Kenny’s Strange One-Off Experiences

My friend Kenny doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but even she can’t offer a scientific explanation for her experiences. Perhaps you can help?

Story 1: Footsteps from Below

Kenny lived on top of her family’s store. She tended to sleep late and liked to read in the kitchen. There have been times when, in the middle of the night, she’d hear the shuffling of slippered feet coming from the empty store below, as well as the clink of a spoon against a coffee cup from the shop’s dirty kitchen. There was no reason for anyone to be in the store in the middle of the night, and no one else was awake, so she’s not sure who’s responsible for making the noises.

There was a mirror in that same kitchen. One night, Kenny was brushing her teeth when she felt a malevolent presence staring at her from behind. She looked at the mirror but couldn’t see anything. She turned around, and there was nothing. She could still feel the presence though, staring angrily at her until she finished brushing her teeth. Perhaps it didn’t like her brand of toothpaste?

Story 2: An Unexpected Visitor

Kenny was alone in her room one night when she noticed a distinctly human-shaped shadow by her window. When she blinked, it was gone. She’s not sure how someone could have climbed to the second floor of her house, peeked into a ledge-less window, and disappeared in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, it’s only happened once.

Story 3: Cold Hands

Kenny was awakened one night by a heaviness in her chest and the feeling of cold hands around her throat. She tried her best to move but couldn’t. She could only lie there helpless as the unseen forces’ grip grew tighter and tighter, and a voice whispered, ‘Hinahanap ka’–we’re looking for you–next to her ear. After that, the force lifted and she could move again. She’s been reading up on sleep paralysis ever since and has yet to find a scientific explanation that corresponds to her experience.

She’s also once woken to find herself standing beside her sleeping form. Her immediate thought was she was having an out-of-the-body experience, and that she should return right away to prevent something else from possibly taking over. She woke up soon after.

 

Photo from Pexels.

True Supernatural Stories: Rashid Shares Islam’s Take on the Supernatural

My name is Rashid. I’m Muslim, and the occult never really interested me but I believe that I’ve had some experiences that Islam cleared up. I remember when I was (about two), I remember getting picked up (by an adult) and carried over the shoulder and behind, reptilian beings would be running towards me. That’s the earliest I can remember.

They say that kids are a lot more sensitive to these types of things than adults, so I take that as something that’s not imagination. It was there. I just didn’t know how to explain it at that time. Nobody can challenge my experience because that’s mine. I’m just sharing it. They’re iffy because it’s a taboo subject. It’s not something that people want to talk about openly because it’s not a normal occurrence. Who wakes up and, ‘Okay. Today I’m going to meet some ghosts.’ Nobody. It’s usually, ‘What the hell?’ And that’s what happened to me.

I put everything aside until I had a spiritual awakening. I became Muslim. In Islam, we believe that there are three conscious beings created by God. It’s the angels, the djinn, and us.

The angels are made out of pure white light. They have consciousness but they don’t have free will. They just serve God. The djinn, they’re conscious and they have free will.

The Djinn

The djinn belong to the world unseen… They see us but we don’t see them. The good ones leave you alone. The bad ones are there to strike fear and mislead human beings. And when they do that, that’s what you call shayatin, or demons, singular form shaitan, similar to the word satan. Everything that causes you to fear (something) other than God is a shaitan. The sahitan can disguise themselves as dead relatives or people from different periods, so that explains why a lot of people think they saw their dead relatives. It’s not their dead relative. We believe that God doesn’t allow that to happen. When somebody dies, God takes the soul and it doesn’t dwell lost. It’s hhis time. There’s no such thing as he died too early. No. It’s his time.

From what I know, there are three species of djinn. Qareen, which is either assigned to you or born with you, and their job is to whisper bad things. You know how they show you in the cartoons there’s the devil and the angel? It looks like you. It knows all your actions, it basically whispers all the bad thoughts to you.

There’s the ghoul (pronounced hool), where the English language gets the word ghoul from. Usually these are the unexplainable horrid semi-human or not human type of apparitions that they see. Tiyanak, for example, or aswang. If you manage to see something that flies up in the air that’s a mixture of human and not, that’s a ghoul.

The third kind is called the ifreet. They’re strong. These are poltergeists. They carry stuff around. They’re the ones who make it seem that somebody moved something.

The worst kind is the actual shaitan, a demonic entity. The Koran says, ‘and the devil flows though the human being like blood flows through the veins.’ And this is where you get possessions. Some Islamic scholars say that these species could mate and produce offspring that are mix trait. Half ifreet half ghoul, for example. That’s according to some Islamic scholars.

Djinn or No Djinn

There are ways to tell if there’s a djinn in the house. For example, your name is being called and there’s nobody in the house, it means they can replicate sound.

Another thing is if you’re familiar with what shadow people are–they’re djinn. Islamic scholars say djinn don’t usually show themselves but if they were to show themselves, it’s in the form of a black mist. But you see, that’s the worst you’ll ever see of them as Muslims because the one who submits himself to God doesn’t see anything horrible from his creation. So–no offense–it’s usually the non-Muslims who are going to see them… Maybe that explains why before I became Muslim, I would see them vividly, as opposed to now.

Nowadays, my experiences are mostly where places are negative, I can sense the vibe and if somebody hates on me and either they gave me the evil eye or they really mean to harm me using black magic, for example, then it really manifests. You feel really sick, as if something’s coming out of you. You don’t know if you want to throw up or poop and you feel like there’s a crawling ache all over your body and you know right away that it’s not because I tired myself out. It’s like somebody wants me to die. It just feels that way. There’s prayer and verses from the Koran to counter this. That’s how I take it out of me.

They exist and sometimes they can harm you, like really harm you.

The proof of that is the Hadith, the saying of the Prophet Muhammad, ‘When the baby is born, Satan is jealous, so he pinches the kid, that’s why they cry.’ The first cry is because of that.

There was this one night that our yaya dreamt of a man carrying my eldest girl by the leg and my baby girl was drenched and muddy and he was taking her out the window. The yaya dreamt that she leapt up and ‘Hey!’ And he drops my daughter and he jumps out. The next day, my baby’s down with a very bad cold, stuffy nose, I can’t get up type cold as if she was soaked somewhere.

The Evil Eye

What do you know about bati? You don’t know who has the evil eye. (Not everyone knows they have the evil eye.) They could be combing themselves in the mirror and thinking, ‘Ang gwapo mo,’ then uuugh. It happens. You know the biggest cause of that? Jealousy. Ungratefulness. Not to dog on anybody, but it’s a known fact that in this country, a lot of people are like that, so it’s very ripe for it. Thats what bati is.

The Prophet Muhammad says, ‘Verily the eye is real. It can bring a down from on top of a mountain, so always seek refuge from the evil eye.’ What led to him saying this was there was a companion of his, you know back in the day they didn’t really have bathrooms? He was walking down the street. He chanced upon another companion of the prophet Muhammad bathing. Tapos napansin niya macho. He does, ‘What a beautiful body!’ Boom! The guy falls down, convulsing. Is it part of our topic? Absolutely, because it’s part of a world unseen.

You have that gut feel? Maybe I’m afflicted–that’s basically how you tell. Hwag ka namang praning, butt if that’s your gut feel, that’s your gut feel. According to the Hadith, the person (with the evil eye) has to take a shower and the water that he used to take a shower, pour it over you. Or you have to just pray if you don’t know who gave it to you. That’s usually what happens nowadays because even if we knew who, would you like somebody’s soap scum on you?

The beauty of Islam is, to counter that, ‘Ang gwapong bata,’ you have to say, ‘May Allah bless him/ her.’ That counters the evil eye.

(Someone who realizes that he has the evil eye) should always be close to the company of knowledgable people in Islam, people who advise them to do good, people who advise them to pray properly, how to read the Koran properly, might mitigate risks. Basically, you have the magic formula. How many times did God say in the Koran, ‘Those of you who believe, do good and righteous deeds, and those of you who pray, those of you who give charity.’ Basically, he laid down the foundation of somebody who’s upright, that even the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, they were so upright that they would catch the djinn. They move very fast so can you imagine catching something that moves very fast? And these djinn who are so strong would feel helpless against them.

Don’t Poke the Bear

The paranormal is a serious subject in Islam. If you’re going to study it for the sake of knowing, go right ahead because it’s added knowledge, but don’t toy with it. Don’t play with Ouija boards. Don’t do Charlie, Charlie with pencils. Don’t stay in your room at night, lights turned off asking, ‘Is anybody here?’ and try to pick up EVPs. Don’t do that. Don’t download an app like SP7 Spirit Box and start playing with it because people did that and you know what? They started conjuring up other beings, other people aside from the ones they were calling… so I wouldn’t suggest you go that far.

Whatever your religion is, may that serve as a guide and as a shield for you to have clarity regarding this matter because this is actually very dangerous. But if you did have any type of experience of the paranormal… maybe that might shed light on why.

It’s not anything from the past, it’s not somebody’s soul, it’s another realm that if–like us, if we’re negative people, we attract negativity and we express negativity. It’s the same for them. If a place has a negative history to it, they’re attracted to that place. That’s why devils live in garbage heaps and comfort rooms. Negative places, that’s where negative djinns are, and if they want to express themselves, they’ll express themselves in a negative fashion.

And may this be a way for you t be a lot more aware and armed regarding that typeof situation. Know that it’s not anything from the past. It’s just another being trying to play around with you and if you let them, they will.

Islamic Exorcisms

Some djinns do fall in love with people. I’m sure you’ve heard of these stories where they invite you to their kingdom… that might be true, that might not be true. A lot of people get possessed because the djinn fell in love with the girl…

We do perform exorcisms. Our word for exorcism is Ruqya. Ruqya means ‘to get rid of something.’ You’re getting rid of something that latched on to you.

How it goes is you have to identify first if the person is possessed. There could be a hundred of them possessing somebody and that’s a bad bad bad situation.

Two, you encourage them to leave first. Tell them, ‘What you’re doing is wrong.’

Next is the rituals. One is reading from the Koran. There are other techniques like the exorcist takes a stick and hits the victim with it. The victim isn’t supposed to feel it. It’s the demon that feels the pain.

If you’re successful, they leave. Other techniques would be making them smell perfume, but basically, prayer, the Koran, this is what we use to cure the afflicted with these possessions.

Story 1: The Hag

When I was seven, our house in Green Meadows was made out of old houses–my mom had a fascination for old materials so let’s say a beam from an old house, she would get those beams and incorporate it into the house. So you have this different Lego pieces from different eras, I don’t know where they came from. Our front door had a bullet hole, they say from the Revolutionary War in the 1890s.
You know how you take a shower when you’re a kid, after dinner, there’s usually homework then you eat your dinner then you shower then you kissed your parents goodnight… I get out of my room, turn right, and I was heading to my parent’s room, I hear someone go ‘Psst.’
I look back. There’s a haggish lady. She goes, ‘Haaa!’
I run to my parents’ room, scared, accusing everybody, I think si manang Merly, the one who does our laundry is trying to scare me. She swears it wasn’t her. She says, ‘You can kill me right now, it wasn’t me.’
That was the worst one.

Story 2: The Really Fast Smoking Man

A lot of weird things would happen in that neighborhood. There were parts of that neighborhood that were very eerie, dark, moist, musty-smelling and creepy. There were places that were well-lit but as teenagers, you go around and you cause trouble.
My brother was going home one time from a friend’s house. He was smoking a cigarette. A guy comes up to him, ‘Can I borrow a light?’
He lights up, ‘Thank you.’
My brother takes a short cut home. The guy would have to go around two half blocks before he gets to our house. My brother cuts through. When he gets to our house, the guy is there by the gates of our house smoking a cigarette. My brother enters our house like, ‘Oookay.’
Story 3: Haunted Apartment

Our house sits on a property that used to be–you know the Marikina Files movie? The gory dead bodies all chopped up? That’s on our property right now. When it was newly built, some of the old residents in Marikina told me, ‘Your place, you know what? People would knock on the doors randomly. When you open the doors, nobody’s there.’
Or up to now, they’ll say stuff like, ‘Them kids running around.’ Because apparently, in the fifth floor, kids run around when there’s no one there, like late night.
Our unit is kind of like a highway. A sensitive lady that told us that they come in and out and sometimes, if they want to cause trouble, they will cause trouble. I have toddlers in the house–they can see things. My eldest kid woke up pointing at the mirror one night crying. We started reading those verses that are anti-this type of thing. That calmed him down. He went back to sleep.

 

Photo from Pexels.

True Supernatural Stories: Anna’s Ability to See the Other Side

When I put out a call for people willing to share their supernatural experiences, a friend immediately volunteered her mom, Anna, a gifted sensitive who later put her abilities to use as part of a supernatural research group in college. She shares her story. This interview was conducted with the help of her daughter.

Anna had been seeing things for as long as she can remember. “Ever since I was a child, it’s been normal for me to see things and I thought it was also normal for other people to see (them as well), she says. “(I’d see little people that I) thought were my playmates and I’d hear sounds in the night… (I was) around 10 or 11 when I realized that they weren’t your normal people that I would see, but it didn’t scare me. For me, it was like, ‘Oh, okay. I can see them and others can’t.'”

It was in college, where she got a degree in psychology, when Anna realized that there other people like her. “I was doing a research paper on euthanasia. We were supposed to interview a certain number of people and one had to be a priest. Somebody referred me to (renown psychologist and parapsychologist) Fr. (Jaime) Bulatao of Ateneo. When I went to see him, we automatically had a connection with because he’s also the type of person… that was very close to nature spirits,” she says. “When we were interviewing… I could see the entities that were with him. They were fairies or elves or dwarves because I could see lights around him like fireflies darting back and forth. He noticed that I couldn’t look him directly in the eye because my eyes would (be looking at the lights around him) so he asked me, ‘You see them?’ I didn’t know how to react because I was surprised. He told me that those were his bantay and that there were seven of them.”

Anna later became part of Fr. Bulatao’s group of students who would study the supernatural. She explains how supernatural entities appear to her. “Sometimes, (when) I… see ghosts that have been in an accident, I would see them (as they were when they passed)–like, if they had a head injury, I would see them with a head injury. But after a while… if I knew the person that passed on, I wouldn’t see them with… injuries anymore.  But I did see ghosts, especially those from accidents, that would have blood on their faces, on their bodies, that’s how I knew they would be from an accident.”

She gives an example, one of the many that her friends and loved ones have come to accept as part of her everyday experience. “There was one time along C5, it was late in the evening and it was bumper to bumper traffic so I did not know what was going on. I saw this man in shorts… on the right side of the overpass… He looked dazed. I knew he was a ghost. That’s when I knew there was an accident. The person I was with said, ‘What’s happening?’ I said, ‘There’s an accident.’ I know someone died because I was describing the guy I saw on the right side of the overpass. He was just holding his head. He was just standing there. After a few meters or so… we saw the accident. He was on a motorcycle, he had a very bad head injury, he had the same clothes I explained to my companion, and he had no helmet. I didn’t know who he was. They just appear out of nowhere.”

Not all the spirit she comes in contact with are random. Sometimes, they are of people she knew and loved. “Now for certain ghosts that have an affinity with me, there is automatically a connection when they want to communicate, like my sister,” she says. “I still see my sister every now and then. The last time I saw her was papa’s birthday. I felt papa on his birthday that’s why I told your siblings to sing. So we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for papa because I felt his presence but I didn’t see him. I saw my sister because she also wanted a happy birthday song for her, so we also sang for her.”

She goes on to explain her theory of why spirits look scary to many people that come across them. “Other people, if they see ghosts, it’s actually the fear inside of them that subconsciously makes them see what they fear most. That’s why the ghost comes out scary. Because unconsciously, the mind will always relate to the fact that this person is not alive, so automatically, you’d think that if he’s dead, he would come out a certain way—gaunt, looking pale and dead. 

“Sometimes, that’s what happens to people, which is why some spirits that would like to manifest themselves to the people that they love don’t like to show themselves, they just want you to feel that they’re there or they send out signs because they know that automatically, what will register in your mind is the fear of the presence of somebody who is not alive anymore.”

Her abilities, coupled with an encounter with her grandfather’s ghost (see story three), has changed her perception of what death is. “After that time, I had a completely different concept of death, that it’s passing through. It’s not… the end. Of course, you can’t physically touch or talk to the person but they’re there. They’re now in a different dimension,” she says. “Whenever you miss somebody that has passed on, it’s because that connection transcends the physical side of living. That’s the connection that love has, so it’s abundant that it’s stronger than not being physically there. When a loved one has passed and you’re doing something and suddenly out of the blue you just remember them and you miss them, it’s because they’re beside you, and the part of you that receives that particular connection automatically misses them because you want to see them, you want to hold them, you want to know how they are. That connection of love, it’s always there. That’s how I understood death.

Anna is very open about her abilities and doesn’t think they’re anything to make a fuss over. “It’s something that you don’t have to be on TV for or be interviewed for during All Souls Day with scary music in the background…” she says. “It’s part of my life, so it’s not surprising if I see things in somebody’s house or I see people in somebody’s house that shouldn’t be there, it’s completely normal for me.” 

Story 1: The Silent Girl

When I was growing up in Bacolod, I would always wake at a certain time of the night because I would hear the chairs being pulled (from the dining table). I knew that there was nobody there because everybody was asleep. I would always go out of my room in the dark–I must have been or eight years old–and I would always sit at the top of the stairs and when I heard the sounds, I would go down towards the middle of the stairs and I would always look through the bannisters. I couldn’t see anything, but I would always listen. Whenever I felt something, I would always ask, ‘Are you there?’ Sometimes, it was just complete silence, (as if) the other person was trying to find out what I am. 

That went on for some time until one time, I said, ‘Are you there?’ and I heard a faint ‘yes’ in Ilonggo. And I heard that person say, ‘Come here,’ so I went to the stairs and sat at the very top. There was a little girl three steps down. She was holding onto her knees but she was sitting down. I said, ‘Come up here beside me,’ patting the place beside me. She didn’t answer. After a while, she said, ‘You come down.’ So I moved down–you know how you move down without standing up but you just move your butt down?–and then she was right beside me. I couldn’t see her face but I could tell she was angry. I knew she was dead.  We just sat there, then I told her, ‘I have to sleep.’ She said, ‘I can’t sleep. I don’t sleep.’ So I said, ‘Do you want to sleep now?’ Then she disappeared. After that, I went up to sleep. I remember that vividly, even the sound of her voice. 

After that time, there would always be a knock on the door and I always knew that she was there, and we would always end up on the stairs, just sitting there.  We didn’t even talk. It was like she just wanted somebody there to be with her. 

Later, I realized that sometimes, if there are negative spirits in a house, they will (negatively) affect the members of the household. I remember that we had a relative that, whenever he would go to the house, would always end up shouting at people and getting angry, but whenever he was out of the house, he wasn’t like that. Then he said he didn’t want to go to the house anymore because he said there’s a presence (there). At that time, I did not understand because for me, at that time, that presence was my friend. She later disappeared and we moved out of the house, so I don’t know what happened after.

Story 2: The Italian Priest


When I was around 10, I got German measles. It was a bad case so they decided to take me to the hospital. My mom decided to put me there because she was a nurse and she would be able to better watch over me. Most of the time, I was alone because they put me in the ICU. I remember that I liked my room because whenever I opened the window, I would see the morgue. It was something to do because I was bored there. I couldn’t go out because I was infectious. Every time I’d hear the ambulance come in, I knew that somebody’s dead, so I would always look out of the window. 

Once evening, I fell asleep early and when I woke up, I saw somebody by the door. The door of the hospital was one of those doors that had a see-through glass window so that the nurses could always check on you. There was a man there. He was gaunt. He was a foreigner and he was kind of old. I waved at him. There was no response. He was just there by the door, looking at me. I said, ‘Are you sick, too?’ 

There was no reply, so I thought maybe he was shy. I was bored so I just kept on talking and talking. I said, ‘I have to sleep now.’ 

I turned around because my pillow fell on the other side of the bed. I got my pillow back and when I looked back to see if he was there, he was in the room. There was a chair by the side of the bed. He was garbed like some kind of a monk–those long robes tied with a rope at the waist, so I thought he was a priest. I said, ‘Are you doing your rounds? Do you think I’m going to die? Is that why you’re here?’ 

He said, ‘That’s not for me to decide.’ He had an accent which seems now that he was Italian. 

This went on for several nights. At a certain time of the night, I knew he was coming to visit me. It never occurred to me that he never opened the door. All that I really remembered was that he was there and I would have somebody to talk to because my mom was on the graveyard shift. 

One night, one of the nurses said, ‘How come you’re still awake?’ 

I asked, ‘Am I going to go out of the hospital na?’ 
She said, ‘Yes, soon.’ So I asked, ‘Where is my friend, the priest? I want to say goodbye.’ 
She said, ‘What priest?’ I said, ‘The priest that visits me every night.’ 

I explained what the priest looked like and the nurse and the doctor just stared at each other and they told my mom because apparently, there was a priest that was there but a long time ago that fitted the description of the man that was visiting me and that man had already died. 

And so the following morning, there was a priest that wasn’t dead that was blessing the room, saying all these Latin incantations, and spreading holy water because they said that that priest shouldn’t be there because he was long time dead already. I still remember vividly his face up until now.
Story 3: Lolo’s Last Words


After my grandfather passed away, we gathered in the house he was interred in Talisay. All the cousins were there. I remember waking up at past midnight because somebody was touching my hand. When I opened my eyes, there was this figure. I said, ‘Papang Giro?’–that’s what I called my lolo. 

He said, ‘Come with me.’ I didn’t understand the concept of death then. I was young. But I was holding his hand and we went to where his coffin was. He said, ‘Who’s in there?’ 
I said, ‘You.’ 
He said, ‘That’s not me anymore.’ And he said, ‘This is me now.’ And that’s when he said, ‘You take care of your parents and your sister, you love each other.’ He said, ‘I have to go.’ 
I said, ‘Where are you going?’ 
‘I have to go somewhere far but I’ll see you again someday,’ he said in our dialect, ‘I’m done here so I have to go.’ 
He made the sign of the cross on my forehead then I felt really really sleepy and the following morning, they all found me asleep at the foot of the coffin. Nobody knew how I got there. That, I remember vividly. 
Artwork by Samie Carvalho.

True Supernatural Stories: So many strange things happen to Maan she just takes them for granted now

Weird things tend to happen to Maan, so much so that they’ve learned to just roll with it now.

Do you believe in the supernatural?

I spook easily. I can’t sleep with the lights out. I guess I have been experiencing things since childhood, but I didn’t think that they were supernatural at the time. My dad has his third eye open, he sees dead people. One tried to choke him when he was confined at a hospital for surgery. For this, I am glad that I can only feel them most of the time. I only saw one spirit, and I never want to see one again. So, yes, I believe in the supernatural.

Being a believer in science, how would you explain these encounters?

Since we are a Catholic family, and I am a lifelong product of Catholic schools, I am supposed to subscribe to the fact that there is an afterlife, but also that after life, we are supposed to go somewhere and not linger. I guess my interpretation of spirits that do stay behind is that they have unfinished business or do not even know that they are still around and scaring the heck out of anyone they encounter. Or maybe they just like it here, who knows? My arm hairs are actually standing on end as I type this, so I guess someone is reading over my shoulder. Great.

I believe that there are good spirits too. I talk to them sometimes, asking for guidance, help, or good luck. I think whatever vibes you send out to the universe is what determines whatever/whoever you attract — good vibes and you get the good ones by your side, send out the opposite and well, you’d better get yourself a bunch of St. Benedict medallions, stat.

Story One: The Mystery of the Five Peso Coins

P5 coins began dropping from out of nowhere for no apparent reason. This has happened to me thrice already. Twice in my room, once in the bathroom. So much for privacy. I would hear a coin drop and I would check to see where they fell from–once just beside my bed, a bed with nothing near it, not even a side table; another from the foot of bed, from a box that my fan is placed on top of. There would be no reason for me or anyone in the house to put money there. The bathroom one–while I was getting ready to take a bath, a coin fell on the tiles from my pile of clothes, and I don’t have pockets.

Story Two: Remote Remote Control

Whenever I am in a hotel room by myself, I make it a point to leave the lights on and leave the TV on a 24-hour cable channel for company. I was on a staycation at a hotel, and my room had two twin sized beds even though I was by myself. I distinctly remember channel surfing before I went to sleep because Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network were just showing reruns. I am very sure that I fell asleep with the remote beside me. I woke up the next morning and was looking for the remote to try and watch the news before I go down for breakfast and the remote control was on the other bed.

Story Three: No Photos, Please

I was traveling with friends and we were taken to the Diplomat Hotel in Baguio. Outside the ruins is a nice garden with all these flowers in bloom. I told my friend Lester to take my photo and handed him my iPad. I stood there for some time but he kept telling me that the camera wouldn’t work. He kept pressing the button, and it wouldn’t click. This took three tries, so I told him “wait, let me check”. As soon as I move out of the frame, the camera clicks, and all I got was a photo of my sleeve as I walked towards him. When we got back, I posted the photo on facebook and tell the funny story. A friend who has a third eye open commented that he saw an American-looking lady in the background a few feet away from where I was supposed to have stood.

Story Four: White Lady

I read about bangungot, or that dream Filipinos have where they feel paralyzed and this pressure on their chest where they can’t breathe. I think it is not a dream but a state between sleeping and wakefulness. I experienced it for myself with the bonus of seeing a faceless lady in white hovering beside my bed. I knew I wasn’t asleep because I was able to get up and switch on the light, and she disappeared. I remember calling on Mama Mary to protect me and that was when I felt able to move again. Then I hung a medallion of St. Benedict on my bedpost and prayed for his protection. I was in college at the time, and thankfully it never happened again.

 

Photo from Pexels.

 

 

Sleeping Outdoors is Underrated

I know very few outdoor people. Except for the few campers and mountaineers, most of my friends are city folk, not comfortable unless they’re in a room with four walls and air-conditioning. I don’t blame them. I’m not an outdoor person, either.

The one and only time I went camping was in grade five, when the girl scouts camped overnight on school grounds. We slept in tents and had a bonfire, and while it was fun, the heavy tent and the effort made in pitching it put me off camping. Plus, it was a heavy canvas tent and the Philippines is a tropical country, which meant heavy condensation inside, resulting in the amplification of, well, smells. I think it was this, more than anything, that turned me off. I did like the sleeping outdoors part, though, and I feel that I don’t do it enough.

The last time I got the opportunity to spend the night in the open air was on a group trip to Villa Escudero. My friend’s boyfriend was in town and he invited us to vacation with them. We stayed in a villa whose porch overlooked the river. While my friends shared the bedroom, I decided to spend the night on the porch. We moved a spare mattress next to the bamboo railing. My corner claimed, I proceeded to refuse to move from it, getting up only for dinner and bathroom breaks. I was quite excited to be spending the night outdoors, next to the river. I’ve heard stories about how the resort’s surroundings are enchanted, and I was hoping to experience something like that. Long story short, I didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary, though I did have a great night.

I loved how quiet and serene it was. I loved that there was a constant breeze from the river, and how the trees and shrubs kept everything cool, despite it being the middle of summer. I loved how the light deepened into darkness, then lightened into morning. I loved how with the light came birdsong, soft at first, getting louder as more birds woke and joined in. What I did not like were the mosquitoes, but a bug patch on the back of my shirt–the one with cute animal designs they use on kids–quickly fixed that. Also, no weird smells.

I woke early, had breakfast, then switched to the hammock to sleep some more. Yes, I was on vacation with friends, but this was the group of introverted friends who agreed that going on vacation meant getting away from people, and sometimes, ‘people’ also meant each other.

Would I recommend sleeping out in the open? Yes. As long as you bring a mosquito patch and are sure you aren’t near anything wild or poisonous.

I’m looking forward to spending my next night outdoors. Yes, the porch of a cottage doesn’t count, but I’ve come to accept that that’s as close to nature as I’m willing to get.

%d bloggers like this: