forced to pay their fares.

Some of the seven drivers jotted down their experiences in their logs. One showed his driver’s report, which noted that there was a fare that went unpaid.

As the "ghosts" the drivers encountered were all youthful, it is believed they could be the spirits of victims of the 2011 disaster. […]