I’ve been attracted to the paranormal since young.
It all started when I was maybe five years old. My family stayed on the second floor of a shop house. We usually kept our grill metal gate shut and the wooden door that leads into the hallway open to let the breeze in.
One day, when I was about five, I was playing with the sewing machine in the living room.
I felt odd and looked out of the door.
At the end, outside the gate, was a man.
I remember his head was peeping inside, his shoulder was visible but the rest of him was hidden.
The odd thing is, it wasn’t a man. Or at least, I couldn’t see tell from his face if he was a man. Everything about him was a mass of black as if he dunked himself into black tar and walked out.
I had watched enough TV then to know that if you rub your eyes and the thing goes away, it is not real.
So I rubbed my eyes and looked out.
The thing was still there, looking inside.
I gave a loud scream.
My father, who was taking a nap, came out of the room, “What happened?”
Even at five years old, I knew that saying, “I saw a ghost!” was ridiculous (even if I really did see one).
Instead, I said, “I saw a dog.”
My father went out to the gate and looked out. I followed behind, worried Tar Man would snatch him away.
“There’s nothing,” he said.
I looked around and even on the floor. There was no sign that the man was ever there.
After that incident, I have been obsessed with learning about the paranormal. I knew there must be an explanation for that man, even if it’s an unscientific one.
I read books after books about ghosts and the different apparitions. I read about UFOs and other unidentified beings.
It wasn’t until I was much older when I came across a Malaysian/Indonesian paranormal being called Orang Minyak (Oil Man). He’s said to oil himself in black oil so he wouldn’t be caught easily after he molests women.
I’ll never know if the being I saw was Orang Minyak. But that hasn’t stopped me from visiting horribly scary places around the world.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), I’ve never encountered any paranormal beings.
The one where they bury people
I’ve visited many cemeteries during my travels. Actually, many cemeteries are so famous that they’re listed as tourist attractions.
From the Montparnasse in Paris to the Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina (where Evita Peron is laid) to the messy general cemetery in Santiago, Chile, these are tourist spots.
The atmosphere is less scary and more peaceful. As I walk among the tombstones, I wonder what sort of lives these people led. And if I were dead, would people think of such questions too?
The one where mummies are left out in the open
Another cemetery that I visited was Chauchilla Cemetery in Nasca, Peru. It’s a necropolis, a burial site far from the city.
This visit was creepier than the others. Instead of tombstones, I could see the mummified bodies of the dead displayed in pits.
Because of the burial rituals and the dry desert air, these bodies were well-preserved. I could see the long dreadlocks curled around the bodies still intact.
The one where they use bones for decoration
When I heard first heard about the Catacombs in Paris, I knew I wanted to visit. This underground resting place housed the remains of more than six million people.
The walls are decorated with the skeletons and skulls. So many bones.
I expected to feel creeped out but because of the lights and the crowd of visitors, I felt quite at peace here.
Another place I did feel creeped out was the Capuchin crypt in Rome.
The tiny hallway which had bones decorated along the walls was brightly lit but I felt chills.
It was probably because how intricately decorated the walls are that gave me such terror.
Someone spent time designing and actually stacking all these into a work of art. I’m glad I don’t have that job.
The one where doors lead to nowhere
When I had the chance to visit San Jose, I was excited to book a tour of the Winchester Mystery House.
It was a house that was supposedly haunted by many ghosts.
Sarah Winchester who married into the rifle-making family lost her child and husband in a short period. Upon consulting a medium, she was told that she had to move West and build a house for forever to appease spirits killed by the rifles.
I went during the morning so the house was more quirky than scary.
The one which might have been cursed
Kellie’s Castle in Ipoh was the home to a Scot who wanted to build a magnificent castle in tropical Malaya. When he died during a trip in Portugal, the project was never completed.