Spooky centralScroll Down
In the mood for a scare? Here are five urban legends and IRL stories to read when the lights go out.
Illustrations by IVAN GRASPARIN
We all love a good horror story. As Filipinos, our dedication to the genre rivals that of our adoration for rom-coms. Case in point: there’s never a shortage of nightmare-inducing terror flicks in our annual film festivals.
And because it’s Halloween, we compiled five stories to scare the heebie-jeebies outta yourself, from urban legends to first-hand, IRL experiences. Boo!
Child on the edge
This is an urban legend set to have happened in the early '90s. In the '90s, there were no proper roads on the way to cold tourist locations such as Baguio and Tagaytay.
They seemed like the perfect couple—young and absolutely good looking, smart, rich, successful and loved by everyone. However, they had difficulty getting pregnant. Two, five, seven years passed and still, the couple remained childless no matter how hard they tried.
Finally, one day, the couple discovered that the woman was with child. Husband and wife were over the moon, and vowed to give the best life to their kid, whom they were sure would take on their best qualities.
However, as their baby boy grew into a child, the new parents quickly discovered that their kid was nothing like them: he was ugly, had difficulty in school, was timid, weak and difficult.
For successful parents who waited so long for a child, they secretly felt frustrated that their child was not the delightful "rainbow child" they had imagined. In fact, due to their long wait and the struggles of new parenthood, having this son felt more like a burden to them.
During their son's seventh birthday, the family of three went on vacation—a long drive to Baguio. On their way, while on the ascending zigzag roads that led to Baguio City, their seven year-old son asked if he could pee.
Irritated and tired, the couple had no choice but to stop their car at the side of the road and let their son pee, right by the cliffside.
It was at that moment that the couple knew this was their chance. Their much-awaited child was nothing like who they wanted, and the couple found themselves missing their old lives because of the challenges of raising their difficult son.
So while the boy had his back turned to them, the couple—equal parts guilty and excited—pushed their own son off the cliff.
Very quickly, the couple went back to their old lives, thriving just as they did before. Naturally, they never told anyone about what truly happened to their son, telling everyone that he died from a sudden illness.
A few years later, the couple were blessed with a son once again, and unlike their first, this one turned out to be everything they hoped and wished for: good looking, intelligent, sweet, lovable and active. Like a mini-version of his parents, the boy made their lives better and full of love.
Because of this, the couple believed that they had been forgiven for what they did to their first son, and tried hard to forget about their dark past, making their second son believe that he was their first and only son whom they loved so much.
On this son's seventh birthday, the family decided to go on vacation—a long drive up to Tagaytay. On their way, while on the ascending roads that led to Tagaytay City (there were no highways then), their seven year-old son asked if he could pee.
With no choice, the couple decided to stop their car at the side of the road and let their kid do his business there. The parents accompanied their son near the cliff, helped him take off his bottoms, and faced his back to them so he could pee facing the cliff.
Just before he did, the young boy turned his head around, looked at his parents, blinked once, and quietly asked: "Mom, Dad, will you push me down again?"
The devil’s hand
“When I was in Grade 4 in Tarlac, there was one time I got left behind after school because my sundo was late. There were three other girls: two who rode the same school bus, and another one whose parents owned the school so they really usually went home late.
The school, at the time, was one of the newer schools in the city, and wasn’t scary looking at all—a white block of a building with green gates and a smattering of green accents. The scariest thing about it, I suppose, is that it was situated on a hill surrounded by nature—tall grass, a couple of trees, and a lot of silence.
Since there was almost no one else in the school, they wanted to go ghost hunting. As a scaredy-cat, I didn’t go with them.
About half an hour later, I saw the three of them in the lobby, running to the clinic. I was curious so I went with them this time. They were all crying because one hands of one of them became “possessed” and she had started strangling one of the other girls. She was freaking out but she hand no control over her hand, she said.
The other girl had to pry the hand off, and she pulled so hard that they fell onto the pebbled ground in the school’s garden. Some of the pebbles dug into the hand of the “possessed” girl, and that’s what they ran into the clinic for — I saw the nurse tweezing out the pebbles from the girl’s bloody hand.” — Mags Ocampo, creative director
“My mom has been sensitive to paranormal activity ever since she was a child so she actually has tons of spooky stories. Her father passed unexpectedly when she was 2 years old, so as a child she remembers being confused about his death since she would still see him around.
My mom experienced a lot of paranormal things happen in her office since she often had to stay overtime by herself. She used to occupy one of the smaller cubicles, and since the layout of their office was pretty open, it was easy to see and hear what was going on around the floor.
The first incident was the one with the swiveling chairs. She first heard one of the chairs from one of the conference rooms start to move as if someone was cleaning up but at first she thought none of it.
Then all of a sudden, she heard the chair from one of the cubicles at the far end of the room swivel. After that, the chairs in the different cubicles started to move one after the other (she said that it was as if she was watching a movie with surround sound). When it came to the chair behind her, that was when she decided to pack up and leave.
The next one happened in the women’s bathroom. My mom was washing her hands when she heard someone call her name. She turned around to answer thinking it was one of her coworkers, but then she saw that none of the cubicles were occupied. She was alone in the bathroom all along.
In the third incident, she saw a dark man sneak up from behind her and and almost pressed his face against hers. From her peripherals, she saw that the man was grinning and was dark from head to toe.
Thinking it was one of her colleagues playing a prank on her, she turned around only to see no one there. Again, she was completely alone in the office. That was the last time she ever stayed in that building past 9PM.
The next one happened in the main office building after my mom moved to the HR department. By this time, she was already occupying one of the larger cubicles. The wall she shared with the two cubicles beside her were padded dividers that would move slightly if you pushed them.
She was making chika and being loud with a coworker on the phone since, again, no one was around the office anymore. And she thought she was in the clear since she was in a whole different building already.
Then all of a sudden, she hears someone (or something) hit the divider next to her three times as if telling her to tone it down. In another incident, she heard the phone in the office next to her try to call someone on loudspeaker.” — Sam Ganzon, illustrator
Two guys, one ghost
“The incident takes place at a well-known beach resort in Bataan. It's a pretty beautiful place and for a while, this was our annual Holy Week getaway. You have these rows of well-furnished hotel rooms facing an open field of lush green grass and tall trees.
Not too many steps away from that, there's a white sand beach with little tents and day beds. That's what made it so jarring. When you think about scary stories, you kind of have this preconceived notion of an old, spooky, eerie building. Not this one.
We had gone there one Holy Week, so this was either Good Friday or Black Saturday. We had all just finished hanging around by the beach so we all headed back to rest before dinner.
My two family friends —both guys—went up to take a nap in their unit, which was in another building in the resort. They were staying in a bigger room with a ground floor and a loft, both of the guys slept in separate beds but both took their naps soon after going to the room.
I'd say this happened at somewhere from about 5 to 6 p.m., just as the sun was starting to go down. When one of our friends came down for dinner, he started telling us that someone "visited" him in his room.
Sometime during his nap, when he was in that gray area between sleep and awareness, he could feel this presence and he thought someone was walking by the bed. He had that feeling we all have when we have hotel roommates, the one where you sense that they're probably just standing behind you fixing their things.
His dream continued, though, and instead of his roommate, he saw a girl he had never seen before in his life. She had fair skin, long hair, and she was wearing black. She was standing over him, crying and asking him, ‘help me, please.’
My friend didn't know who she was or what he wanted, but he could feel his body getting cold and tensing up as she started to reach for him. Right before she could touch him, he woke up, nervous and sweating, but also relieved that it was over. His roommate was probably messing with him in his sleep, but he turned around to see his roommate still sleeping.
In the middle of him telling us he doesn't want to stay there anymore, his roommate, who had also just joined us for dinner had a strange look on his face because he had the exact same dream. He also saw that girl, standing over him, waiting for him to wake up, asking him to ‘help me, please.’
We've gone back to the beach club since then, but none of us ever stayed at that building ever again.” — David Tan, musician
A friendly (and scary) jogger
“I first heard about this story in college. It's the kind of scary story that goes around in org rooms or smoking areas—places where people gather. I can't remember how we got to that story in the conversation but I don't think we were even talking about jogging. Some scary stories just come up unprompted.
The story goes like this: let's say you're jogging in the ADMU campus at night. The story doesn't specify how late at night you have to be jogging for paranormal activity to happen, but there's a chance you might come across a fellow jogger running the opposite way, so towards you.
They'll say hi and wave. You have to wave back. If you don't wave back, and just pass them, you'll come across the same jogger on your route again, but without a head.
I mean, they won't do anything to you, but still.
Years ago, I used to jog on campus quite a bit, but thankfully I've never experienced this. I don't personally know anyone who has, but that's how scary stories travel right? They get around so far and so fast that it becomes difficult to trace the original source.
ADMU at night isn't inherently spooky (lamp posts keep the campus from being totally pitch), but some spots on campus are eerie. We've got, like, a pathway near the School of Management that cuts through a moderately dense forest.
And of course there are the chapels. which are just creepy to begin with. The story (or at least, the version I heard) doesn't specify the route you have to take to encounter the ghost, but I always imagine it taking place where there are many trees, or near a supposedly holy space.
So weird. Why do you need to exercise, ghost? You're dead!” — Jam Pascual, writer and musician