A Filipino guide to dealing with the paranormal

A Filipino guide to dealing with the paranormal

They’re called True Philippine Ghost Stories for a reason, y’all.

Art by Jill Arteche

Picture this: You’re visiting your grandparents in the province. The wooden floorboards creak under your feet. Your grandmother tells you she baked something delicious and it’s in the kitchen. You enter and see a plate of freshly baked cookies on the counter. As you grab the plate, a little girl in a white dress tugs at your shirt and tells you she wants to play. She runs into the hallway and you follow, the plate of cookies still in your hand. Giggling, she skips into a room, telling you to hurry up. You speed up your steps, cookies in tow, and enter the bedroom. It’s empty. “Hello?” you shout. You hear your grandmother’s voice floating up the staircase as she climbs up. “Who are you talking to, dear?” she asks. A little girl, you tell her. Your grandmother looks at you, confused. There’s no little girl in this house, she tells you.

Halloween is right around the corner and along with it are the ghosts and ghouls that come out to play. But what do you do when you’re caught in the middle of a paranormal activity?

White lady by the car

It’s 10p.m. and you find yourself on Balete Drive. Yes, that Balete Drive. Some of the streetlamps are broken, so you drive slowly through the darkness. Then you see her, the famous White Lady, standing by the sidewalk in a long white dress, long black hair strewn on her face.

What to do: Keep calm. Panicking will do you more harm than good, especially if you’re behind the wheel. Turn the radio up a little louder play your favorite song if you have control over the music. You can even sing along! Look straight, just maintaining your focus on driving and the road. You’ll make it out of Balete Drive safe and sound.

A strange figure behind you (while you’re looking in the mirror)

Ah, bathrooms, the venue of most school ghost stories. You exit the cubicle to wash your hands and when you look up there’s something standing behind you. You’re too scared to turn around what if it’s actually there and you aren’t just seeing things? Suddenly, slowly, it starts moving closer.

What to do: Run and pray. Or, pray while running. Just get out of there as fast as you can without looking back. Screaming while running could help, too the loud noise might scare it away.

A kid running around in the cemetery

It’s All Soul’s Day, and you’re at the cemetery with your family visiting late relatives. On your way to the graves, you see a little boy running through the field. You ignore him and continue walking. You notice him again while praying. You watch him tug at people’s shirts, kick their shins, and run away laughing. You nudge your sibling, “God, look at that kid.” They look at you, confused. “What kid?”

What to do: Absolutely nothing. This kid is harmless. He was really young when he passed, so he’s just trying to have fun the only way he knows how. He’s not doing any serious damage anyway. Just pray for his soul and move on.

Losing your way and wearing your clothes inside out

You’re on a hike with your friends when you notice this tree bent into a strange shape kind of like a banana. You snap a picture and keep walking. A few minutes later you see a tree that looks eerily similar to your banana-shaped tree. You laugh to yourself. And then, you see another tree that looks exactly like those first two trees. It can’t be. Discreetly, you drop a granola bar at the bottom of the tree. After what feels like hours of aimless walking you see it, the banana-shaped tree, and an unopened granola bar at the bottom.

What to do: Wear your clothes inside out and pray that this time you’ll make it out. And you will, eventually.

Strange noises and shadows while you’re sleeping

You’re in Baguio for the weekend and book a room at a famous resort. Your friends told you it was haunted but you ignored them you don’t believe in ghosts anyway. On your first night, you hear someone knocking on your door. You get up, manage a groggy “Who’s there?” but when you open the door, no one’s there. You shrug and tell yourself you probably just imagined it. You hear the knocking again. You get up, open the door, and see no one. You go back to sleep. Your bed shakes and you hear whispers. You keep your eyes closed, but the shaking and whispers get louder. They’re whispering your name.

What to do: Keep your eyes closed and focus on something else. Were you having a nice dream? What do you want to eat for breakfast tomorrow? And maybe say a little prayer. You’ll be alright the morning always comes.

#halloween #horror

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