"The elevator doors open to a pitch black hallway. I see nothing but the dark." Art by Chris Clemente
Culture Spotlight

20 stories of the inexplicable to think about before you sleep (Part 1)

From faceless children who join in on games to men in barong standing impossibly still by side of the road, here are 20 creepy personal stories we found online. Happy Halloween, folks! 
ANCX | Oct 30 2019

While it is no match against the horrors of everyday living, the people and places, creatures and chaos that go bump in the night—either paranormally experienced or conjured up by the human mind—can keep us awake to no end. But indulging in these paranormal constructs, and scaring ourselves silly is an age-old, somewhat inexplicable guilty pleasure. In time for the Halloween festivities this week, we've asked several people to either share personal experiences or contribute works of fiction that will help satisfy this national past time. 

Most of the stories in this list were shared previously in the Facebook group Best of the Best Manila. ANCX asked for the permission from each of the story teller before publishing. 

Please click here for Part 2.

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1.

I grew up in a very small compound. It was donut shaped, just a single street that loops around. This meant that all the children were playmates. And, since we were pre-Gen Z, we still played outside: hide and seek, patintero, agawan base, name it, we played it—almost everyday.

One night, a few of us were playing hide and seek. There were a few boys in our group and only two girls. One was my sister. I volunteered to kick things off as the seeker. So I had to count to 20. Like I said, we only had one street, so it really was not that difficult to search for people. After counting, I immediately looked to my left and right, but saw no one. I began to walk down the road, keeping a keen eye on every corner and dark area. From afar I saw a girl standing in front of a house that doesnt have a gate. It didnt look like my sister, plus she had on a different colored shirt. So I immediately assumed it was our other female friend.

"Boom Nińa!" I exclaimed making sure she heard me then rushed back to the post which we declared as our "base." I looked back at her expecting to see her running back to me. But, she was stil standing where she was. I shouted again. Nothing.

In my frustration, and still making sure that no one else could touch base, I ran to her. But as I slowly approached her, I started to slow down. She still did not move an inch. I was already a few feet away from her. Then I realized, this girl had no face, her hair, long, black, and straight. She was wearing a white dress. But what had me rushing back to my house was what I saw when I looked down; she was floating half a foot off the ground!

I ran home, and cried silently on our sofa. No one would believe me if I told them so I kept it to myself. The next time my friends and I saw each other, they asked what happened. Ang daya ko daw, di ko daw sila hinanap.
Al Esguerra

 

2.

My sister was given a lifelike child-sized doll. We shared a room. One morning I woke up to the sound of someone breathing. I looked over to my sister’s bed but she had already gone downstairs. I stared at the aircon but the sound coming from it was the usual mechanical hum. My gaze slowly turned to the doll that was sitting at the foot of my bed and the moment I made eye contact with the doll, the breathing sound stopped.

I jumped out of bed and screamed bloody murder all the way downstairs.

My sister later told me that she had put the doll inside the cabinet. No one moved the doll to my bed.

Eliza Santiago

 

3.

I work in the Asian Institute of Management. Despite the lively campus due to grad students finishing schoolwork even in the wee hours of the morning, it's a different story for the admin and business three floors up.

I was fairly new to my post and was finishing a proposal in the conference room of our office. Despite numerous warnings from my colleagues that the office was haunted, I still stayed late until 11 P.M. because I thought they were all just teasing me. Plus, I take pride in being hindi matatakutin. I love horror films and survival horror games.

"But my kuya forced me to keep driving and I remember him turning the wheel for me."

So there I was, working my ass off, when all of a sudden I hear two loud thuds from the inside of the room. It sounded like someone was knocking their palm on a glass window. I ignored the sound and continued working—but then I hear the same two thuds again, even louder.

It was at that point where I stood up and even muttered loudly "ano ba yan kung kelan patapos na eh"—you know, just to give myself a little courage boost.

I saw that the projector screen was down at the far end of the conference room and decided to check if the sound was caused by the AC blowing against the projector screen, which would in turn cause it to bump against the glass window behind it.

So I go closer and realize na the projector screen wasn't even moving. Out of sheer curiosity and a desperate want to rationalize the scenario—I peeked behind the projector screen and looked out into the window.

It was there I realized that there was a ledge behind that window that a person could walk on.

Dun na ako napraning, the thought of a ghost, or someone human even, peeking at me that whole time from the ledge that late at night.

I rushed to get my things. I didn't even turn off the lights. I proceeded to work in the student dorm lobby. Of course, I told my officemates that night via viber.

The next day, my colleague Jane told me that one of the Janitors also had a similar experience while cleaning our office late at night after a party around midnight. Ever since then, he never cleaned past 9 P.M. She didn't reply to me that night to confirm my experience because she didn't want to scare me even more.

The guards say that it must have been the ghost of the old janitor. His left hand didn't fully develop due to a birth defect. That's probably why the knock I heard was muffled in a way.

Ylaij Santos

 

4.

The law firm that I used to work for occupied two floors of an old building along Rada Street. The second floor was where the junior lawyers worked, and which didn't have a security guard. The fifth floor was where the more senior lawyers worked, which had a security guard.

I had heard horror stories from my office mates about the second floor being haunted, but didn't really think much of it. Until one night, I was working late, and as I always do when working alone on the second floor, I locked the door to our office to ensure that no one from the outside could come in. At around 2 A.M., I very clearly heard the wind chime hanging by our office door make a tinkling sound to signal someone entering our office. I stood up to see who had entered, but found the door still locked. I went back to work and then after about 5 minutes, I heard the sound of someone loudly typing on a keyboard.

At this point, I was scared shitless, I said aloud, my voice shaking, "Is there someone there?" and the typing sound stopped. I called my then boyfriend and told him about the sounds I had heard. Ang sagot nya sakin "Matakot ka sa buhay, wag sa patay. Just finish what you have to do and then go home." So ako naman si tanga, and because I am a fierce, fabulous, and independent woman who doesn't believe in shit like this, I carried on with work.

And then, a few minutes later, I heard the sound of a pen tapping incessantly against a table. This was when I knew in my gut that I wasn't imagining things, so I said out loud: "Please, please, please, just let me finish this pleading. Thirty minutes nalang please, and I'll go. Please don't hurt me." Next thing I know, I hear on one of the speaker phones... a male voice whispering my initials "P...N...A..." 

I was trembling as I called the guard on the fifth floor: "Kuya, tumawag po ba kayo sakin?" Of course, he said no. That was the last straw, I hurriedly left the office. I told the firm's partners about my experience, so they had the office blessed. No other encounters after the office blessing.

Pagan Arches-Reyes

 

5. 

A few years ago, my kuyas and I were into 21k runs. Those things start early so we leave the house at around three in the morning. My kuya asked me to drive since he's sleepy. A few mins of driving in the dark, I heard something on one of my car's tires. I thought napako. Kuya told me to drive back home kasi baka maaksidente pa kami.

So to do that I have to take a U turn on the two-lane road near our villlage. But on the other side of the street, kung san ako magmamaneobra, I saw an old man in barong, who's standing there in the sidewalk and not moving a single muscle I swear to God. He was also yellowish in color. I didnt want to drive toward the area, as in sinasabi ko "Kuya ano yun ayoko.") But my kuya forced me to keep driving and I remember him turning the wheel for me.

We got home and swapped cars. My kuya drove this time and we didnt see that entity again. When we checked the car when we got back from the race, di sya napako. May sobrang random lang na paper clip na sumabit sa gulong.

To this day we don't know what we saw that day. Also, we live a few kilometers away from a cemetery so I don't know if related or what. 

Michelle Atanante 

 

6.

There used to be a tree outside my bedroom window. During one particularly strong typhoon this tree got bent in half, almost snapped in two. After the storm I asked the kasambahay to ask a couple of the neighbor's boys to cut the tree down once and for all, since it was halfway there already.

You know where this is going.

So a week later I noticed little red spots on my legs. They weren't painful or anything, so I didn't pay them any mind. But a day later I got up, and as soon as my feet hit the floor it felt like they were being sliced by knives. It's difficult to describe the feeling except for one word: excruciating. My en suite bathroom is just a few steps from my bed, but to get there I had to support myself on furniture, and wince as I hobbled with each painful step. I also developed a fever that would rise and fall; I was relatively fine during the day, but at night my body would be racked by chills.

"Nakita niya daw kasi na gumagalaw yung isang tau-tauhan ninyo."

Over a period of two weeks my parents brought me to three different hospitals—by then I was being moved around on a wheelchair. But, as you can guess, no doctor could specifically say what was wrong with me. Tests came back inconclusive; they didn't know what to look for, after all.

I had to postpone a shoot I was directing because of my condition, but I couldn't postpone it a second time because of the celeb we were featuring. So I valiantly showed up at my shoot, practically whispering instructions into my AD's ear as I tried to stay seated as much as I could.

Now our beloved hair and makeup artist is known for having a third eye. She touched me and said the words I had been longing to hear: "Direk, hindi yan sakit." So after the shoot, I immediately asked around if anyone knew a good arbularyo. Fortunately my service driver said he knew someone, so off we went to this man.

The driver had to alternately drag and support me as I hobbled to the man's house. He gave my legs an inspection and rubbed a salve over them, then told me that an angry elemental queen was the one causing the dagger-like pains in my legs. She was angry that I had ordered the tree cut down, because she and her children had been living beneath it.

I still couldn't walk properly after that first session, but the arbularyo said he would come to my house so he could deal with the situation properly. When he did, he went to where the tree used to be and said some incantations, and then he asked my kasambahay to boil some leaves, and he soaked my legs in the solution.

Believe it or not, the very next day, it was as if nothing had happened. My legs were back to normal. My skeptic BFF said it could all just have been a simple coincidence. Chopping down the tree could've released airborne spores which caused the malady, and my recovery could just have been a fluke of timing. Indeed, that may very well have been what happened.

You, of course, may draw your own conclusions.

As a post-mortem, I asked my kasambahay what had happened to the two guys who chopped the tree down. Then she said "Ay, sir, nung gabing yun, di po sila makalakad. Kaya nag-arbularyo po sila agad." I was almost livid upon this revelation because I could've been spared almost three weeks of suffering had she told me this from the start. To which she replied "Eh sir, hindi ko po alam kasi kung naniniwala kayo sa ganon." To which I retorted "Batang musmos pa lang ako, suki na kami ng mangtatawas at arbularyo! Kulang na lang maging babaylan ang nanay ko, lord!"

I had a third and last follow-up session with the arbularyo after that. Just a friendly formality, really, since I truly felt normal by this time. He had brought his young son along with him. Up in my room, my bed is surrounded on all sides by action figures. I noticed the boy looking amazed and smiling at the wealth of action figures around, then quickly noticed how his smile started to fade as he fell silent. Before they left, I asked the albularyo why his son's expression changed so suddenly. And wasn't surprised at the reply. He said, chuckling, "Nakita niya daw kasi na gumagalaw yung isang tau-tauhan ninyo."

So...yeah.

I'm still surrounded by my action figures to this day, but I have never felt anything sinister from them.

Guilbert Gilles George

 

7.

I had a patient that had a severe cervical spinal cord injury in one of the hospitals that I go to. He was comatose. Needless to say, malabo na siya mabuhay pa ng maayos. He was kept alive by machines. Anyway, yung dalawang anak niya 16- and 14-years-old lang. So, ang closest of kin of legal age ay ang kanyang kapatid na lalake, who is still in denial of his brother's poor situation at ayaw pa niya ipatanggal ang life-support machines.

One day, inabutan niyang tinatanggal na ng mga nurse ang swero at endotracheal tube at pineprepare na ang bangkay for post mortem care.

Nagsisisigaw siya. Bakit daw tinanggal ang life-support machine e kabilin bilinan niya na huwag tatanggalin. Magdedemanda daw siya.

Ang sabi ng nurses—marami sila—"Pinatanggal na po ng misis niya, sir."

"Pano nangyari yon? Eh matagal ng wala misis niya?!"

"Sir, nandito po siya kanina. Ganito po haba ng buhok, ganitong itsura. Nakasuot ng ganito ganyan, ganitong tangkad, may nunal sa baba ng ilong," they said, perfectly describing the patient's wife's looks."

"Imposible! Patay na misis niya matagal na! Five years ago pa!"

"Eh sir ito po, pumirma po siya," they say, showing him the signature of the wife.

Giancarlo Europa

 

8.

Twenty years ago at the Hyatt Regency Hotel along Roxas boulevard, which is now Midas hotel. My officemate and I went back to our room late because we were prepping for a sales convention the next day. Since we were both dead tired, we immediately fell asleep on a large king sized bed. (We were both female and the company was nagtitipid.) I distinctly remember turning off the TV and placing the remote on the side table by the couch a few feet away from the edge of the bed.

At around 3 A.M., the tv suddenly turned on. I stood up to get the remote to turn it off. After a few seconds the TV turned itself back on. I turned it off again. At this point, I could feel the bed shaking, yung tipong feeling mo may earthquake. I looked over my shoulder to see if my officemate was shaking the bed on purpose but she was sound asleep. I just dove under the covers and slept it off while the shaking continued for a few more minutes. The next day, I asked if there was an earthquake advisory but apparently there was none. I vowed to myself never to go back to that hotel ever again.

Grace Del Callar Calara

 

9.

It was during my high school quarterly exam when this happened in our old house where I’ve had multiple encounters with different entities. But this one, by far, was one of the scariest.

I share a room with my sister. We have two single beds and a side table in between to separate them. It was around 8 or 9 P.M. and I was sitting on my bed trying to memorize and study. Suddenly, I hear the door, which was perpendicular to the end of my bed, creak open slowly. After about 5 seconds, a lady in white with long hair up to the floor was floating slowly by the foot of my bed. I hurriedly pulled the covers over my head.

I tried to peep out the blanket and realized she was already standing beside my bed, her body facing me. I covered my face again.

The third time I checked, her face was two inches away from mine. Her hair was parted so that I only see her eyes which were yellow and black. Her face looked like it’s rotting and had molds on it. As soon as I blinked she disappeared and I ran downstairs to my family watching TV crying hysterically, begging them to have the house blessed the next day. No one believed me.

Chin Quijano-Bersola

 

10.

It’s true what they say about ad agencies: work always finishes early… in the morning. And that night was no different. We finally finished our OT at around 3 A.M. Everyone can’t wait to go home: computers are being turned off, bags are being packed, rides are being booked.

I make a joke about how we’re all early for tomorrow’s big presentation, wave goodbye to everyone, and make my way to our floor’s elevator lobby. The elevator arrives, the down arrow lights up. I step in and push “G” then lean on the back elevator wall because it’s late, I’m tired, and I have a long ride home.

The elevator goes up instead. All the way to the top floor which are the offices of the building administration and is empty at three in the morning.

The elevator doors open to a pitch black hallway. I see nothing but the dark.

A dark so impenetrable that the light from the elevator aren’t reflected on marble walls of the top floor’s elevator lobby.

I stare down at the lobby floor, where the light form the elevator casts a small arc of light. 

One by one, soundlessly, the tips of leather shoes pause at the edge of light cast by the elevator.

And that’s all I see. The tips of five leather shoes.

Jose Maria Tacujan