Of ghosts and spirits

If someone asks me now if I believe in ghosts, my answer would be “‘yes” and “no.” Yes, I do believe that a spirit world exists; but no, I don’t believe that ghosts are dead people who have come to haunt the living.

There was a point in time — mainly, when I was a child — when I really believed that ‘ghosts’ were those restless souls of the recently departed, who roamed around the terrestrial sphere for 40 days to attend to some unfinished business. They would pay their loved ones and acquiantances a visit and make their (spooky) presence known.

Let me share some real ghost stories first before I proceed in making my point.

A few days after my paternal grandmother in the US died, our phone at home would ring at the stroke of midnight for a whole week. We would lift the receiver, only to find out after saying a sleepy “Hello” that there was nobody on the other end of the line. When I answered the phone one time, I heard only the sound of soft breathing. “That probably was your Lola,” my mother later said. “Maybe she wanted to talk to you.” I was her favorite grandchild.

That was enough to scare me (I was just 12 then…what did I know?). My grandmother, you see, was a spiritista. (I was told that she, along with her little sister, my great-aunt, and some friends, had “talked” to dead people during their regular sessions in San Juan.)

Years later, after the death of my mom’s beloved uncle, our battery-less smoke alarm in the kitchen would beep at 3 a.m. for three consecutive days. There was no logical explanation for this: there was no battery inside the gadget and nobody was cooking at that time. Of course we all heard the loud beeping sound — who couldn’t? — but nobody bothered to check out what caused the smoke alarm to go off like that — no, not even my dad, who had always declared that he was “fearless.”

And so, these real-life paranormal happenings reinforced my initial belief that dead people can really come back in spirit form — to haunt the living. This was what I was thinking when, with a vindictive streak, I whispered to a grade school classmate, who was a real bully, during a pre-funeral mass in church, “When I die, I’d pay you a visit in your house, grab both your feet with my cold hands, and drag you out of bed!” I swear, my classmate instantly turned pale after I made that remark. (I was a horror film junkie, and I had such vivid imagination.)

But things changed when I became a Bible-believing Christian (you get to learn the truth when you study the Scriptures closely). I learned in due time that the truth concerning ghosts and spirits had been twisted. I won’t elaborate now on the biblical basis that led me to this conclusion. But allow me to say this: there’s no life on earth after death. There’s no such thing as an immortal soul. Dead people can’t make visitations in spirit form after their demise. Dead people are as good as…well, dead. They can’t do us any harm, really.

These “ghosts” we see and hear– they’re not our dearly departed. They’re actually evil spirits that intend to instill fear in our hearts and mislead us.

The sooner I shared this truth with those who cared to listen, the sooner the evil spirits came hounding me. I’m not exaggerating.

Electronic items at home or in the office (e.g., cassette player, radio, TV set, alarm clock) would simultaneously turn on and off, without any human intervention. Ladies in white or black shadows would walk past me every time I was home alone. Invisible forces would push me around in my room in a tourist inn. Eerie sounds, like that of a woman wailing, could be heard along the empty corridor nearby. And creepy images (e.g., a monstrous-looking claw or a curly-haired girl who was not supposed to be in the picture) would later be seen in my newly developed analog photos.

Every time I went to the provinces to attend to my journalistic assignments, I would always bring home with me “horror stories” as pasalubongs (souvenir gifts). “Ate, someone was packing my bags in Benguet on my last night…” “Mom, someone was jumping on my bed when we stayed in this place on Mt. Makiling…” “Someone was running around my bed when I tried to sleep in my guest room in Marinduque…” “I was talking to my roommates in this Palawan tourist inn when someone suddenly turned on the TV…” And so on and so forth.

Fortunately, I stopped seeing or hearing spirits when my “third eye” — I was, after all, an active medium’s granddaughter, and I had dealt with the occult in the distant past — was “closed” a few years ago during a prayer session with missionaries.

The bottom line is, I believe that paranormal things do happen. However, we should not be tricked into believing that ghosts are dead human beings, who have come back to communicate with the living. Here is where the big deception lies. Unfortunately, many people are drawn into it.

While I believe that ghosts and spirits exist, I think it’s vital to question who is truly behind the creepy paranormal activities of these ‘creatures.’ Surely, God is not in the business of scaring us stiff when we least expect it.


TIDBITS: On a lighter note, did you know that graves are recycled in Switzerland after 25 years of use? This basically means that 25-year-old corpses are removed from their graves to give way to ‘fresh dead bodies.’ Talk about Swiss recycling at its most grotesque.

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