This October, we don’t mean to scare. Our #PreenSupernaturalSeries will be crossing over to topics of the supernatural, the occult, horror, and fear. It’s okay, we’re with you on this.
I was quite the clueless and gullible kid, and while that eagerness to take anything told to me as gospel truth got me into a lot of trouble—including being bullied at school without realizing it—it has also saved me from much anguish at home. The house that we were living in was, apparently, haunted. But I didn’t realize this until after the family had moved out (thanks to my parents’ ability to whitewash everything), something that I am grateful for to this day.
We used to live in a comfortable duplex in Sta. Mesa—an idyllic middle-class neighborhood. Though it wasn’t a gated community, kids played in the streets and neighbors more or less knew about each other, and sometimes even became friends.
I’ve always been a scaredy cat. Until recently, when asked why I write horror, my answer was always, “I get scared easily, so your guess is as good as mine.” I loved that house, but my memories of it are accompanied by feelings that are slightly uncomfortable. I never wanted to be alone in a room, didn’t want to bathe unless my sister was in there with me, making conversation behind the shower curtain. And yet, I never thought that our house was haunted. Not even when things happened at night.
Every night, we, the kids would hang out in our parents’ room. Sometimes, there would be a knock on the door, and one of us would open it, thinking it might be the maid. Sometimes it was, but most of the time, there would be no one.
“There’s no one here!” I’d say, because I sometimes like to state the obvious.
“It’s just the wind,” my mom would reply. “Tell it to stop playing tricks on us.”
“Go away,” I’d dutifully say, “We’re trying to watch TV.”
It didn’t occur to me until years after we had moved out, when I was in college, that the wind didn’t really knock on doors.
Years after that, it finally hit me that our family probably weren’t the only beings who lived there.
I asked my sister about it. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who experienced weird things.
“Sometimes, I would run from one room to the other, because I didn’t want to walk the hallway alone,” my sister said.
This statement sounds more urgent when you understand that my sister and I have muscular dystrophy, and it is physically impossible for us to run the way regular folks do. We kind of either waddle or waddle faster. I knew what she meant, though. I too, had felt the same fear walking ten feet down the hall from our room to my parents’ room. A lot of weird things happened when we lived there, which, I guess culminated during the night before we moved out, when my father claimed to have seen three spirits—a woman, an old man, and a child. That’s the whole of the story, which is rather anticlimactic, given all the events that went on in that place—events that I will be talking about this whole month of October.
We still pass that house sometimes. The gate has been painted a different color, and though the street it’s on has changed a lot over the years, it’s still idyllic and neighborly. From the outside, the house looks cozy, even cheerful. I wonder though, if the beings who lived with us are still there, and if they let themselves be known to the family who currently lives there in the same manner. I hope to be able to ask that question one day.
The funny thing is that I don’t really believe in the supernatural, but I will tell you that these things really happened, and that until now, I am still at loss to explain them.
Yvette Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and a lifestyle writer for major local titles.