All Souls' Day is a day of remembering our departed loved ones. It is also a solemn feast for the Roman Catholic Church, during which prayers are offered for the souls in purgatory. With this belief comes superstitions and stories of the strange. Here are personal stories shared by members of Smart Parenting’s Parent Chat community on their brush with the unexplained.
Ghosts in photos Orbs or traces of light can be attributed to the flash bouncing from a reflective object (a broken glass or mirror) coupled with the movement of the photographer's hand. A mist on the lens or dust particles can cause a subject to be foggy. Still, many believe that ghosts and ghostly traces can be captured in photos.
Last summer, on our way to Baguio, our car broke down by the foot of a mountain right before midnight. It was totally dark when we took photos, but when we saw the prints, there were traces of bright, zigzag lights on the photo which weren’t there on the scene. - Vanessa Basilio-Liwanag, bank employee, Laguna
Someone once told me that I have psychic abilities.There was an incident where my husband called me from a warehouse. Throughout the call, I could hear a child's voice in the background shouting, laughing and sometimes crying. When I asked my husband, he said he didn't hear anything and that there's no child in that warehouse. On another occasion, my husband took me to that warehouse to check on the new arrivals. I saw a boy running up and down the stairs who smiled when he saw me, then turned back and disappeared. I didn’t think anything of it, as I thought he was the son of the caretaker. My husband took pictures of the items we could market, and before we left I checked the photos on his cellphone. There was a white shadow in the form of a boy in front of the office, when I was alone when the photo was taken. When we zoomed in, we saw the face of a dark man. Other photos showed a gloomy face that stared back at us. A psychic friend of mine went to that same warehouse and sensed the energy of a big, dark man, possibly a Kapre. She also saw the kid but couldn't tell the gender. - Weng Cortes, 28 years old , import consultant, Taguig City
Jaime Licauco, a popular figure in the field of the paranormal and author of the book Photographing Ghosts believes that though photographs can easily be manipulated digitally, vibrations of authentic photos can be detected by a person sensitive to such elements which the average person might not sense.
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Wandering Spirits and Ghost Visits Even in our modern world, hair-raising stories and experiences of spiritual beings still exist and remain a mystery. To the skeptics, however, it is considered merely a result of different evident physiological and psychological factors.
When my family moved back to the Philippines, we stayed in our townhouse which has been abandoned for 5 years. On our second night there, we heard a woman crying, but thought it was just the neighbor whom we would always hear fighting. One afternoon, our maid heard it from her bedroom, and that night my eldest and I heard it outside our bedroom door - and she was even trying to turn the knob. That morning there was a used plate in the sink and the towel was smudged with mud. We learned from our neighbors that a woman who lived at the last row of the townhouse had committed suicide and that her spirit moves from house to house, whichever is abandoned.That Sunday we immediately had our house blessed and we lived peacefully ever since. - Rita Aguila, 39 years old, fulltime mom from QC
It was my mother's wake at my grandparents' house and I had been trying to keep myself awake. When I couldn't hold it anymore, I went up to my grandmother's bedroom and promptly drifted off to sleep. Then I woke up and there was my mother holding my right wrist firmly with her left hand, dragging me up and telling me that I should get up, go down and sit in the receiving room. And so, I got up and hurriedly walked down the stairs, and slumped down on one seat, looking at my mother's coffin.
My grandma shook me awake, after horrified sympathizers told her that I had walked down the stairs with my eyes closed, muttering "Yes, mommy, I will go down now. Yes, mommy, please do not hurt my hand. I will not sleep anymore" (in Ilocano) and my right hand extended, as if someone was pulling me. My right wrist bore the mark of fingers that had held it tight. Those finger marks lasted several days and disappeared only when my mother was buried a week later. - Fe V. Ku-Gloria, Operations Manager and Chief Environmental Management Consultant
I have the gift of being able to sense beings who had already passed away. It started when I was a child, and I usually saw people or distant relatives whom I learn later on are already dead. This continued as I was growing up.
The first night we moved into our house, a dark man with red eyes appeared to me in the bathroom, saying we should move out because the house is his. I answered back that we won't. Soon, one after the other, each of my family member got sick. We burned incense and made noises and he never showed up again. - Mitch Maridel Carapatan, full time mom, Sta. Rosa Laguna
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I was living alone, reviewing for a big exam in a condominium unit in Pasay. I fell asleep and felt someone big and bulky embracing me. There was about only 5 inches of space, so he would've fallen off my bed unless he was floating beside me. I kept my eyes closed reciting the Lord's Prayer. He whispered a different prayer that made me lose focus and I started jumbling the words. I heard him chuckling at my mistake and weakness. I sang the prayer instead and felt his grip loosen. I sang it over and over, louder at every time until I can no longer feel his presence. I "cleansed" my unit by reading passages about strength and power from the Bible out loud to try to ban the spirit. Still traumatized, I waited for the sun to rise before I went to sleep. That incident never happened again so I guess my prayers and "exorcism" worked. - Zennia Barrion, lawyer, Pasay City
"Is There Really Such a Thing as Wandering Souls?" is a portion of Fr. Jose Francisco Syquia's book Exorcist Vol II. He explained that a particular judgement awaits every soul. They immediately go to heaven, hell or purgatory. No soul will keep wandering around the earth and wait to be told to leave. God loves and cares for us as mentioned in many passages in the Bible, and that He will not allow a person who dies to be in a state of confusion and drift in our world. The Bible mentions of the evil spirit which can disguise itself as the spirit of a dead person and deceive humans to communicate with them for a chance to mislead them.
Filipino Spirit Creatures Stories of Filipino elemental creatures is still alive today. City dwellers would pass it as folklore as it continues to be depicted in comic books and movies, but stories from the rural areas are still passed on by word.
I was about 5 or 6 years old when my playmates and I would frequently play outdoors. One time, I got very, very sick. My fever lasted 3 days but no medicine could cure me. I was then told by a manghihilot that I could have hit a dwende's dwelling (punso). I do remember seeing dwendes then, about 5 of them saying "hi" to me.
When I was pregnant, I saw a tiktik (also known as manananggal). I sprinkled the entire house with salt and I could still see it flying, all white and scary. I was told by folks in my place that it appears to other people as well and it sometimes takes the form of a dog. That's why all pregnant women in our place are very watchful. - Manilyn Gaspar, 26 years old, office employee, Manila
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We once rented an apartment in Cubao, and I always felt something weird about our place. Strange beings followed me, such as a big black barking dog and sometimes a curly-haired toddler. Once – just to see what would happen - I turned the TV off, and a minute later it turned back on by itself.
After I gave birth I feared for my baby that I often found it hard to sleep. One night, the windows opened, the curtains parted and I saw a stick moving towards our bed. I woke up my husband and asked my mother to sleep with us. The next morning, I saw the stick hanging by the window. An old lady neighbor said our house is filled with bad luck as there had been a number of people who died there before. My mother consulted with a manghihilot who said that the "being" did not harm me during and after my pregnancy because I smell pleasant to them. - Che Sindo, 36 years old, Novaliches QC, mommy of 4 kids
Pastor Hiram Pangilinan, author of the book Hula, Multo, Faith Healing ATBP, never believed such figures as a kid but got to experience it himself when he got involved in the ministry of spiritual warfare and deliverance. He believes that regardless of what they appear to be or how cute and friendly they are depicted on TV, they are spirits and not good spirits, at that, as they have evil intent. He further says that these enemies cannot be dealt with physically, and must be fought using spiritual weapons.
Poltergeist Last March, we moved to the apartment beside ours. We usually get up at 4 am everyday to prepare food for our catering business. One morning, as was the routine, I woke up the maid by calling her on the phone since her room was locked. She answered my call and said she'll be coming down, but then she took so long so we knocked and tried opening the door of her room but it remained locked and there was no answer. Then someone knocked on our main door and it was our maid who spent the night in our former unit. We hurriedly went upstairs to her room to find the door open. That apartment scared me so much we moved back to our old unit. - Rachelle Marie Villela, 26 years old, full time mother of 2 boys, Makati
I would sometimes notice the bathroom lights on after I just left and turned them off. One time, we were having lunch and my daughter heard her uncle, who just passed away, singing Christmas songs. His picture had also strangely been positioned sideways on the table even when no one moved it. - Jeniffer Oliveros Sumagpao, 33 years old, housewife, Alabang
My husband's aunt lives in an apartment I find eerie. There's a door at the 2nd floor that shuts close by itself. One time, my husband's cousin and I were having a conversation when that door suddenly closed. I answered "tuloy po kayo" but nothing happened. In the middle of our conversation, my companion sensed that someone sat on the chair near the door. I saw nothing and continued with our conversation until I saw the chair turn and move towards the room. I got so scared that I ran downstairs. - Maricel Rivera, 32 years old, legal secretary, Mandaluyong
"Spirits like these have their own powers. They can do a lot like move objects, imitate, even heal," says Pastor Joshua Benevides, an administrative pastor of Christ to the World church in Makati. "The help you get from these kinds, however, is temporary and does not bring you closer to God. Definitely it is not an act of someone who already passed away because it is written that people only die once and then face judgement."
Sources: For the ghosts in pictures: Philippine Daily Inquirer, ghostality.com Books: Exorcist Volume 2 Spiritual Battle Lines by Fr. Jose Francisco C. Syquia Hula, Multo, Faith Healing, ATBP by Ptr. Hiram Pangilinan Source Person: Ptr. Joshua Benavides of Christ to the World