Thursday, October 09, 2008

More on Riang's unseen resident

While we're on the subject of spooky stories, I thought I'd archive a bit of memory and post on the first major 'infestation' that my house had.

When we moved to Riang more than 10 years ago, it was already considered a 'greying' house in a 35-year-old estate. Sitting in what used to be a rubber plantation, the house has seen two or three other owners and occupants. The family that lived there before we got it were tenants. The owner lived two streets down and had bought it as an investment. But back in the Asian financial crisis the property honeymoon had ground to an abrupt halt and he had to let it go quickly. He put it on auction. KH and I had just sold our Pasir Ris flat and we were looking for a good property to buy. Meanwhile, we were camping out at my parent' place couple of streets away. While driving around the neighbourhood one day, we saw it. Being a corner terrace, I was a bit apprehensive that it would be out of my league. Still, we viewed it, liked it, and according to KH, the fengshui was in all the right places. We bought it for a really good price - almost half its value today.

Strange things did not happen immediately. It was only about a year or more after we had moved in that weird things happened. The kids, (back then, Gillian was 4 and Isaac was 3) reported that they saw "an ugly man" sitting in their room. Once, we had friends who came over for a visit. While we were chatting in the living room, Isaac pointed to a spot behind us, out in the garden and said the ugly man was there. For the life of us, we could not see anything or anyone.

And always, always, at 2.30am sharp, he would wake up screaming from nightmares. We would rush over to his room, sleepy but concerned.

In 2000, KH and I went to Spain for a holiday. We left the kids at home and my parents came over to stay. When we came back, my dad, who slept in the children's room on the floor after we had warned him of all these nocturnal disturbances, said that while he was there, the kids slept peacefully. But strangely enough, HE was awakened without fail every night at 2.30am.

I decided to spend the night in the kid's room to see for myself, what exactly was going on. So the kids slept with KH while I took the lower bunk. I left the wall light on, so there room remained dimly lit. Till today, I don't know exactly if what I saw was a dream or if it was real. I know that at some point in the night, I woke up. In a sleepy haze, I saw the chair, which was usually at the desks, had been placed in the middle of the room. A black shadow, like clouds of dust, was slowly coalescing into a human form on the chair. I could not tell if it was male or female. I think it would be safe to say that I was terrified. I either could not move, or did not dare to move. I didn't dare close my eyes either. Finally, whatever it was sat there for a while and then dissipated.

I told my father. He decided to ask his friend to come have a look at the house. My dad has all these strange friends who have some interest in the paranormal. Going out to a cemetery in the dead of night with his pals is a common recreational activity for my father! Don't ask me why! I've always been fascinated by the stories and folklore on Asian supernatural elements that my father could tell me.

So dad apparently has this friend who has some psychic ability. He told dad, when Isaac was born, that Isaac would have a brown birthmark on the back of his knee without even seeing him. At birth, the mark was not immediately noticeable. But as he grew up, it became more prominent. This guy never even met Isaac!

Dad brought his friend to the house one night. He walked upstairs immediately, zoomed into the right room (we did not tell him which one it was), walked around, then out to the landing, back in again. He was silent all the time, sometimes closing his eyes. Finally he told us what he 'saw'. He said a death had occurred many years ago, in Isaac's room, in almost the same location as the bed too. It was not a violent death. A man had died there from natural causes. But he did not know that he was dead and that he had to 'move on'. He thought the room was still his. And he was affronted that someone else is now occupying 'his' room.

Dad's friend tried to tell him to move on, that his time was over. But the man did not want to listen. We were told, KH and I, that as the current owners, we had to tell the man that we now own the house and he has to go. But how to talk to someone we can't even see for crying out loud? Dad's friend said, just say it in your mind - he will hear it.

The long and short of it is, if he refused to go, then a priest would have to be called in to bless the house. That would be the only way.

Well we tried talking but it seemed like the guy didn't want to leave.

So we finally called in a priest. We didn't do it immediately - I hemmed and hawed about this, feeling a bit ridiculous about it. By then we decided to do something, I was heavily pregnant with Caitlin. My family was concerned and felt it would not be good to have the baby born and then return to an 'infested' house so they pushed me to do something about the situation.

Even the act of calling in a priest was very strange, very surreal. We didn't know who to call. And we wanted someone who had a reputation for casting out infestations from houses. The name Fr Simon P came up repeatedly. But try as I did, I could not get in touch with him. So my uncle, who is a staunch Catholic, tried to help us out. He went to the Major Seminary to ask around and Fr William told him to ask Fr Vincent.

That evening, my uncle went to ask Fr Vincent for help. He didn't make an appointment but Fr Vincent went up to him directly as if he knew my uncle was waiting to see him. When my uncle explained the situation, Father wanted to come immediately that very night.

When he did come to our house, it was a bright sunny morning. Father led the prayers and moved through the house, sprinkling holy water at everything. Later on, my uncle told us that at most house blessings, the sprinkling of holy water was a cursory one, a gesture in every room. But with Fr Vincent that day, he went to every room, every corner, in the house, outside the house. He even had to refill the water at one point! He zoomed in on certain antiques and ornaments we had and touched it with holy oil. Later he told us that we should refrain from buying too many antiques - one never knew where they came from, what history they had etc and sometimes, spirits of the past liked to dwell in these things. He also told us to put away, out of sight, our Venetian masks and any object that looked human but deformed or warped. So our Venetian masks have since gone into hiding at the back of the cupboard.

Since that time, its been peaceful and quiet. Except for that faceless woman near the water pot of course.

Last I posted in 2006, I said I was considering getting some help again. But I have not done anything since then. For now at least, the thought of bumping into our unwanted guest would keep Isaac away from his midnight visits to the study room. So that's got to be useful at least!


Serene said...

Ahhh!!! This brings back fond memories of our moved heavy woorden bedside table when we first moved into our 1st marital home! Maybe I should blog about it too! :) Coz after we sold the place the new owner had to bring in some taoist/buddhist priest to perform some rites.

Antiques and stuff from unknown sources should not be brought into the house as it is an open doorway inviting these spirits to come in and visit.

Momto5 said...

And to add on about why it was 2.30am that things happen, my dad's friend said that the spirit seemed to be most active from 2am to 5am, walking from the room to the landing, up and down the stairs and back again.

Re antiques - you're right. Its put me off buying these lovely old stuff I like. But yes, these are certain conduits. I also steer clear of tribal items, folk crafts etc bec I was told that certain cultures do offer prayers to their own deities for inspiration etc. So not a good idea.

ee lin said...

both you n serene have succeeded in spooking me out! i've never been afraid walking round my flat in the dark after everyone's asleep but after reading both your stories i got the heebie jeebies n did what i had to do real fast n jumped back into bed n closed my eyes!