Scared

I saw a ghost.

For the first time.

And I'm still freaking scared.

It doesn't matter if I realized it was there only when we reviewed the video.

I was so scared I almost cried while previewing it.

Crazy, I know.

But I'm just like that.

I just have to let it out or else I'm gonna get crazier.

***

I hate horror stories. I never watched scary or suspense movies. Not even Sixth Sense.

I knew Kevin Costner's character was a ghost because my brother told me so.

The closest I got to watching a scary movie was Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. And that's an animation.

So imagine my horror when I found out our Halloween episode was about haunted places. Last year, I made a segment about kiddie trick or treats and I had fun with that. But this year, we had to be more realistic and daring.

I know all the other shows are doing it, but I just don't like horror stories. Moreso when i have to shoot and write it myself.

My assignment was the abandoned Antipolo Hotel.

Sam's stories about his pre-research didn't help ease my fears at all.

The place was abandoned years ago, it used to be a hospital, windows are broken, interior rooms are dark and cold...

I'm getting the creeps as I type this so I might as well stop describing it, you get the picture.

The day before the shoot, I was really bothered, I couldn't sleep.

I was only able to sleep as sunlight poured in the room at 5.30 am. My calltime was at 9am.

I know it's just my over active imagination. And that's also the reason I stay away from whatever triggers those horrific thoughts.

But for the sake of my job, I had to do it. There's no harm in pretending trying to be brave.

As we traversed the road to the abandoned hotel, I tried hard to act cool about it. But Love was as much a scaredy cat as I am. We were both screaming when we saw a glimpse of the building from afar.

The place seemed eerie even in broad daylight.

I just got a little brave when I saw the caretaker and some of his kids playing near the building. If kids play here then it couldn't be so bad could it?

I only got braver when Sir Paul arrived. I guess it was his aura. Or maybe his nonchalant attitude as he surveyed the place. Or maybe the fact that he was a top parapsychologist. I guess I believed he had the power to ward off the bad ones when we enter.

I had to ask him a million questions before we enter. I needed to dispel all my fears if I wanted to get in that building.

Do ghosts harm you?

Sir Paul said ghosts don't do that. When ghosts appear, people get scared and their fear harms them. Real ghosts don't scare people because they don't want you to get scared. Otherwise, they can't talk to you and they can't get their message across.

Sometimes, he said, what we thought were "ghosts" could be imprints of memories left by the people who used to frequent or live in a certain place. They're not scaring you, they're just passing by.

Okay. I feel a bit better.

As expected, the place was dank and smelled of rotting wood. Paint was peeling off from all places and graffiti marred the walls and windows. Wild shrubs and plants were growing out of the ceiling.

Upon entering I already had that heavy feeling in my chest. I wanted to get out but I needed to get it over and done with. We did our first spiels on the second floor and I was trying hard to be unaffected by the creepiness of the whole thing.

I had my cameraman, his assistant, the prod assistants, lightmen and utility men all around me. How could I possibly be scared? I guess I knew they were all scared too.

I let Ron hold the mini dv cam so he could shoot some additional videos while I was shooting my segment.

All throughout the shoot, Sir Paul kept saying there were no ghosts around. There were a lot of imprints though. Mostly happy memories of people who spent their vacations in the hotel.

I felt less and less scared as time wore on. More than an hour later, the shoot was done and it was time for lunch. The second batch of staff arrived for the afternoon spiels.

Outside the hotel, I asked Ron to review the mini dv footage. From previous experiences of those who do ghost stories, appearances register on mini dv footage especially when it's on night mode.

Then, I heard Ron exclaim.

May nakita ka?

Rewind.

Pause.

And there it was, as clear as day.

A figure of a little girl standing next to the wall.

She had long hair, wore a white dress and shoes.

If you play the video in slow motion, you could see that her back was facing the camera and she was walking away.

We tried hard not to make a big fuss about it since the kids were already there. We couldn't risk for them to get scared since we still had to shoot the spiels inside the hotel.

Sir Paul was also skeptical about the video saying it could possibly be a real person, one of the caretaker's kids or their playmates who were following us through our shoot.

Curious, I asked the caretaker if I could see all his daughters. Two girls came out wearing t-shirts and shorts. I asked if any of them had worn a white dress within the day or if they had a playmate who had long hair and wore a dress that day.

Both answered, NO.

Noticing my confusion, the caretaker spoke up, "Ah yan po yung multo ng batang english speaking, madalas nagpapakita yan at kinakausao yung mga bagong punta dito."

I had goosebumps all over.

We checked again with Sir Paul and he said that we had encountered a "Casper," a friendly ghost.

He said he had already sensed her presence but he was waiting for her to materialize. But it seems that she has already sent her message. She knew she was caught on cam and she didn't need to show herself to us anymore.

Apparently, the little girl was from the US, she died young and her last happy memory was the vacation she spent in that hotel.

I wonder, if she comes back to the hotel, does she see the old hotel she used to go to or is she aware of its present state: worn by time, rotting and dilapidated?

Sir Paul said she knows that the hotel is abandoned now. In fact, the thought pattern he caught from the little girl was "this used to be a happy place."

She is not a restless or disturbed spirit. She has gone where she is supposed to go and she just comes back to the place whenever there are people around because it reminds her of the happy times she spent there.

Wow.

I guess I understand ghosts a little bit better.

But I'm still scared. So I guess that means I still don't want to see one.

I am just comforted with the thought that there is indeed an after life. That there is a better place in store for us where life will be eternally happy.

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