I’ve never shared this experience to the public before. The only ones I’ve relayed it to are a couple of close friends, not because I think no one would believe me but because when I dig up this deeply repressed memory it still scares me shitless.
Let me say it now that despite the abundance of fictionalized creepy stories or online urban legends, this is a 100% true story which I 100% experienced and 100% saw with my own eyes.
I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural. As a child who loved trembling under the blanket with my friends whilst watching horror movies, I would will myself to “see” ghosts. I wanted to be that special TV character who could move objects with her mind, or communicate with the dead to help them “pass on,” or be super badass with my untapped inborn karate moves that any and all mythical monsters would cower under my glare. (Hint: none of this happened). I at least wanted to witness something paranormal so I could tell it to my friends.
Naturally I matured and over time I kept NOT seeing ghosts so I began thinking they’re probably not real then, right? I stopped being so petrified of the dark and even began being such a grown-up I could alone walk down the street at night. Besides, I had scarier things to occupy me: high school, boyfriends, homework, smoking my first cigarette, etc.
Ten years ago when I was 15 I was at my cousin’s place for a sort-of after party.
I live in the Philippines and here we have a tradition called fiesta wherein your entire neighborhood celebrates the anniversary of when it was established by the city. Houses usually prepared food and drinks and it was typical for almost anyone to come in, eat, and celebrate with you and your family. At the time, my grandparents (I’m adopted and lived with them) were out of town so our house didn’t have a celebration.
My uncle was a politician in our neighborhood. If you’re a politician here it’s the norm more people will come to your house to eat for free. So he arranged a huge gathering at his house beginning as early as 10 in the morning. Long tables of food and unlimited drinks for everyone, even strangers! My mom and stepdad came with me during lunch and we ate there. The eating lasted all day.
Finally, around 10-ish maybe all the guests had left. Since I was home alone at my grandparents’ place I decided to stay the night at my uncle’s house instead. My uncle and aunt had gone to party elsewhere, and I was left with my aunt’s sister, my cousin, and their friends.
I was sitting in their living room. To help illustrate better, it looks like this:
The entrance door is in the top middle. The living room is broken into two sections. On the right side is a table surrounded by sofas and chairs and some windows (the windows are the X boxes behind some of the sofas). On the left is some sofas and where the TV and entertainment system is. On the opposite side of the door is the hallway leading to the kitchen and main bedroom.
My aunt’s sister was in the bedroom watching a movie with my cousin’s 9-year-old brother.
At the right half of the room, I was sitting on a sofa where the red arrow. My cousin and his friends were drinking at the left half of the room with music blasting loudly. They had brought a girl with them and were drinking heavily.
Meanwhile, I had half a glass of beer while on the telephone talking to a friend, Kate, about the guy I was “dating” at the time. I was engrossed in our conversation and purposely ignored my cousins because they were really noisy and were obviously trying to get in the girl’s pants.
After some time, I happened to turn to my left and realized my cousins had left the house through the back door in the kitchen. They neglected to turn off the speakers which was why I didn’t hear them going out.
All windows in the room had closed curtains and the curtain to my right was not shut completely so I could still see a bit outside to the backyard where one of my cousin and one of his friends were smoking near the window. I continued talking to Kate. It’s amazing how teenage girls can babble on about trivial nonsense, seriously.
After around 20 minutes had passed, I checked again what my cousins were up to and noticed they were gone. At least not by the window or anywhere I could see from where I sat. Maybe they went out to party at a different house? As that thought crossed my mind, I caught a glimpse of my cousin’s back as he darted super quick past that tiny curtain gap. Like he had just walked by at the same moment I raised my eyes to the window. I only had a millisecond to see the back of his white t-shirt before he disappeared from view.
I wanted to ask him where they were going, so I said into the phone, “Hold on, Kate. One second.” I called my cousin’s name.
Still no answer.
By this time I was a little confused and a lot annoyed. “Give me another second, Kate. I’ll just go talk to Clint,” I sighed. I stood up with the phone still cradled in my ear. Kate continued to babble on about something as I uh-huh uh-huh’ed to whatever she was saying.
I can’t exactly remember what I said to Kate because this was such a long time ago and my brain is, honestly, still actively trying to erase the full memory. But I do know I was barely one step away from the sofa when I looked up and saw a woman’s tilted head staring at me through that small gap between the curtains.
What made it worse? She was smiling at me like this:
I shit you not.
Imagine someone peeping through a curtain, tilting their head so you can see them through the gap, and grinning at you menacingly.
As ridiculous as that photo is, that’s how creepy that woman fucking was looking straight at me. She had long black hair and seemed to be wearing a white dress from what little I could see. And was fucking pale. Very, very unnaturally pale. Like seriously fucking-cliché-idiom-white-as-a-sheet pale.
It was a fucking ghost. I don’t how I could be sure but I just fucking knew it was a ghost. If YOU saw it, you’d know it was a god damn ghost, too.
Suddenly my brain kicked back into gear. I thought to myself, “Wait, wait, wait. Think logically. Is this real? Maybe it’s your imagination. Maybe you’re tipsy. You drank a bit of beer. If you get scared and run away now, no one would ever believe you if you tell them you saw a ghost woman for a split second while you were drinking alcohol.”
So… what do I do? I fucking go near it.
Yep, idiotic dumbass stupid 15-year-old me decides it would be a wise idea to walk over to the window, phone still in my ear, Kate still talking assuming I was listening. I slowly walked towards it until there was only a few inches separating my face from the glass.
The woman DID NOT fucking go away or disappear or even so much as blink.
She did not move. She simply stood there absolutely motionless, head still tilted, crazy eyes still wide open staring at me, mouth still grinning menacingly.
I think I then had a panic attack or vertigo or something because it literally felt like the window and the woman’s face was zooming in closer and closer to me like that special effect thing they do in the movies. It felt like I couldn’t breathe.
When I realized this was real and it WAS HAPPENING, I fucking froze. The phone slowly fell from my hand and clattered to the floor. My head got dizzy and my entire body began to shake. I tried to scream, but no words came out. The window felt like it was inching closer. I tried to scream out my aunt’s sister’s name, but what came out was a squeaky, low-volume, “J-j-j-jen…”
My body and brain finally coordinated and somehow found the strength to turn around and “run away.” I say “run away” because I’m pretty sure my legs were quivering too much like jelly for me to even manage to jog. Everything felt like slow motion. Time felt like slow motion. My running felt like fucking slow motion.
I finally reached the bedroom, opened the door, and frantically cried, “J-jen! Jen! Jen!” with tears in my eyes.
Jen was there with my youngest cousin sitting on the floor in front of the TV. They were hugging each other and looking at me with a scared expression on their faces. I was blubbering and trying to explain what happened, but they just looked so terrified like they didn’t want to listen to me or come near me.
“Did you hear me call you???”
“No, but we heard something fall on the floor and got really startled,” Jen said.
My weak knees buckled under me and I explained what happened. She looked afraid, but said she was not shocked by what I told her. She explained to me my aunt had told her before that a maid in the house once claimed to have seen a ghost, too, matching my description. (Here we call them white lady. You can google it as Filipino folklore).
We spent the entire night scared beyond reason. We stayed in the bedroom and watched TV and waited. I think around midnight my aunt and uncle finally came home. I told them what I saw and my aunt just casually said, “Oh, that’s true. Your uncle has seen it. Even talked to it.”
“What do you mean?!”
“Well, one time your uncle fell asleep at the upstairs balcony while waiting for dinner. When he woke up he said there was a woman wearing a white dress standing in front of him. He knew it wasn’t one of us… so he asked it ‘where do you come from’ and apparently it spoke to him and said that it lives inside a mango tree in the backyard of the church behind our house. He told it to go away and leave him alone.”
I don’t know if the ghost actually listened to him, I didn’t ask. But, yes, my aunt and uncle’s house is literally right behind a church. Google map it. The church’s name is called “Bilang-Bilang Church Surigao City” though it’ll probably have a Spanish-sounding name.
Anyway, I was scared out of my mind and didn’t want to sleep alone at my grandparent’s huge house. I decided to stay in my cousin’s house until my grandparents came back from their trip. Jen, my youngest cousin, and me slept on the floor of my aunt and uncle’s room because we were so afraid. The next day, there were still some fiesta festivities.
My eldest cousin and my uncle had to judge this Battle of the Bands for the kids living in our neighborhood. We all went to the gymnasium which was full of people. Around 10 PM, my aunt, Jen, my youngest cousin and I decided we were tired so we drove home ahead of the others. It’s dark and the only light on is the one on the porch.
We’re standing there outside as my aunt fiddles for the keys in her bag. Finally, she gets the key and literally just as she is about to put the key inside the keyhole, the fucking. door. opens.
Like it literally made a creaking sound and slowly swung inwards. We froze, got silent, and looked at each other. Jen starts trembling “Ooooh myyy–” and everyone starts talking altogether and I’m like “SHUT UP! Everyone calm down!”
My aunt exclaimed, “But did you see?! I didn’t even put the key in yet! I didn’t even touch it! It just opened! You saw it!”
The key was millimeters from the keyhole when the door opened. I shit you not, all four of us saw it.
“Okay, okay, wait. Maybe it was the wind. Maybe there’s a logical explanation. Let me try it.” I reached out and grabbed the doorknob to check. Maybe it wasn’t completely locked. I jiggle it and turn it around on both sides. Locked.
My aunt swears that she is absolutely certain she locked the door properly when we left and that the door just somehow opened itself now. That door was CLOSED. CLOSED. COMPLETELY CLOSED.
We hurriedly scuttled inside and head straight for the bedroom. Five minutes later I suddenly feel overwhelmingly sick. I ran to the bathroom (which thank god is just connected to the bedroom), left the door open, got down on my hands and knees, and began to puke. I puked EVERYTHING I ate and drank that day. Then I became sick and came down with a fever.
The next day, fiesta season was over and the maids were back in the house to work after their day-offs. They told me it’s common for people to get a fever or physically sick after encountering a paranormal presence…
After this I couldn’t sleep alone in my grandparents’ house and had one of the maids sleep with me. Finally, I couldn’t put up with it so I moved in with my mom for a few months until I got over the experience. If you’ve seen that episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where the characters lose their voices and the 7 gentlemen go out and kill people… those grinning faces brought back some awful memories when I watched that episode the other day.
I’m mentally scarred for life. To this day, I am able to still vividly imagine the face of that woman like I just saw it yesterday. Sometimes I remember it during random points of the day – while doing the laundry, or driving to work, or walking by myself from the grocery – and it makes my skin crawl.
Safe to say I never slept over at my cousins’ again. The next years’ fiestas, I didn’t attend. And since their houses are right next to each other in a boxed-in compound I stopped visiting my aunts and uncles especially at night or alone.
That fever I got lasted a day or two, but until now, every time I’m alone, I make sure all the windows’ curtains are completely fucking closed…
Thanks for listening to my story.