On March 11, 2011, just before 3 p.m., a massive earthquake erupted under the ocean off the coast of Japan.
At a magnitude of nine, it was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan and the fourth most in the world since the data began.
The massive earthquake, which occurred 70 kilometers from the country, triggered a gigantic and terrifying tsunami, which killed more than 19,000 people.
Huge waves, reaching 33 feet, traveled at speeds in excess of 435 mph as they crashed into the shore and traveled up to six miles over land, hitting everything in their path furiously.
People had only minutes to flee their homes and everything they owned, and, horrifyingly, more than 100 evacuation sites were washed away.
Many drowned, but thousands more perished from blunt force as trees, cars and buildings were torn aside by the terrifying force of the tsunami.
More than 120,000 buildings were destroyed and nearly 300,000 members “partially collapsed” against the extreme force of nature.
Roads were swept away, as well as railway lines with millions of houses without electricity or water.
The tsunami also caused meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, with much of the area still uninhabitable, although some have returned to their former homes.
After the devastation of the tsunami, more than 340,000 were left homeless and the affected areas faced shortages of food, water, shelter, medicine and fuel.
It became the most expensive natural disaster in the planet’s history, with repair and rebuild costs amounting to £ 177 billion.
Tons of debris accumulated around the coastal cities hit by the tsunami, and it is estimated that there are still more than a million tons in the Pacific Ocean.
And when the clean-up operation had begun and people from the affected areas began to slowly return to their homes, they were faced with a new nightmare.
Where once the homes of neighbors, friends, and loved ones had stood, there were now nothing but ruins and lost lives.
People had to try to rebuild their lives, chips, houses and businesses among the rubble.
Under the mental fear of returning to familiar places where they had once been happy, many reported that strange things happened.
From being woken up at night to unusual noises or sensations to bizarre images as they tried to live their daily lives in the shattered communities wiped out by the tsunami.
There seemed to be only one explanation: haunts by the ghosts of those killed on that terrible day in March.
Some even reported seeing rows of ghostly figures patiently waiting outside the rubble, which had previously been a supermarket before being squashed by the tsunami.
Keizo Hara, a psychiatrist in the city of Ishinomaki, one of the areas most affected by the waves hit by an earthquake at sea, said: “The places where people say they see ghosts are largely those areas that have been completely have been swept away by the tsunami.
“We think phenomena such as ghost sightings may be a mental projection of the terror and concerns associated with those places
He said one statement was that those who witnessed the destruction firsthand and those who lost in the terror that followed could be suffering from post-traumatic illness.
Hara added, “It will be some time before PTSD shows up for many people in temporary housing for whom nothing has changed since the earthquake.”
To dad-of-two Shinichi Yamada, the terrifying post-tsunami phenomenon seemed real as he and his kids tried to rebuild their lives.
He had escaped the waves that ravaged his home and later rescued two Buddhist statues from the wreckage.
But when he brought them back to the temporary housing where he lived, he said strange things started to happen.
He claimed his two children suddenly fell ill and an inexplicable chill seemed to follow the family around the house, he said.
Yamada explained, “A few times when I was in bed, I felt something run over me, step over my chest.”
The concerned father, along with many others in the aftermath of the tsunami, felt there was only one place he could turn to – an exorcist.
Kansho Aizawa helped countless families deal with ghosts after the tsunami and says she herself saw many apparitions.
She explained: “There are ghosts without heads, and some are missing hands or legs, others are completely cut in half.
“People have died in so many different ways during the disaster and they have been left in the dark. So it takes a heavy toll on us, we see them as they were when they died.”
The problem of the visions of ghostly figures became so serious in certain areas that taxi drivers were afraid to pick up ghosts instead of living passengers.
Immediately after the tragedy, people sought the help of the exorcist to make sure their loved ones were happy in the afterlife – but that changed as time went on.
Aizawa said, “First people came here looking for the bodies of their relatives. Then they wanted to know exactly how that person died and whether their minds were at peace.
They want to deliver their own messages to the dead.
For Yamada, his troubles ended when he built a shrine to the two Buddhist statues and prays for them regularly.
The father is still convinced they are being haunted, but now believes that through his caring actions they are finally at peace.