Necro Manila: The White Man and the White Lady

The spirit world permeates our reality. Material barriers such as locks, gates, and walls cannot keep it out. Spirits do not discriminate by race, religion, or status as we mortals do. They follow their own code, their own criteria in choosing those who they show themselves to. Rich or poor, weak or powerful, foreigner or native, these labels may no longer matter to ghosts. What they do sense, is a certain sensitivity to their kind, a spiritual kinship perhaps, or a defiance against their existence that they are only to willing to refute. But what is most likely, as those in the real estate business would say, is that what really matters is location, location, location. As the succeeding story will attest, it turns out that no matter how exclusive the enclave, as far as ghosts are concerned, there are no exceptions.

John Dee and Edward Kelley evoking a spirit

John Dee and Edward Kelley evoking a spirit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An American businessman moved into a grand mansion in a prestigious Manila neighborhood. A logical, practical, educated man, he had never given much credence to the supernatural. That was until he found himself unexpectedly sharing his home with an unwelcome tenant.

The household staff was composed of several maids, handymen, and guards. Amongst themselves, they would often talk about seeing a lady in white, a spectral vision gliding through the mansion in the twilight hours. Gradually, their employer began to comprehend snippets of his staff’s conversations, and become conscious of their shared fear of walking around the house and its grounds while alone at night. His initial response to all this was to dismiss these notions as irrational fantasies, probably the result of overactive imaginations at best, or drunken or drugged hallucinations at worst.

But then the haunting got personal. His first encounter with the spirit was a relatively low-key incident. It was late evening and he was taking a shower after a long day at work. As he was in the middle of rinsing himself, he felt an eerie presence, as if someone were close by, watching him. He turned off the water and slowly turned to look at the frosted glass walls of the shower enclosure. Through the hazy steam and cloudy glass he could make out a human form, vaguely female, standing just outside the shower. He walked toward the figure and pushed open the door, expecting to see a maid, and getting ready to berate her for disturbing his privacy. But he found nobody there. Exiting the bathroom, there was nobody to be seen in either the hallway or the adjacent rooms. The next morning, despite his thorough and intimidating interrogation of the maids, none of them would admit to having lurked around that area of the house the previous night. They all stuck to their story of having already gone to bed by that time.

日本語: ホワイトレディ

日本語: ホワイトレディ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His second encounter with the spectre was much less ambiguous, and a lot more disturbing. One evening, as he was relaxing in his living room, he looked through the French windows out onto the garden. And there he saw standing a woman, very pale and dressed all in white. Her face was hidden by her long, wavy dark hair. She began to walk slowly across the lawn, towards a fish pond located at the other end of the garden. As she approached the fish pond, the woman knelt, then started to creep on all fours. At the edge of the pond, she bent her head down to the water, and began lapping it up with her tongue like a dog. The man watched her, transfixed by the chilling scene, wondering if and when the white lady would notice him. She must have sensed his thoughts. With her thirst finally sated, she slowly raised and turned her head, her wet face was now visible, and her menacing stare was directed straight towards the man who had been watching her. Then as suddenly as she had appeared, she faded into nothingness.

From then on, the American businessman began to think a bit more openly about paranormal phenomena and illogical concepts, and be more accepting of the regular parade of preposterous events on display here in the Philippines.

-text by Jude Defensor, some rights reserved. first published under horror column Necro Manila in Manual magazine, 2006

Necro Manila: The Headless Mother

Dianna's Eye

Dianna’s Eye (Photo credit: dalai_alana)

Ruel Ruiz is a gifted psychic and a lifelong scholar of the paranormal and supernatural. His special abilities and expertise in the arcane are put to good use in his role as head psychic of the hit TV show Nginiiig. Ruel grew up in a family of witches and healers, the cursed and possessed would come in and out of their door, and the spirit world was something that was openly referred to and acknowledged. And yet, despite his unorthodox upbringing, Ruel was not immune to terror. Here he tells us the story of his first horrific encounter as a young child, an event that helped shape him into the psychic he is today.

When he was in the 3rd grade, Ruel started going to this school located in a busy neighborhood of Manila, near the old San Lazaro racetrack. At the school, he began to see disturbing apparitions, such as a large cat, as big as a person, prowling around the campus. Having been warned about these dark spirits by his family, he paid no mind to the demon. But a more gruesome sight was in store for the young Ruel.

Assigned to cleaning duty, Ruel stayed after school one afternoon. Again, the cat demon appeared to him and seemed to want to lead him into the comfort rooms. Ruel followed the beast into the deserted toilets. Once inside, he felt drawn to one cubicle in particular. He found himself walking towards the door and opening it. What he saw resting on the bowl was the bloody, disembodied head of a woman. And her wide open eyes were looking straight at him. Ruel freaked out and ran screaming. This was the first time he had seen a vision that disturbing. The next day he no longer wanted to return to the school. This prompted his mom to go and talk to his teachers. She then found out that the ghost was a well-known presence, and that even some of the teachers admitted to having seen or felt it. Ruel’s mom then reassured him that it was a harmless ghost and told him to go back to school and pay the spirit no heed.

But the ghost would just not leave him alone. Even during the daytime, he would see a headless woman walking around the second floor of the school. Ruel assumed that it was her head that he had seen in the toilet. An asthmatic, Ruel had to go out of the classroom in order to take his medication each time he would suffer from an asthma attack. Once when this happened, Ruel saw the headless ghost walking right past him. Other students and teachers would talk about their experiences with the ghost too, reassuring Ruel that he wasn’t crazy.

The hauntings were tolerable until the day that the ghost followed Ruel home. He had just arrived at their house when he again saw the headless woman appear in front of him. Since she had yet to cause him any real harm, Ruel decided to ignore the specter. Bedtime came and the lights were turned out. Ruel always used to think of the mosquito net that enclosed his bed as his security blanket. He would feel safe as long as he was lying in bed protected by the net. That night, at around 3 in the morning, Ruel began to hear a scratching sound. It went scritch-scritch, on the floor, like somebody was polishing the wood with a coconut husk. Ruel tried to ignore it at first, thinking that it could have just been the ghost of his grandmother, a benign spirit who was merely making her presence felt. But the scratching sound began to grow louder and closer. When it came to the foot of his bed, he couldn’t help but open his eyes. And there stood the headless woman. She was standing in his room, beside his bed, just outside the mosquito net. She then came closer, reached out her hands, clutched the end of the mosquito net, lifted it up, and poked her neck inside. She leaned over Ruel as he lay in bed, so close he could see the bones of her spine sticking out of the stump that was her neck. Ruel wanted to scream, but no sound came from his throat. With his body, he rocked his bed violently to make some noise. This eventually woke his mom, who rushed into his room to ask what was wrong. By the moment she got to Ruel’s side, the woman had vanished.

Ruel begged his mom to keep him home from school. But she told him that he needed to go. However she would go with him to take care of things. The next day, together Ruel and his mom searched the campus for the spot where the woman met her violent end. This place was their handle, their point of connection to her spirit. Ruel watched as his mom started talking to the area around this spot. Finally they discovered that the woman once had a child, who had suddenly disappeared and was now assumed dead. She continued to search for her missing child even past her death. And in her search, she had targeted Ruel. After a while his mom turned to him and told him to say his piece, and to ask the woman to trouble him no more. After their discourse with the troubled spirit, she finally stopped haunting him. At the time Ruel wondered, if the child was already dead, then why couldn’t his mother’s ghost find him? Ruel would learn in due course that the spirit world doesn’t work like that. The souls of people who died in different times and places do not get to cross each other’s paths. Only souls who share the moment of death are able to come together. Ruel’s mom then began training him in the psychic arts, so that he would come to understand and no longer be frightened by these phantoms. Now, he passes on this knowledge to other people who are sensitive to the shadow world that envelops us all.

-text by Jude Defensor, some rights reserved, first published under horror column Necro Manila in Manual magazine, 2006

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