I believe in ghosts. While I’m skeptical about most evidence of ghosts that gets touted online, I do still hold in my heart the belief that ghosts are real. I’ve had too many experiences not to.
I grew up in my family’s ancestral home, with a yaya who doubled as an albularyo, and I went to a half-a-century-old Catholic school in the province. I was practically primed to believe in the supernatural. If I wasn’t experiencing it myself, and I was, I was being told stories of it: my grandfather encountering a cavalcade of celebrating forest spirits, or my yaya putting a curse on a man that made fun of her. My favorite story was that of a tiktik who was found by the townspeople after she got caught on some telephone wires.
One of my professors in college said that to many spiritual people from the province, there is no conflict between medical or scientific fact and magic. I think that’s accurate. We intuitively know when something is magic, and when something is a medical concern. I can, at least, tell the difference between a specter and just another trick of the light.
I say all this to acknowledge that I know this sounds ludicrous, but I do genuinely think that I met a hot ghost I scared off with my horniness.
I was on an extended sleepover at a friend’s place. Her roommate was gone, so I slept in her room, on a bed facing the window. Because of the building’s structure, the window peeked into other rooms, so I always boarded it up, especially at night. I hated the feeling of someone watching me.
I couldn’t sleep much that night. I tried to force myself to rest, but it wasn’t working. Finally, I gave up when dawn approached, and the first hint of sunlight peeked over my closed eyelids.
Light? The curtain must’ve gotten pulled back somehow. Maybe it was the cat?
I opened my eyes, prepared to get up and grumble my way to my window. But I stopped when my eyes fixed on the light’s source.
What was holding up the curtain was a shadowy figure of a woman. She seemed slender and tall, and she had a short, wavy bob. It seemed to me that she had her back turned, and she was staring out the window.
At first, I thought it was my friend, who also had a similar haircut. But the figure’s hair was shorter, and there was no reason for my friend to enter that room—it was way too early, and she had a window in hers that she could look out to anyways. And, need I remind you, this was a black shadowy figure. When my brain quickly pieced together that whatever that being was, it was not my friend, I did the only thing I could think of. I hid inside my blanket and closed my eyes.
Under the covers, I felt an oppressive weight to the air around me. I remembered something a realtor had told me years ago when I was looking for a condo in that area. “I had one client who ended up not getting this unit because he thought there were ghosts here. I said, ‘You’re a grown man and you’re still scared of ghosts?’ I don’t believe in that, do you?”
As it dawned on me that I might be encountering another ghost, something other than fear took over.
Here’s another thing you need to know about me. I am unequivocally a horndog. And I’m especially thirsty for the macabre. I’ve watched zombie porn. I once scared off a Pennywise the Clown RP account by aggressively flirting with it. I wrote an entire article on which characters from “Trese” I’d want to bone, which creator Budjette Tan may or may not have seen.
I once said that the fight or flight dichotomy is flawed when it comes to movie monsters. If I was in that position, I’d f*ck the monster. Any horror movie with me in it would 100% turn into the porn parody version of it.
This was my thing. This was my moment.
I started to imagine what it would be like to have a hot shadow ghost girlfriend, and how I could steer this encounter into that. If she was going to reach for me with her shadowy hands, do I clasp them? If she was going to give me a jump scare by appearing right in front of me, do I kiss her? Was that too forward?
These thoughts circled in my head until I felt the air around me lighten. I peeked from underneath the covers. She was gone.
I spent the next day telling all my friends about it. “It was wild,” I would say. “I scared off a ghost with my horny energy.” “Wow, that’s one way to repel a ghost,” they’d reply.
But that was pretty much it. I didn’t see her ever since that incident, and I chalked it up as a one-time ghost appearance.
Well, until I sat down to write this story. As I looked back on my childhood filled with spirits, I realized that this wasn’t the first time I saw a shadowy ghost with a bob.
When I was around 11, I was staying at my friend’s place for a sleepover. She lived in a big building with antiques—her family owned an antique store, so her house doubled as a warehouse. Imagine a tall and old provincial building, with many floors and few occupants. I’m pretty sure the statues outnumbered the people there.
We were on the rooftop. She had been hyping it up the entire time, so we sneaked in there the soonest we could. She was right to. It was pretty, with a hanging garden.
We were listening to music with her Barbie radio player, the kind that only played special Barbie tapes and CDs. She realized after we were done listening that she hadn’t brought up her favorite tape, so she left me to get it.
I was alone on that rooftop. It was morning, and it was high up, so I could feel the cool breeze on my skin. It felt like she was taking too long to find it, so I decided to go after her. I went to the staircase and stopped.
Opposite me was the long shadow of a woman with a short bob. It couldn’t have been mine or my friend’s—we both had long hair. The shadow flipped its hair at me. It had no face, but I could feel it winking. I walked back to the rooftop.
My friend eventually came with her Barbie tape. I didn’t tell her about the ghost. It wasn’t my first ghost, nor was it hers.
Looking back at this memory now, I’m left wondering: Was that the same ghost? What is just the same kind of ghost? I don’t see ghosts regularly or have my third eye open or whatever. I only see ghosts when they choose to appear to me. What are the odds of me seeing the same type of ghost twice?
I told my friend this as I was writing, and she said, “Childhood friends to lovers… with a twist!” So, uh, ghost lady who may have followed me into adulthood? Is this thing on? I’m single.
Art by Pammy Orlina
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