Several taxicab drivers throughout the coastal town of Ishinomaki in northeast Japan are reporting something terrifying.
According to news agency Asahi Shimbun, at least seven different cabbies have told almost exactly the same story: after picking up certain passengers in Ishinomaki, the drivers claim that these clients responded very strangely when asked for their destination… but when they turned to look at them, they were gone.
The most unsettling aspect of these stories is the location where the “phantom fares” are appearing: Ishinomaki is one of the areas heavily devastated by the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan in 2011, killing nearly 16,000 people.
Over 100 taxi drivers were interviewed by sociology student Yuka Kudo, as part of a research project on strange phenomena in the years following the disaster. Among those interviewed, seven described their experience with the ghost riders in detail… and all their stories were eerily similar.
One of the interviewees said he’d picked up a young woman near Ishinomaki Station, who then asked him to take her to the district of Minamihama. This struck the man as odd — because that area was almost completely abandoned. When he asked if she was really sure she wanted to go there, he got a chilling response.
“Have I died?” the woman asked him.
When the driver turned to look, his passenger had disappeared.
Kudo said those cabbies who were willing to discuss the incidents claimed they were not scared by the possibility that their passengers might have been victims of the 2011 tragedy. In fact, a few of them said they would have no problem picking them up again — believing they might be offering some kind of comfort to restless spirits.