By Virginia G. Guzman-Manzo, MD
Do you believe in
A soul in heaven does not have any reason or desire to go
back to earth because it is totally absorbed in enjoying the beatific vision
and so engrossed in boundless happiness that nothing outside heaven
matters. A soul in hell is fully
occupied with “wailing and grinding of teeth” in the untold suffering it is
being punished with and cannot escape the fiery prison of eternal
damnation. A soul in purgatory is
suffering the process of purification and cannot be distracted from its desire
to get over the punishment in the shortest possible time because it is in a
hurry to get away from purgatory and go to heaven.
Personally, I never had any experience about ghosts. Perhaps it is because I am not one easily frightened of the dead. After going through dissection classes in anatomy where we were faced with rows and rows of dead bodies of all shapes and sizes, stiff and rigid, with hollowed eyes and checks, their skin darkened and dry, with the strong smell of formalin trying to drown the smell of dead flesh, my fear of the dead have long been past. Fear of the dead was overcome by the fear of failing in anatomy.
I will relate some ghostly encounters
from people I know personally whose integrity and state of mind I can vouch
Sometime last year, my daughter Iris
attended a spiritual retreat somewhere in Laguna. The retreat house was old but well-maintained
and situated in a lushly-wooded hill. On the second night of the retreat, Iris was awakened about 4 o’clock by
the sound coming from a bathroom shower. She thought that the occupant in the adjacent room was taking an early
bath. Then the sound of the shower
stopped and in a little while, she felt the presence of someone inside her
In the dark, she tried to see who it
was but couldn’t see anyone Then, she
felt her bed shaking and thinking there was an earthquake, she tried to get up
but the shaking stopped. She felt
someone trying to lie down very slowly on her right side. A heavy weight came pressing down on the
right half of her body. Her right arm
felt numb and hot.
Unable to go back to sleep, she took a shower, dressed up and went to the chapel until it was time for mass. She thought that no ghost would dare follow her inside the chapel. At the confessional that morning, she told the priest about her experience. The priest told her, “Don’t bother about it. Just pray for that spirit. I had the same experience myself some time ago when I was the retreat master in this same place.” Later, she was to find out that there were similar experiences by others in the past in that retreat house.
Harold and Sonia became our close friends but long before we
met them, they have experienced many eerie ghostly encounters which they
continue to experience up to the present. In 1978, when Harold was still a bachelor, his family bought an old
house in Quezon City. One early morning,
not long after they have settled, Harold’s mother was going to the kitchen to
cook breakfast when she heard footsteps coming from the garage. It was the sound of flip-flapping
We meet Harold and Sonia in 1982 when they moved to a house with their 4 young children in a Paranaque subdivision where we live. The house was an old bungalow, a few blocks from our house, which they bought from a widowed woman with two daughters. Harold and Sonia remodeled it into a bigger, 2-storey house.
floor but did not see anyone.
One late afternoon, the
housemaid was coming down the stairs and saw Lucy, the youngest daughter,
working at the computer while a man was standing behind her and looking
One day, Harold was visited
by his cousin Charlie. While they were in the music room listening to some
vintage music, Charlie saw a lady in white passed and went directly to the bathroom
adjacent to the music room. When Charlie asked about the girl, Harold asked,
One evening, the maid (not the same one mentioned above) saw
a man perched on a branch of the tree outside the window looking at her. She ran frantically to the living room and
told Harold that there was a peeping Tom at her window. Harold rushed to the
maid’s room but saw no one. Later, the
maid would claim she would occasionally feel someone looking at her through the
window. Or that she would occasionally hear heavy footsteps.
One evening, Harold and Sonia were entertaining some friends in their house. While having dinner, one of the visitors, a lady, whispered to Harold and asked if his family has experienced some spirits inside their house. Suddenly, Harold remembered this lady was known to have a “third eye” so he whispered back, “Why, do you see anyone?” She said under her breath, “Yes, there is a lady in white coming down the stairs.” Harold and the lady visitor kept quiet as they did not want to scare the others and cause panic.
One time, Sonia was doing some gardening. Her next door neighbor, Tina, was also in her garden. Through the low fence, they got into the usual conversation between neighbors until Tina mentioned that she used to be friends with the former owner of the house. Casually, Tina mentioned about the tragic life of her former neighbor and that the husband who was an Indian national committed suicide by hanging himself on the tree at the back of the house. Then Sonia felt goose bumps recalling the incident when two Indian nationals passing by their house made a comment that Sonia and her family will not stay long in their new house.
There are other ghostly encounters but too many to recount. The different members of the family seemed to have become used to them.
Whether ghost stories are true or just products of vivid imagination and heightened emotion, there is only one recourse and that is to pray for the dead. There could be restless souls in purgatory giving us a message asking for our prayers so that their purification would be shortened and they can move on to heaven. If the haunting becomes troublesome and intolerable, we can always consult our priests for possible exorcism.
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