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Japanese Ghost Passengers Scaring Taxi Drivers

Shecoda
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Shecoda
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Joined: August 24th, 2013, 8:24 am

February 7th, 2016, 3:26 am #1



Taxi drivers in Japan report 'ghost passengers' in tsunami-ravaged area


A number of taxi drivers have reported seeing 'ghost passengers' in Ishinomaki in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, an area that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Asahi Shimbun reports that Yuka Kudo, a senior at Tohoku Gakuin University majoring in sociology, interviewed more than 100 taxi drivers in Ishinomaki for her graduation thesis. Kudo asked the drivers whether they had any unusual experiences after the March 2011 disaster.

While many of the drivers ignored her or became angry, seven told the student about their strange experiences in the aftermath of the tsunami.

One driver, in his 50s, related a story about a woman who got into his cab near Ishinomaki Station. The woman told him to take her to the Minamihama district. The driver then asked her "The area is almost empty. Is it OK?" The woman replied, in a shivering voice, "Have I died?"

When the driver looked back at his rear seat, no-one was there, according to the research.

For more on these ghosts go HERE
Definition:
Pareidolia (par-i-DOH-lee-a): The new term for swamp gas
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MuseNoir
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MuseNoir
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Joined: August 31st, 2010, 2:39 am

February 7th, 2016, 3:58 am #2

Really interesting. I am going to see if I can find more of these stories from that area of Japan.

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Shecoda
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Shecoda
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February 7th, 2016, 8:11 am #3


Post the links if you find them Muse. This really is fascinating.
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Pareidolia (par-i-DOH-lee-a): The new term for swamp gas
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MuseNoir
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February 16th, 2016, 1:25 am #4

Here's an excerpt of what I found:

Late last summer I went back to see Reverend Kaneda again. Two and a half years had passed since the disaster, and inland there was no visible evidence of it at all. The towns and cities of Tohoku were humming with the money being injected into the region for its reconstruction. A hundred thousand people still lived in prefabricated houses, but these upsetting places were tucked away out of sight of the casual visitor. None of the towns destroyed by the wave had been rebuilt, but they had been scoured of rubble. Coarse, tussocky grass had overgrown the coastal strip, and those ruins that were still visible looked more like neglected archaeological sites than places of continuing pain and despair.

I visited Kaneda in his temple, and sat in the room where he received visitors. Lined up on the tatami were dozens of small clay statues, which would be handed out to the patrons of Café de Monku. They were representations of Jizo, the bodhisattva associated with kindness and mercy, who consoles the living and the dead.

In this room, Kaneda told me, he recently met a 25-year-old woman whom I will call Rumiko Takahashi. She had telephoned him in June in a state of incoherent distress. She talked of killing herself; she shouted about things entering her. That evening, a car pulled up at the temple: Rumiko, her mother, sister and fiancé were inside. She was a nurse from Sendai – ‘a very gentle person’, Kaneda said, ‘nothing peculiar or unusual about her at all’. Neither she, nor her family, had been hurt by the tsunami. But for weeks, her fiancé said, she had been complaining of something pushing into her from a place deep below, of dead presences ‘pouring out’ invisibly around her. Rumiko herself was slumped over the table. She stirred as Kaneda addressed the creature within her. ‘I asked: “Who are you, and what do you want?”’ he said. ‘When it spoke, it didn’t sound like her at all. It talked for three hours.’

It was the spirit of a young woman whose mother had divorced and remarried, and who found herself unloved and unwanted by her new family. She ran away and found work in the mizu shobai, or ‘water trade’, the night-time world of clubs, bars and prostitution. There she became more and more isolated and depressed, and fell under the influence of a morbid and manipulative man. Unknown to her family, unmourned by anyone, she killed herself. Since then, not a stick of incense had been lit in her memory.

Kaneda asked the spirit: ‘Will you come with me? Do you want me to lead you to the light?’ He took her to the main hall of the temple, where he recited the sutra and sprinkled holy water. By the time the prayers were done, at half past one in the morning, Rumiko had returned to herself, and she and her family went home.

Three days later she was back. She complained of great pain in her left leg; once again, she had the sensation of being stalked by an alien presence. The effort of keeping out the intruder was exhausting. ‘That was the strain, the feeling that made her suicidal,’ Kaneda said. ‘I told her: “Don’t worry – just let it in.”’ Rumiko’s posture and voice immediately stiffened and deepened; Kaneda found himself talking to a gruff man with a peremptory manner of speech, a sailor of the old Imperial Navy who had died in action during the Second World War after his left leg had been gravely injured by a shell.

The priest spoke soothingly to the old veteran: he prayed and chanted, the interloper departed, and Rumiko was calm. But all of this was just a prologue. ‘All the people who came,’ Kaneda said, ‘and each one of the stories they told had some connection with water.’

*

Over the course of last summer, Reverend Kaneda exorcised 25 spirits from Rumiko Takahashi. They came and went at the rate of several a week. All of them, after the wartime sailor, were ghosts of the tsunami. For Kaneda, the days followed a relentless routine. The telephone call from Rumiko would come in the early evening; at nine o’clock her fiancé would pull up in front of the temple and carry her out of the car. As many as three spirits would appear in a single session. Kaneda talked to each personality in turn, sometimes over several hours: he established their circumstances, calmed their fears and politely but firmly enjoined them to follow him towards the light. Kaneda’s wife would sit with Rumiko; sometimes other priests were present to join in with the prayers. In the early hours of the morning, Rumiko would be driven home. ‘Each time she would feel better, and go back to Sendai, and go to work,’ Kaneda told me. ‘But then after a few days, she’d be overwhelmed again.’ Out among the living, surrounded by the city, she would become conscious of the dead, a thousand importunate spirits pressing in on her and trying to get inside.

One of the first was a middle-aged man who, speaking through Rumiko, despairingly called the name of his daughter.

‘Kaori!’ said the voice. ‘Kaori! I have to get to Kaori. Where are you, Kaori? I have to get to the school, there’s a tsunami coming.’

The man’s daughter had been at her school by the sea when the earthquake struck. He had rushed out of work and driven along the coast road to pick her up, when the water had overtaken him. His agitation was intense; he was impatient and suspicious of Kaneda.

The voice asked: ‘Am I alive or not?’

‘No,’ Kaneda said. ‘You are dead.’

‘And how many people died?’ the voice asked.

‘Twenty thousand people died.’

‘Twenty thousand? So many?’

Later, Kaneda asked him where he was.

‘I’m at the bottom of the sea. It is very cold.’

‘Come up from the sea to the world of light,’ Kaneda said.

‘But the light is so small,’ the man replied. ‘There are bodies all around me, and I can’t reach it. And who are you anyway? Who are you to lead me to the world of light?’

The conversation went round and round for two hours. Eventually, Kaneda said: ‘You are a father. You understand the anxieties of a parent. Consider this girl whose body you have used. She has a father and mother who are worried about her. Have you thought of that?’

There was a long pause, and the man said, ‘You’re right,’ then moaned. Kaneda chanted the sutra. He paused from time to time when the voice uttered choked sounds, but they faded to mumbles and finally the man was gone.

Day after day, week after week, the spirits kept coming: men and women, young people and old, with accents rough and polished. They told their stories at length, but there was never enough specific detail – surnames, place names, addresses – to verify any individual account, and Kaneda felt no urge to. One man had survived the tsunami but killed himself after learning of the death of his two daughters. Another wanted to join the rest of his ancestors but couldn’t find his way because his home and everything in it had been washed away. There was an old man who spoke in thick Tohoku dialect. He was desperately worried about his wife, who had survived and was living alone and uncared-for in one of the bleak metal huts. In a shoebox, she kept a white rope which she would contemplate and caress. He feared what she planned to use it for.

Kaneda reasoned and cajoled, prayed and chanted, and in the end each of the spirits gave way. But days or hours after one group of ghosts had been dismissed, more would stumble forward to take their place. One night in the temple, Rumiko announced: ‘There are dogs all around me, it’s loud! They are barking so loudly I can’t bear it.’ Then she said: ‘No! I don’t want it. I don’t want to be a dog.’ Finally she said: ‘Give it rice and water to eat. I’m going to let it in.’

‘She told us to seize hold of her,’ Kaneda said, ‘and when the dog entered her it had tremendous power. There were three men holding on to her, but they were not strong enough, and she threw them off. She was scratching the floor and roaring, a deep growl.’ Later, after the chanting of the sutra, and the return to her peaceful self, Rumiko recounted the story of the dog. It had been the pet of an old couple who lived close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. When the radiation began to leak, its owners had fled in panic with all their neighbours. But they forgot to unchain the dog, which slowly died of thirst and hunger. Later, when it was much too late, the spirit of the animal observed men in white protective suits coming in and peering at its shrivelled corpse.

In time, Rumiko became able to exercise control over the spirits; she spoke of a container, which she could choose to open or close. A friend of Kaneda, who was present at one of the exorcisms, compared her to a chronically ill patient habituated to vomiting: what at first was disgusting became over time familiar and bearable. By August, she reported being able to brush the spirits away when they approached her. She was still conscious of their presence: they were no longer shoving and jostling her but skulking at the room’s edge. The evening telephone calls and late-night visits became less and less frequent. Rumiko and her fiancé married and moved away from Sendai, and to his extreme relief Kaneda stopped hearing from her.

The effort of the exorcisms was too much. Friends were beginning to worry about him. ‘I was overwhelmed,’ he said. ‘Over the months, I’d become accustomed to hearing the stories of survivors. But all of a sudden, I found myself listening to the voices of the dead.’

Most difficult to bear were the occasions when Rumiko was possessed by the personalities of children. ‘When a child appeared,’ Kaneda said, ‘my wife took her hand. She said: “It’s Mummy – it’s Mummy here. It’s all right, it’s all all right. Let’s go together.”’ The first to appear was a tiny nameless boy, too young to understand what was being said to him, or to do anything more than call for his mother over and over again. The second was a girl of seven or eight. She had been with her even younger brother when the tsunami struck, and tried to run away with him. But in the water, as they were both drowning, she had let go of his hand; now she was afraid that her mother would be angry. ‘There’s a black wave coming,’ she said. ‘I’m scared, Mummy. Mummy, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’

The voice of the girl was terrified and confused. Her body was drifting helplessly in the cold water, and it was a long struggle to guide her upwards towards the light. ‘She gripped my wife’s hand tightly until she finally came to the gate of the world of light,’ Kaneda recalled. ‘Then she said: “Mum, I can go on my own now, you can let go.”’

Afterwards, Mrs Kaneda tried to describe the moment when she released the hand of the young-woman-as-little-drowned-girl. The priest himself was weeping for her, and for the twenty thousand other stories of terror and extinction. But his wife was aware only of a huge energy dissipating. It made her remember the experience of childbirth, and the sense of power discharging at the end of pain as the newborn child finally enters the world.

Ghosts of the Tsunami

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