It’s Halloween season again and, as usual, I get invitations from radio and television networks for interviews about real ghosts, paranormal phenomena and haunted houses—which I routinely decline because they never change from year to year.
They ask me the same questions which I’ve been answering for many years. Is there no other topic they can think of? Don’t TV and radio audiences ever get tired of the subject? Apparently not.
But why the perennial interest in the subject? And where did this macabre celebration of the dead originate?
A quick search on the internet reveals that “Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated on Oct. 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.
“In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated Oct. 31 as All Saints’ Day which incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve.
“Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treat, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.”
To satisfy people’s desire for some rational explanation about the dead and why ghosts appear to the living, I wrote a book in 2011, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Ghosts But Were Afraid to Ask.” It’s still available in most branches of National Book Store.
But why do Filipinos never tire of reading ghost stories and watching horror films? Is this a form of catharsis? If so, then it’s a catharsis from what? Do we release the fear of the unknown by reading books about them or by watching horror films? What satisfaction do people get out of them?
Children should not be allowed to watch these films because they can lead to nightmares and other unhealthy emotional reactions.
Halloween or All Saints’ Day or whatever you call it, can be more profitably spent learning more serious things about what happens after death. Do spirits of the dead really come back to haunt the living or communicate with them? What do you do if this happens?
There are documented cases around the world that these really happen. These normally invisible creatures have been caught before on analog cameras. I won’t be surprised if they also appear on digital cameras. Does anyone have samples of these photos? It would be interesting to see and analyze them.
I once came across a case of a dead person who was sending fax messages from Davao to his cousin in Manila. I think the person suddenly died or was murdered. It was revealed in the fax messages that he had a wife or a mistress whom nobody knew about.
Not all ghosts are bad or monstrous-looking and scary. Casper is not the only friendly ghost. I know several actual cases of ghosts who gave a helping hand to the living.
There was, for example, a mother who died in the morning. In the afternoon, her daughter went to the family’s regular dressmaker to order a particular dress to be used for the mother’s wake. It was her mother’s favorite dress.
The dressmaker told the daughter that a woman dropped by earlier that morning to order the very same dress. Her dead mother had already ordered the dress for her wake and burial.
Another is the case of a friendly ghost who used to be seen in the restroom of our office years ago. My secretary even knew her name: Eva. One day, a delivery man came to deliver the quartz crystals I ordered from the United States. After my secretary checked the items delivered by the UPS messenger, he said she had to sign the delivery receipt.
When the delivery man was about to hand over the delivery receipt booklet to my secretary, he saw it was already signed by Eva. My secretary also saw the signature of the ghost.
There are several more stories I can cite about ghosts helping the living, but these will suffice to illustrate my point. Such pleasant ghost stories should be the ones emphasized during Halloween.
Our next “Soulmates, Karma and Reincarnation” seminar will be held on Nov. 9, 1-7 p.m. Tel. 88107245 or 0998-9886292