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Japanese Taxi Drivers Report ‘Ghost Passengers’ in Area Hit by 2011 Tsunami

In a chilling turn of events, some taxi drivers in Japan are claiming to have picked up ‘ghost passengers’ in the aftermath of the tsunami that devastated the nation in March 2011. As many as seven of the 100 drivers interviewed by Yuka Kudo, a student of sociology at Tohoku, admitted to having encountered phantom fares.

Kudo conducted the interviews as a part of her graduation thesis, traveling to the coastal town of Ishinomaki every week for a year to speak to taxi drivers waiting for fares. She asked over 100 drivers the same question: “Did you have any unusual experiences after the disaster?” Many of them ignored her, some even got angry, but seven drivers agreed to describe their strange encounters.

One driver recounted a particularly unsettling story – in the summer of 2011, a woman dressed in a coat climbed into his taxi near Ishinomaki station. She said, “Please go to the Mianmihama Station.” When he pointed out that there was nothing left standing in the district, she asked him in a shivering voice, “Have I died?” The driver immediately turned around, only to find the back seat empty.

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