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Have you ever seen a ghost?

By JOANNE RAE M. RAMIREZ, The Philippine STAR Published Oct 29, 2021 5:00 am

I have not, and I don’t wish to. ButI have dreamt of people who have gone ahead of me, and they seemed very much alive in my dreams. I am pretty sure they are all just in my dreams…

On Sunday night, many will be celebrating Halloween night, a time-honored tradition that, despite its Christian origins, is synonymous with ghosts, ghouls, witches and pumpkins!

There is no other time in the year associated so much with ghosts and paying respect to the departed as the days (and nights) leading up to All Saints’ Day.

Online sources say “Halloween” is linked to the Christian festival of “All Hallows” or “All Saints,” which is celebrated on Nov.1. This is traditionally a day when the Church remembers with joy the lives of the saints and martyrs, and we, our departed loved ones.

According to Halloween folklore, spirits of the dead would roam the earth until All Saints’ Day, and on Halloween, they would take their last chance to have their revenge on people they disliked. That is reportedly why people would dress up, so the spirits would not recognize them. That is perhaps the origin of the costumes children wear when they go out for “Trick or Treat.”

Halloween, despite its Christian origins, is synonymous with ghosts, ghouls, witches and pumpkins.

Fr.Dave Concepcion, parish priest of the Sta. Maria Goretti parish in Paco, Manila, tells us the Scriptures validate the “reality” of ghosts:

“Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Luke 24:39

“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.”Matthew 14:26

Should we be scared if we see ghosts?

“Some people claim that the idea of ghosts as spirits that cannot pass over into the next life because of unfinished business is an outdated one that has parallels in early medieval Catholic sources. Usually, in such sources, the ghost has committed some offense that has not been atoned for, or committed some sin that restitution needs to be made for. The ghost is unable to rest until that has been done,” shares Fr. Dave, who has also led many pilgrimages to the Holy Land prior to the pandemic.

So, if we think we have seen a ghost, what should we do aside from running away in fright? “Pray for the repose of their souls,” he replies.

Fr. Dave, a licensed mechanical engineer, entered the priesthood late. It took a miracle for him to truly see the light of his calling.

During a pilgrimage in 2019 that I was blessed to be part of, he shared this story.

Stabbed five times in the University Belt in Manila in his younger years, he bled on the streets with no one stopping to help him. Somehow, he managed to drag himself to the FEU Hospital, where emergency surgery was performed on him. His doctor,Roman Cruz, told Dave the knife wound in his side missed his lungs by a hairline.

When he returned to FEU with some to pay the doctor, the hospital told him there was no record of a patient by the name of David Tampus Concepcion (Fr. Dave’s full name), nor a doctor by the name of Roman Cruz.

Unable to pay for his medical bills, his family asked if the hospital would accept a promissory note. According to Fr. Dave, the doctor agreed but quipped he would not take the stitches out if they didn’t pay him by that time.

Fr. Dave recalls that one day, his healing wounds were so unbearably itchy that even though he wasn’t ready with the doctor’s professional fee, he returned to FEU. Perhaps, another kind doctor would take the stitches out of his wounds. But who should he bump into in the hospital lobby but Dr. Cruz himself?

“Come with me,” Dr. Cruz told him. Dr. Cruz then brought Dave to his clinic behind the hospital and took out the stitches. He also told Dave that the social welfare department had approved his eligibility as a charity patient. So, no hospital fees necessary. He then gave Dave 25 centavos to buy Band-Aids to eventually replace the dressing on his healing wounds.

When Dave returned to FEU when he was finally able to raise some money to pay the doctor, the hospital’s administration told him there was no record of a patient by the name of David Tampus Concepcion (Fr. Dave’s full name), nor a doctor by the name of Roman Cruz.

So, was Dr. Roman Cruz a ghost, a friendly ghost sent from above to save the young David Concepcion?

“I don’t think so,” says Fr. Dave. “Because he had flesh and bones.”

So who was he?

“That is the mystery,” Fr. Dave concludes.

(When he was already a priest, Dave Concepcion returned to FEU to give his testimony of his healing in the hospital. And his mysterious healer.)

Ghost sightings

Two ghost sightings narrated to me have the “ghosts” in traditional Filipino wear. Could it be because, when most people are buried, they are dressed in all their finery, in a baro’t sayafor women and abarong Tagalogfor men?

Though her entire body seemed blurry, the image showed that she was wearing a baro’t saya. Minutes later, I felt some chills and developed a fever. I ended up praying and immediately deleted the photo from my phone.

Top public relations executiveHarold Geronimobelieves in ghosts because he has seen at least one.

“I was in Iloilo in 2014 for a business trip. We were passing by this street from La Paz to Jaro when I noticed this big wooden house with its windows open. I was holding my phone so I told the driver to slow down so I could take a photo. After taking a shot, I immediately checked it. I zoomed into the photo, and felt so unusual when I saw an image of a woman with very long hair flowing down to her knees, her face only showing shadows of the eyes and mouth.

There is no other time in the year associated so much with ghosts than the days (and nights) leading up to Halloween.

“Though her entire body seemed blurry, the image showed that she was wearing a baro’t saya.Minutes later, I felt some chills and developed a fever. I ended up praying and immediately deleted the photo from my phone. Every time I pass by that area, I avoid looking at the house…”

My cousinGilliansays she has never seen a ghost but believes ghosts exist because her husbandDindohas seen one.

“We were just dating and when he was taking me back home, in the Fort Bonifacio area, he said, ‘Kakatakot dito...’ (It is scary here.) The street was not well lit. The following day, he told me he saw a man in abarong Tagalogseated at the back seat of the car!”

Gillian was told that it was probably because Fort Bonifacio was once entirely a military camp, where political prisoners were incarcerated, and probably died during their incarceration, or possibly even before.

As Fr. Dave says, the best thing to do when you think you’ve seen a ghost is to pray for his soul.

In the meantime, Happy Halloween!Boo! *