Saturday October 30, 2010
Not of this realm
By LEE MEI LI
Eight individuals tell of their encounter with denizens of the underworld.
Who doesn’t enjoy sharing spooky stories with friends — usually encounters that have happened to a friend of a friend? But listening is one thing, experiencing is another.
Businessman and part-time actor Tan Chin Choy, 29, says he had a glimpse of an alternate universe when he visited his brother at hospital a few years ago.
“My brother was admitted into the hospital for appendicitis. This incident took place on the second night I visited him. I was in the lift going to the 5th floor. When the doors opened, nothing looked familiar. The place was empty except for the presence of a large Malay family who stood waiting in the hall — there were about 10 of them,” he remembers.
“Two young kids were running around playing. I walked around and looked into the wards but I didn’t see anybody; not even the nurses. So I went back to the lift, thinking I had made a mistake.
“When the lift came, the bell sounded and the doors opened. Before I could enter, the two kids stopped playing and stared in confusion at the lift. One said to the other: ‘Eh, didn’t that lift just open?’ I thought that was weird — I had pressed for the lift, so of course the lift doors would open. The two kids didn’t seem to acknowledge my existence at all and neither did the rest of the people there.
“I entered the lift and went down to the 4th floor. It still wasn’t the right floor, but this one seemed ‘normal’. I called my brother on the phone to check but he insisted that he was on the 5th floor.
“So I took the lift to the 5th floor, and this time, I arrived at the ‘correct’ place — it was busy and there were nurses and people walking about. I found my brother’s ward easily.
Later, just to be sure, I checked each of the floors but I never came across that ‘empty’ floor again. I was really jittery after that. It was as if I had a glimpse of an alternate universe,” Tan remarks.
How bizarre is that?
Tan’s brother Chin Huei, 26, has had his own share of hair-raising encounters. About 10 years ago, the professional golfer crossed paths with a paranormal Peeping Tom.
“My dad and I used to play night golf at this club, and we would shower in the changing room after every game. I often saw a shadow going past the shower stall’s frosted door. I thought it was probably just someone else from the club.
“It started to feel weird when I noticed that the shadow was peeping at me — I would be washing my hair with my eyes shut and when I opened them, I would see this shadow quickly move out of sight. Once or twice I even saw it flicking a towel across, back and forth. Apparently, my dad had also experienced the same thing.
“This one time, before I turned on the shower, I saw the shadow walking past towards the left side of the room. When I went out to check, I didn’t find anyone in the other shower stalls. What’s creepy was that the shadow had moved towards the side of the room that was a dead end. The club has since renovated the changing rooms,” he says.
According to Norhashida Harmi, 22, when she was in Form Three, her late grandmother decided to send a message to her children — through her. The personal assistant only knew of this later when her mother reluctantly told her about the incident.
“I was out with my friends around 7.30pm, when I suddenly fainted and collapsed,” she remembers.
“I was brought to the hospital but the doctor found nothing wrong with me — no fever, nothing. My back hurt when I woke up. The doctor did an MRI scan on me, and again, he found nothing. By then, my parents were quite worried so the doctor suggested that they bring me to a bomoh (medium).
“My dad found a bomoh and brought me to him. It was really scary because the bomoh said that I was being followed by ‘something’
“Ada orang tumpang belakang you (there’s someone following you),” he said.
My parents didn’t know what to do, so they brought me home and that was when I collapsed again. I was put in bed. My mom was crying when suddenly they heard a strange voice — I was speaking in my grandmother’s voice but my eyes were still closed. My grandmother had passed on two years earlier.
“At first my dad thought I was playing a trick. But the voice identified itself as my grandmother and started addressing her children — naming them one by one. She wasn’t at peace — we had forgotten about her and nobody was praying for her.
“I was quite close to my grandmother because I was the first cucu (grandchild) she took care of when I was young. After that incident, I woke up but I couldn’t remember a thing. I only remember seeing a bolt of lightning before I fainted. I didn’t feel anything when it happened.”
Over 10 years ago, Y.Y. Foo, 32, had to work overnight to complete a project in a recording studio. Now a photography producer, Foo recalls the strange feeling of being watched.
“It was about 1am, and I was working alone in this studio that had an enclosed voice booth and a large desk with a counter. Someone had left a flashlight standing upright on the counter and I had propped open the voice booth door with a fire extinguisher.
I was at the desk working on the audio console when I suddenly felt ‘something’ going around the room,” Foo recalled.
“It came out from the voice booth and it was passing by the counter. I didn’t see or hear anything but I could feel its presence.
“The thing went round the counter, then stopped and hovered above the flashlight. I didn’t dare look up but I could feel a pair of eyes looking at me while I worked.
“After a while, the thing left. I felt the studio doors — which are extremely heavy for sound-proofing purposes — bump slightly. It sounded like someone was either leaving or entering the room but there was nobody outside. I was scared but I didn’t feel threatened, so I continued working.”
Film director Daniel Khoo, 38, also had a strange experience when he first started working. He was sent to live in a bungalow by the beach in Penang for a two-week training course.
“There were five to six rooms in the house. The guys took the rooms downstairs and the girls stayed upstairs. I stayed in a room with five of my school friends. We were all eager to start work the next day so we went to bed early that first night, at about 11pm. It had just started raining and the weather was nice and cool.
“I woke up suddenly. I was sleeping face down and something — it felt like a fist — touched my back. At first I thought it was one of my friends. I sensed that somebody was watching me. I slowly turned to my left and there was this white figure standing by the corner of the room. She was wearing a tudung (scarf). I could not see her face or feet. I felt my hair standing up. I was so scared!
“I thought I was dreaming but I could hear the rest snoring. I didn’t dare look anymore and I didn’t dare move. I squeezed my eyes shut and forced myself to sleep. The next day, I decided not to tell anybody. For the next two weeks, I took on extra shifts and made sure that I exhausted myself with the training so that I would be ‘knocked out’ immediately when I got home.
“The last night before we left, we were celebrating over drinks and food when one of the guys asked, ‘Did anybody see anything in this house?’ To my surprise, everyone said yes — all the guys had seen the same lady in a tudung. Some saw her in the toilet. Once, she even raised her hand and beckoned to one of them. She also appeared to some in their dreams.
“The girls thought we were only trying to scare them as none of them had seen the ‘ghost’. When we got back to Ipoh, we asked the manager about the encounter. He finally told us that yes, ‘something’ was there, but it only hung around downstairs in the bungalow — which was where all the guys stayed!”
The extra colleague
W. N. Lee, 31, says she has been “seeing” things since a Girl Guides camping trip in secondary school. The project manager was told that she had offended the spirits when she cut down some bamboo in the forest.
“Most of the time, I don’t see them in full — their opacity is about 50% to 60%. But at first glance, I will know whether it’s a man or woman, an adult or kid. They look like regular people but their faces are expressionless. Sometimes they disturb me; usually they are just standing around,” Lee divulges.
“This one time, I had just joined a new company and the first week was a rush; there were a lot of projects and everyone was busy.
“A few of my colleagues were seated at this particular row of desks isolated from the rest. When I had lunch with one of them who was seated in that area, I asked him, ‘Don’t you find it weird that the four of you are sitting there in the middle with all those empty spaces around you?’
“He gave me a very strange expression and replied, ‘Four? There are only three of us.’ I thought he misunderstood me, so I counted out the four of them and told him that there was another guy seated right at the end. Quietly, he told me that there were only three desks in that area.
“When I went back to the office I counted the desks and sure enough, there were only three. What I saw previously had been an extra ‘person’ — a guy — sitting at an additional desk, seemingly busy at work. After that, I never saw him again.”
In her university years, P. L. Leong, 35, says she was haunted by an entity that lurked in the apartment she rented in Ohio, the United States. The designer recalls how it all started with a man’s voice emanating from the radio.
“On the third day, after I moved in, I started hearing a muffled voice coming from my radio. It sounded like an angry man who was scolding someone. It was clearly English but I couldn’t understand it,” she says.
“At first I thought it was the neighbours. I went to check, but nobody was home. When I stuck my ear to the radio, I heard the voice again, even after the radio had been unplugged. I thought maybe the internal clock had malfunctioned so I didn’t think much of it.
“A month after that, I had a huge argument with my boyfriend, who was also staying in the apartment. I went to sleep early in my room, but in the middle of the night, I woke up suddenly. I was semi-awake; my eyes were half-open and I felt really tired. Something was pressing down on me, but I couldn’t see what it was. I couldn’t even move,” Leong recounts.
“The room was pitch black. I started to get really scared and that’s when I noticed these dark blobs — at least five to six of them — moving around in the room. They had me surrounded. They were like figures, but shapeless without heads.
“I heard something say, ‘Let me’ over and over again in a whisper. I understood it as trying to tell me to calm down. After a while, I pretended to relax. Then I used all my might and finally broke free of the invisible force that held me down and screamed loudly — but all I heard was a tiny voice calling out.
“When I sat up in bed I saw the blobs, now shadows, flying out the window behind me. At that moment, I heard a loud noise echoing in the distance. It sounded like the noise a flock of birds make whenever they fly off. Then the street lights from the shutters suddenly streamed into the room. It was still dark out.
“I got up and ran to wake my boyfriend in the other room. I couldn’t stop crying. We moved out after that,” she shudders.
Writer Tony Siva, 42, says he, too, has seen the “others”, but only in his dreams. Are they real or just a figment of his subconscious mind?
“My mom was staying over at my apartment during a long weekend break. On the third night, I dreamt that my dad was in the apartment talking to me. He had passed on over 12 years earlier, and I had never dreamt of him before. He repeated to me, ‘You have to read between the lines’.
“When I woke up, I had this bad feeling that something was going to happen to my mum. She was already up having coffee, and before I could say anything, she said, ‘I dreamt of your father last night and he was here talking to me. He says that he’s proud of you and that he likes this apartment a lot’.”
“A month later, my mum had a heart attack and passed away. I took the dream as a warning.
“In the days following her wake, I had another strange dream. I saw my mum drop a letter into a basket. I drove back to her house and found the letter. It was really in a basket — one that I had never seen before.
“It turned out to be my mum’s goodbye letter, detailing what coffin she wanted us to get, telling us what to do and that we should take good care of ourselves. She must’ve written it before she got the heart attack, knowing that something was going to happen to her.
“That night, I had another dream, and this time, it was of a Christian hymn. I woke up and told my sisters. When I sang the words to them, they froze; the hymn was my mum’s favourite and we had, in fact, forgotten to sing it at the wake. This second sign made me believe in the existence of another universe, and that it’s trying to communicate with us.”
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