You’ve got to read this London Review Of Books account of the bizarre ghostly goings-on in Japan after the 2011 tsunami that killed nearly 30,000 people. It begins with the story of Mr. Ono, a man who lived near the disaster area, and who made a rubbernecking tour of the scene. After that, he began acting in utterly bizarre and inexplicable ways, detailed in the story. Eventually he was taken to a Buddhist cleric for an exorcism:
Ono’s wife told him that he pressed his hands together in prayer and that as the priest’s recitation continued, they rose high above his head as if being pulled from above. The priest splashed him with holy water, and then suddenly he returned to his senses and found himself with wet hair and shirt, filled with a sensation of tranquillity and release. ‘My head was light,’ he said. ‘In a moment, the thing that had been there had gone. I felt fine physically, but my nose was blocked, as if I’d come down with a heavy cold.’
Kaneda spoke to him sternly; they both understood what had happened. ‘Ono told me that he’d walked along the beach in that devastated area, eating an ice cream,’ the priest said. ‘He even put up a sign in the car in the windscreen saying ‘disaster relief’, so that no one would stop him. He went there flippantly, without giving it any thought at all. I told him: “You fool. If you go to a place where many people have died, you must go with a feeling of respect. That’s common sense. You have suffered a kind of punishment for what you did. Something got hold of you, perhaps the dead who cannot accept yet that they are dead. They have been trying to express their regret and their resentment through you.”’ Kaneda smiled as he remembered it. ‘Mr Bean!’ he said. ‘He’s so innocent and open. That’s another reason they were able to possess him.’
This is not a tabloid story, but rather an engrossing tale about the mystery of life and death in Japan, a culture whose outward atheism is entirely misleading. You might think you can explain all this by saying that these masses of people were psychologically traumatized and hallucinating. But if that’s the case, how do you explain the case of Rumiko Takahashi? I’m not going to give any details here, because I want you to read the whole electrifying thing.
Then let’s discuss. There’s a lot here to challenge atheist and Christian ideas alike.