I do. Starting with Casper.
Seriously, my good friend, Father Joy Tajonera, a Maryknoll priest who takes care of the spiritual needs of OFWs in Taiwan, told me “ghosts” are spirits. In fact, Father Joy points out that in the past, the “Holy Spirit” was referred to in prayers as the “Holy Ghost.” (i.e. “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”)
So, I suppose, ghosts exist. The likes of Casper included.
Though I have never been face to face with a ghost (and don’t wish to be!), as I grew older, I realized that ghost stories weren’t just for children.
A colleague once told me that when he was still in college, he suddenly went home to his boarding house and upon entering, greeted his landlady who was reading the day’s papers. Then he asked her for the spare key to his room, since he’d somehow misplaced his. There was nothing unusual about that till he found out later that the landlady died an hour before she gave him the spare key!
A relative, on the other hand, used to live in an apartment where neighbors would see through the curtains a lady with flowing black hair and a pair of shears in one hand. They would see her while he was at work. He just dismissed their talk, till he woke up one day with the shears on the pillow beside him!
He scooted out of the apartment in an instant, never to return.
One of the most talented photographers I know, Mau Aguasin, who not only sees the best angles in people, apparently also has a keen eye for ghosts.
“Way back in 2017, I was ministered for deliverance by a Christian pastor. This was a turning point after decades of getting used to seeing shadows, being greeted by spirits in homes I visit and dreaming of alternate worlds and flashbacks of events that I have never experienced, yet felt.
“I used to take long naps in my car when I was operating a bar in Makati City. I used to take two- to three-hour naps in my car in an open parking space under the trees in Bel-Air so I could get some quiet time and energy to make me last till the early morning. One night, I slept when the dinner service started to settle, around 8 p.m. By 10 p.m., my manager knocked on my car window and I signaled ‘Okay’ with my thumbs up. Half asleep, I prepped and retouched my makeup. I got messages that we had a guest I needed to entertain, so I rushed in. I went straight to the bar where my senior cashier and manager were talking casually by the kitchen’s dispatch window as the night slowed down. ‘Uy, thank you naman at ginising mo ako,’ I told Pau, the restaurant manager. ‘Huh, Ma’am?’ she replied. ‘Tinatanong ko pa nga lang sila kung puntahan na kita sa car mo para gisingin.’ She stared at me in astonishment. I looked at the senior cashier and manager for a few moments longer waiting for them to burst out laughing and tell me they were pulling my leg. They didn’t. ‘Nakita kita sa bintana ko, kumatok ka twice, naka-lean ka pa sa window kaya sure ako na nakita mo nag-okay ako. Nag-smile ka pa bago tumalikod,’”
“‘Ma’am wala. Kakaalis lang ng guests. Busy kanina,’” she answered.
Mau relates another incident.
“I was in the front seat of our team’s shuttle one morning in 2017. It was a sunny day and our team was headed to Batangas for a few days of fashion shoots. I needed to sleep the whole ride going to Batangas so I could shoot once we reached our location. Once everybody was comfortable in our van, I fell asleep immediately. Somewhere in Batangas on the roads heading to Anilao, I felt an impact on my head and chest that felt as if I had crashed into a wall. Realizing that I was deep in my sleep, I tried but failed to move my body to wake up. I was in a state of sleep paralysis — in broad daylight. A woman dressed in something that looked like a baro’t saya was shouting and crying hysterically in my sleep. I knew then I was in deep sleep yet I started praying, ‘You do not belong here. This is my body. I rebuke you in Jesus’ name! Anything that is not from the Lord, out! OUT!’ I felt my mouth moving yet I was still paralyzed in my sleep. I was seeing shallow waters and this spirit running, disappearing then running towards me. I woke up with eyes and body stiff from the tension of my dream. I asked the driver, ‘May dinaanan tayong creek?’ ‘Yes, Ma’am, kakalagpas lang…’ He looked at me surprised that I was awake. ‘Tapunan ng mga salvage victims yun. Ma’am, may nakita ka?’”
There are also good spirits. “When we are in deep prayers or when we are in a holy place we can feel the presence of the spirit,” says Father Joy. “The celebration of All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1 and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2 is our faith and belief in the communion of saints and our dear ones, our deceased family members. Every Mass is a prayer that one day we will all be united and no one can separate us from the love of God.” (According to Catholic online sources, “the communion of saints” more commonly means a communion of “holy ones,” both the living and the dead.)
“(But) evil spirits, bad spirits exist as well. So, we offer our prayers. We ask for blessings. We ask for exorcism,” says Father Joy.
“I have encountered several of those, especially when OFWs ask me to bless their dorms,” he continues. “You can feel the resistance and the fight between good and evil as you go from one room to another. We feel it with goose bumps or sudden cold winds. But after the blessings, people will say their dorm is a lot quieter and they are at peace.”
Father Joy shares a prayer when one is in fear, part of which goes: “Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our hearts take up thy rest; Come with thy grace and heav’nly aid, To fill the hearts which thou hast made, To fill the hearts which thou hast made.”
Banner image by Büm D. Tenorio Jr.