By Sherry Tenorio
Spine-chilling ghost stories are fun. Admit it. We Pinoys love the thrill of getting goosebumps from hearing spooky tales. The more haunting it sounds, the better. It’s even best if the storyteller is the one relaying a personal experience. Even doubters would be all ears listening in to these extraordinary, almost urban legends.
These stories are definitely strange but ghost stories are quite more common than they seem. Lots of people attest to various unearthly incidents all throughout the world. People from different cultural and religious beliefs also claim the same thing – that at one point or another, they (may) have experienced the presence of an unearthly being.
On the other hand, modern and classic arts continue to shape the image of ghosts. Hollywood films like Ghost, Sixth Sense, The Ring or Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth, even Arabian Nights have created ghosts in different forms. Ghosts can look handsome like Patrick Swayze and Bruce Willis, as vengeful and gory like Sadako, or as bubbly and lovable as Casper. Eric Andaya, a member of UPAA-UAE, recounts a different image of these apparitions. He revealed that when he was eight years old, he began noticing shadows different than his own. Eric said that these “shadows” would appear in basketball courts, in his room, and on the streets. Though he stopped seing them, he somehow got accustomed to these “shadow creatures” for a long time, and always thought of them as ghosts.
Black or white, real or not, there is only one way to believe. As the old adage goes, “to see is to believe.” For now, here are some ghost stories from Pinoys in the UAE. Are these real supernatural encounters of just figments of a highly fertile imagination? You be the judge.
Is there a ghost in my car?
A month ago, Mary Santos, a marketing executive in Dubai, was driving through Financial Centre Road at around two in the morning. She came from a movie at the Dubai Mall, and was exuberant from spending time with her friends. As she passed the exit to Hatta/Oman Road, on the way home to International City, she noticed that the road was bleaker than usual. There were no other cars and the lamp lights were not as bright as they normally were.
All of a sudden, she felt an eerie gust of cold wind and saw the vague shadow of a man in black standing at the road’s pavement. Goosebumps dominated her body as she realized that she might have just seen a ghost. Her frenzied mind prevented her from looking at the car’s center mirror, scared to think that the ghost might be sitting right at back of her car. Thankfully, as she reached the end of the exit, there were more cars on the road and brighter street lights. Her racing heart and her frightened mind then returned to reality. Her logic dismissed the fact that she had just seen a ghost. She rationalized that she was just imagining things. Yes, it could just be an illusion, a product of imagination; but, it could also be real, since her body involuntarily sensed and reacted towards the stimulus. Until now, Mary remains half-hearted about the incident.
Who’s knocking at our office door?
While waiting for her ride to an evening event at Atlantis, photographer Grace Guino killed time at her office in Dubai Media City. She was focused on Facebook when she heard a knock at the door. All alone in the office at almost nine, Grace wondered who could that be. She saw the shadow of a man against the office door’s opaque center window and thought it was the security guard. She went to open the door only to find no one. She was shocked. The office corridor was clear, and there wasn’t even a sound of steps moving away from the office. She blurted, “Minumulto yata ako!” Grace closed the door, and tried to comprehend what happened. Without any other explanation that she could think of, she concluded that it was definitely a ghost.
What is wrong with the washing machine?
Living in a shared flat in Deira meant living with a number of housemates. That fact did not bother Len, May, Carla and Mickey as long as they stick together. Their room was among the three other rooms in the Muraqqabat flat. Almost 12 people shared one living room and one kitchen-slash-laundry area. The washing machine was placed beside the kitchen door to make room for kitchen space. One weekend, Len went to do her scheduled Friday laundry. Her timing should be from 10am-12pm. May would follow her, then the next would be from the other room. She began her domestic chore as usual – putting the clothes in the machine, then soap and fabric softener. After which, she went back to their room. After almost an hour, she went back to the kitchen to check the laundry. Her two other housemates were there, eating breakfast. She said hello but they did not look very happy. Apparently, they had a hard time opening the kitchen door because the washing machine was blocking the door. They reminded her not to move the machine from where it is originally placed. She explained that she did not do that. Then, she continued her second batch of laundry and waited in her bedroom. After a while, her other roommates knocked on her door. Apparently, they want to go inside the kitchen but they could not because the machine was blocking the door opening, yet again. She explained that she did not move the machine. They went around the flat to ask for help to open the door and to find out who actually moved the machine. No one admitted to doing it, so they were all creeped out when someone just nonchalantly remarked, “may multo siguro.” It was scary but the easiest explanation. The flatmates dismissed the idea, laughed at what happened, but deep down inside, Len shuddered at the thought of possibly living in a houseful of people and ghosts.
Did I forget to turn the bathroom lights off?
On a business trip in Oman, a young Pinoy professional working in a creative agency in UAE, came back to his hotel room exhausted from the day’s hectic schedule. It was almost past 10. After lounging for a bit, he went to the bathroom for his nightly regimen. Afterwards, he turned the TV on, got in bed, and lulled himself to sleep. At around 3am, he woke up and realized that he forgot to turn off the TV and the bathroom lights. So, he turned them off, and kept the bedside lamp on. He tried to sleep again but couldn’t. He was tossing and turning when he saw light coming from the bottom of the closed bathroom door. He did not bother about it but when he still couldn’t nod off, he got up to turn the bathroom light off. He was not able to close the bathroom door but he was sure that the lights were finally off.
Back in bed, Clark closed his eyes and willed sleep. After, some thirty minutes of trying, he opened his eyes and caught a glimpse of what seemed like a man standing by the bathroom door – the image was gone in a second. Then, Clark realized that the bathroom lights were still on. Chills ran all over his body as he remembered, without doubt, that he already turned those lights off several times. Tired, sleepy and scared, Clark did not know what to do. He went out of the room, had a chat with the reception, and tried to forget what happened. He returned back to his room at sun rise. Whenever Clark would look back at that episode, he would always try to analyze it in the most logical way. But, he was honest to say that his senses knew better than his mind.
More Pinoy Spooky Stories
My husband and I previously lived in Jafflia, Satwa in Villa 49, a compound with 23 rooms mostly occupied by Filipinos. We lived in room 18 and at that time there was no electricity in the villa due to some issues with the baladiya, so all of us were looking for new accommodations. On the morning of the 27th February, we noticed our neighbor from room 22 moving their things out; there were about 10 of them in that studio type room. One of them was, Molong a quiet guy with long hair. He’s been my neighbor for almost a year. He was gathering his laundry. They moved most of their things and at around 5:30PM that same day, my other neighbor and I passed by room 22 and saw it was already locked. We assumed that everybody left.
I came back to the villa around 11PM that night. As I approached the gate, I saw a neighbor talking with this guy who used to live in Room 22 which was vacated that day. He was trembling and told us that when he went back into their room to get the stuff he left behind, he saw that there was a key still attached to the keyhole. He opened it and went into the darkness. He used his mobile phone for light but was startled as he saw a shadowy life-form hanging from the ceiling. He could not take a closer look as he got so scared. So he ran outside to ask for help.
I went immediately to my room to get an emergency light and with three other neighbors, we opened the door of room 22. It was pitch dark inside but as soon as we shone the emergency light, we saw a dead man hanging from the ceiling. It was Molong. His seemingly wet hair covered his face and there was a trace of blood on his lips. I couldn’t contain myself and screamed so loud. We immediately called the police; it was already around 12:30AM by the time the ambulance and the police arrived on the scene. Apparently, he had been dead from four to five hours already. They took the body around three in the morning.
After that episode, my husband and I were sleepless the whole time. It took us another week before we could transfer to our new flat. During those days, a lot of spooky things started to happen in Villa 49. At midnight, we would hear someone walking at the rooftop. Our neighbor also told us that she would hear the sound of someone dribbling a basketball even if there’s nobody in the hallway. We were positive that it was Molong because he loved dribbling the basketball when he was still alive. The weirdest part was, when we realized that the dead tree next to our villa, with its branches hanging down, actually looked like it was in the same position as Molong when we found him hanging.
He looked exactly like that dead tree when he died. He hanged himself for reasons no one could explain and no one would ever know.
Ching Elizalde-Egnora, Dubai
I used to live in one of the villas in Hor Al Anz. Our room is located at the top floor of the villa. From the steps, you will find two rooms on your left side, two bathrooms on your right, and in front is the corridor leading to the balcony and our kitchen. I believe everything on that floor was not really part of the house and was just added for added income to the owner. In fact, you have to step out of the balcony before you can enter our kitchen. Our kitchen is just a small room with two gas ranges on it. The sink is located just outside its doors.
One late night, I got hungry and decided to cook. That night was not particularly cold but I felt extremely uneasy, a shiver running up and down my spine like someone is watching me. I decided to brush the silly feeling aside and proceeded to cook my meal. As I was doing so, something, rather someone caught the corner of my eye. “She,” as I clearly recall was wearing a somewhat grayish shirt and a faded dark blue sweatpants with green lining on it. “She” stepped right in front of the sink. I felt like my head ballooned right then and there as I kept myself from panicking. I was telling myself rationally that it might just be one of the girls washing their plates or something. As the hairs on my arms started to rise, I stepped back from the stove and took a peek to see who’s there, when I realized that there is no one and if that someone will even “try” to hide behind the sink, she will fall to her death as the sink is located in the corner of the balcony. Good thing I got enough sense to turn the stove off and ran for my dear life passing by the sink and whoever it was that made her “presence” felt. When I got inside the room, my roommates told me about some ghosts on the other side of the house. The ghosts on the second floor as they told me are even tapping people on their shoulders when they are inside the washrooms brushing their teeth.
It might have been a blessing in disguise that we needed to shift accommodations, a couple of weeks after that incident. Much as I would like to get to the bottom of things, as I think the girl is Filipina, I would rather stay away from the place as far as possible. I could’ve lit a candle, but offered her a prayer instead, and requested her to not visit me again.
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