Ghosts & Hauntings
Taxi drivers pick up 'phantom fares' in Japan
By T.K. Randall
February 10, 2016 · 33 comments
Taxi passengers have been mysteriously disappearing. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Kure
Several cab drivers have reported having strange experiences in the area hit by the 2011 tsunami.
It might sound like something out of a book of classic ghost stories, but according to at least seven cab drivers from the city of Ishinomaki, a region that was devastated by the tsunami five years ago, some taxi passengers have been mysteriously vanishing from their cars without explanation.
In one incident a driver had picked up a female passenger near shinomaki Station who had asked him to take her to the Minamihama district, an area that was badly damaged during the disaster.
The driver asked her if she was sure she wanted to go there as the area was almost empty, to which she chillingly replied "Have I died ?" When he turned around the woman had completely vanished.
In another case, a taxi driver in his 40s recalled picking up a male passenger who asked to be taken to Hiyoriyama - a word which translates to 'mountain' - and pointed in the direction he wished to go.
The driver set off, but a short time later he realized that the man was gone and his cab was empty.
These stories, along with several others, were collected by Yuka Kudo, a sociology student at Tohoku Gakuin University, as part of her graduation thesis.
In each of the cases the drivers had genuinely believed that someone had got in to their vehicle and could offer no explanation for how they had managed to get out while the car was in motion.
Many of them also reported the fact that the passengers had all been quite young.
"Young people feel strong chagrin when they cannot meet the people they love," said Kudo. "As they want to convey their bitterness, they may have chosen taxis as a medium to do so."
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