Strange happenings

But when he brought them back to the temporary housing where he lived, he said strange things began to happen.

His two children suddenly got sick and an inexplicable chill seemed to follow the family through the house, he said.

"A couple of times when I was lying in bed, I felt something walking across me, stepping across my chest," Mr Yamada said.

Many people in Japan hold on to ancient superstitions despite its ultra-modern image. Mr Yamada, like many others in the area, turned to exorcist Kansho Aizawa for help.

Ms Aizawa, 56, dressed in a black sweater and trousers and with dangling pearl earrings, said in an interview in her home that she had seen numerous ghosts.

"There are headless ghosts, and some with missing hands or legs. Others are completely cut in half," she said.

"People were killed in so many different ways during the disaster and they were left like that in limbo. So it takes a heavy toll on us, we see them as they were when they died."

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