The haunted | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

My then husband and I just moved to our new home, a modest two-bedroom affair with a small garden and garage that could barely fit our 8-year-old sedan.

While most newlyweds would be enjoying their honeymoon phase, my husband and I were already fighting like pros.

In hindsight, the spirits of the house seemed to have sensed this, and fed off on our negative energy.

The front door would sometimes strain against its locks, even in the absence of wind or some form of air vacuum.

My brother even claimed to have seen a shadow or two move behind the windows when he drove by. The funny part was, no one was at home when he did.

One morning, after a particularly huge fight which had me spending the night in my mother’s house, my husband called and asked me to come home. He told me that something was wrong with his computer.

When I arrived, he told me what happened: exhausted from the fight, he fell asleep in front of his computer. When he woke up, the word “hell,” complete with flames and red background, was written on his monitor.

“Are you sure you weren’t just playing ‘Diablo?’” I asked.

“No,” he shot back, his hair and eyes wild with fear and confusion, “no!”

I told myself that the guy’s on drugs, and proceeded to walk out. He then called out my name, “Gi-gina,” his voice shaking.

The lamp in the upstairs hallway was flickering, and we both knew it was unplugged.

Since it was one of those touch-powered things, we were annoyed by how sensitive it was, and decided to unplug it sometime after moving in.

I felt the fear creep up from my belly to my throat. My nape and back felt as if something cold was forcing its way through.

After a few seconds, I managed to find my voice and shout: “I command you, in Jesus’ name, leave this house and whoever dwells in it! Never come back! In Jesus Christ’s name, leave!”

I grabbed a Bible and read aloud Psalms of David, the first page it opened to. I was already shouting by then, and the words made me feel braver. Warmth returned to my body. The flickering stopped.

That didn’t stop us, though, from running out of the house and speeding away in our car. As we drove out, I looked at the windows and yelled, to no one in particular, “and stay out!”

I called two friends from my prayer meetings to help me bless the place later. The house became peaceful after that, but the marriage never was.

We moved to another house, but the place seemed haunted as well by the same entity. I now believe that malevolent spirits thrive on negative vibes. I’m happy to say that peace now reigns in my current home.—Gina Abuyuan, journalist and bar proprietor

Fisherman’s hat

I’ve never experienced, much less seen, ghosts in the Philippines. But it was a different case when I decided to work as an entertainer in Japan.

I’ve had three unforgettable encounters with ghosts there, one of which was even corroborated by my fellow performer, who also experienced it.

Seconds away from channeling Whitney Houston in a song-and-dance number, I took a peek backstage and noticed that only three tables were occupied. It was one of those slow nights.

As my team and I emerged onstage, I suddenly noticed an old man wearing a jacket and fisherman’s hat sitting in a corner. I didn’t notice him before. He was looking at us, but his thoughts seemed somewhere else. When I turned again, he was no longer there.

That same man, it turned out, reappeared some time later, not to me, but to one of my co-workers. It was closing time, but he managed to appear out of nowhere, said my friend, and without a word went in the direction of the restroom.

We were about to turn off the lights and head to our rooms upstairs, but my friend told us that there was still a customer who was probably inside the restroom.

After waiting for several minutes, we all decided to check the restroom. No one was there. My friend’s description of the man jibed with what I saw earlier.

It seemed the same man, or spirit, moved within the building because I saw him again months later, although vaguely, while I was preparing our meals upstairs. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a blurred image of a man wearing the same jacket and fisherman’s hat. He was headed to the laundry room.

My knees started to stiffen when one of my co-workers entered the kitchen and saw the same man. This time, said my coworker, he was partly hidden behind some clothes hanging on the clothesline inside the laundry room. I didn’t see him myself, but before we could say another word, we both ran to the nearest exit. It was like a scene from “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”

My last horror story happened while we were doing a “jazz walk” around the club. It was summer. As I was passing by the soundproof window area, I saw a girl with China chop hair wearing a winter-type grade school uniform floating by the window. Her head was bowed. Before I could do a double take, she vanished. Just like that.

In hindsight, I think that ghost sightings are pretty common in Japan because there are more cases of suicides and unexplained deaths there. I was afraid, but I tried to steel myself because I had work to do. Thank God the ghosts were benign. I never saw them again.—Chito de los Santos, designer


I share an apartment unit with my sister. My bedroom has a balcony overlooking what used to be an empty lot. Before long, a mid-rise building was built on that lot.

I guess one of the lot’s resident spirits was disturbed and decided to room in with me because I started experiencing some kind of presence in my room soon after.

I normally have a high tolerance for such things because I grew up fairly sensitive to the presence of entities. Since it wasn’t harming me, I simply learned to live with it.

The presence persisted. Sometimes I could even feel that somebody was walking inside my room. Okay lang.

What really frightened me was waking up with a start one night after feeling somebody give my bed a strong, solid kick. Of course, no one was there! I ran to my sister’s room and slept there for two weeks.

Then I realized that if I continue avoiding my room, I might not have a place to return to. The spirit might take over what used to be mine. That was when I seriously thought of seeking help from Tony Perez, the Spirit Questor.

He told me to talk to the spirit and give him some form of peace offering. Holding a bag of assorted candies, I mustered enough courage one night to return to my room and talk to the spirit.

I told the spirit that I own the room, but as my guest, he is welcome to stay or visit me. There’s no reason for us not to co-exist peacefully. As a peace offering and welcome gesture, I put the assorted candies in a bowl and left them in my room.

From time to time, I change the candies in the bowl. From then on, the spirit hasn’t bothered me. Sometimes the entity makes paramdam, especially when the candies are getting old.

I’m not afraid of the spirit anymore. In fact, I will miss him when I move to my own condo soon.  At one point, I was seriously considering inviting him to move in with me in my new condo so that I’d have someone to watch over my unit while I’m away.—Jojo Terencio, writer and publicist

‘Shadow friends’

My scary story has an American twist to it, as seen through the eyes of my youngest daughter, Anik.

My in-laws’ two-story house in Chicago was built in the 1900s. Apart from twin gables, it has a grand staircase next to a grandfather clock.

My husband James and I spent a few days there last December with our two girls Sab and Anik. One late evening, while James and I were huddled in the family room watching an old movie, I suddenly felt the urge to go the bathroom.

As I made my way, I was startled to see Anik, then three, still up and sitting by herself by the foot of the stairs.

I asked her why she wasn’t sleeping yet since it was almost midnight. She told me that her “shadow friends” want to play with her. I felt goosebumps run down my nape before I could manage to tell her that there was no one there.

She insisted and even told me that her “shadow friends are now looking at you.” I lost no time and grabbed her and, like Superman, was able to leap a flight of stairs in a single bound. I decided to sleep with the two girls in their bedroom that night.

As we passed by the front door the next morning, Anik pointed a tree to me that was full of snow. “Mommy, my shadow friends live there.” I didn’t give her much heed.

When we arrived home a few days later in Los Angeles, Anik woke up again in the middle of the night and ran to my room telling me that her “shadow friends from grandma and grandpa’s house are here.”

I told her in a very serious tone to tell her shadow friends to go back to Chicago and stay away from Los Angeles.  Anik did as she was told.  She hasn’t seen them ever since.

I don’t know what will happen once we return to Chicago to visit my in-laws this December. Just the thought of it scares me.—Ruby Adonay-Clemmons, full-time homemaker and former Manila-based journalist

‘Incubus’ visitor

This happened when I was still single, in 1993, living alone, and working in a different hotel. I would have bad dreams at night, of a man who was bald and muscular—kind of like a dark Mr. Clean—who would be lying beside me in bed.

It was very scary, as I would constantly have that bad dream.

Often, in my dream, I couldn’t wake up; only when I prayed in my sleep would I wake up. It got so bad, I would stay awake all night because I was afraid to sleep; I would often call my mother in the wee hours.

One night, I woke up in the middle of the night and smelled a bad, decaying smell. I even thought there was a garbage truck outside my window.  I remember telling the late Albert Seeland, who told me the smell was a bad sign, and recommended that I visit a psychic.

The psychic told me that I was being visited by an incubus, who lived in a tree outside my window. There was a big mirror in front of my bed, and she said it was a gateway through which the creature would come and visit me in my sleep, when I was most vulnerable.

I closed the curtain over my window, and covered the mirror with paper. Just like that, the dreams stopped.

After a year, when I felt safer and hadn’t thought about the incident in a while, I tore off the paper covering the mirror—and I had the same bad dream that very night! This time, it wasn’t just a dream, but I actually heard his voice saying my name. It was low and growling, like Darth Vader. I also felt myself being pulled, half-asleep, towards the mirror. I was halfway up when I woke up, and I panicked.

I was so afraid, I went to a priest. He advised me to have my apartment blessed, and that’s when the dreams disappeared for good.

Looking back, that was still a mystery for me. I don’t know what that was, and frankly, I don’t want to know. It seems like a lifetime ago. Now, I’d rather dwell on the positive and not leave room for things like this in my belief system.—

Monique Trinidad-Toda, hotel director for communications

Footsteps at UP

I walk to pray, so I am naturally slow and unmindful of people walking or running, overtaking me. And I like to do this in the wee hours when the whole UP campus is quiet and not congested.

One early February morning five years ago, the feeling was so eerie as I stepped out of the car. I usually parked my car on the side road of Malcolm Hall. The solitary lamppost had a busted bulb so it was almost pitch black.

As I started to walk toward Quezon Hall in the academic oval, I heard footsteps behind me. It got closer, then walked alongside me. When I felt it wasn’t overtaking me, I turned to my left to see who it was, expecting one of those varsity runners, who I thought just got tired and slowed down. But no one was there. Then I heard footsteps on my right. And again, I saw no one.

I dared not look back when the footsteps stayed behind me until I passed the tennis court. I was undisturbed briefly, but when I got to Malcolm Hall again, I heard the footsteps beside and behind me until I reached the tennis court once again. These happened not just twice but thrice that morning, until I completed my usual four litanies of the rosary. (My morning ritual then was to walk for one-and-a-half hours until it was time for the 6 a.m. mass in the UP chapel.)

The next morning and the next, I couldn’t convince myself to walk at UP again. These days, I walk around Ateneo, but only from 5:30 a.m., as I have plenty of time to pray before the 6:55 a.m. Mass in the Ateneo college chapel. I still feel some presence when I walk through the wooded area of the campus, but the feeling is so much lighter, and no footsteps, so it’s not scary at all for me.

I have no scary experience with the presences in Ateneo, even if I saw two vanishing in front of me so vividly. Once, a security guard walking in front of me, and in another instance, a man wearing an orange T-shirt and denim pants leaning on the wall of the Ateneo observatory, and both disappearing from my sight instantly as I blinked. Sometimes, I feel someone is walking with me but it’s okay since I hear no footsteps. It’s just like guni-guni, but you feel it’s there.

I have more experiences but this UP incident is the one I can’t forget, and to this day, gives me goosebumps every time I think of it.—Jingjing Romero, publicist and PR professional

Santuario wake

My mom died in her sleep while on tour in Hong Kong in 1987. Since she died on a Black Saturday, it took a while for the paperwork to begin, since Easter Monday in HK is a nonworking day.

Preparations here and in HK were tough since we couldn’t even give an estimate as to when her body would be flown back. Everything had to be dealt with a day at a time.

I went to Santuario de San Jose (Greenhills) to inquire about the availability of the chapel. Of course, the first thing the person in charge asked me was to write the name of the deceased on the form provided and our preferred dates for the wake. The lady turned pale when she read my mom’s name.  She said that a lady in white dropped by their office that morning asking if the chapel would be available for Mercedes J. Ferreria. I said that it was impossible, since I was the only one tasked to look for possible venues for the wake. I took it as a sign that my mom wanted her wake to be at Santuario.”—Dorothy Ferreria, chef and cookbook author

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