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Royalties in Europe live in places that appear majestic. But will we believe in spiritual entities having their own palaces? We will soon find out. My paternal relatives came from Tacloban, Leyte. There they grew up running a prosperous family business-a store. For many, their success was due to hard work. However, a family secret was revealed to me a few weeks ago. My aunt said that they believe that a family of engkantos lived inside their three-story house built in 1950. They were believed to have lived on the third floor of the house, making the floor their own domain, their palace. Manifestations of their presence were felt throughout my aunt’s and her siblings’ childhood years. According to my aunt, this family of engkanto also had eight children like them ( my aunt has seven siblings, including my father). The engkanto kids liked to show themselves in the afternoon when the children of the house would arrive from school.
One night, my father suddenly jolted from sleep by the cold feel of the floor. When he opened his eyes, he was shocked to find himself lying on the floor outside his bedroom when he was so sure that he slept inside the room! When he tried to go inside his room, he found that the door was locked. He was so scared and mustered enough courage to crawl and started pounding at the door of the room of his mother which was beside his room, His mother was also surprised to see his son crouched on the floor and crying. He relayed the story to his mother. His mother checked the room and also found it locked. In the morning, they even needed a spare key to open the room of my father. The rest of her siblings also had their own encounters with the engkanto kids but none of them was hurt.
But some pranks became fatal. One early morning, one of their maids woke early to cook breakfast for the family. As she coming down the stairs, she noticed someone sitting on a sofa in the dark. She was puzzled by this because she knew that she was always the first one up every morning. When she went to turn on the lights, the man on the sofa suddenly disappeared. She was frightened but shrugged off the experience. But it was not to be her last encounter with the engkantos. The following months were very scary for her. She would start to have dreams of a man courting her, bringing her flowers, giving her a car, and bringing her to a beautiful garden The following weeks, she experienced being possessed by the man in her dreams. The other maids would see her running and screaming wildly throughout the house at the middle of the night. When they would try to stop her, she would fight back, displaying supernatural strength. She would also talk in a man’s voice. After a few days, the maid became weak. She would always atare blankly from the window.
One day, she was just found dead inside her room with her eyes wide open! And the weird things was her legs were not equal in length! One leg appeared shorter than the other. My lolo (their employer) decided to call an albularyo and ispiritista to help stop those weird incidents inside the house. That was when they found out that they had other inhabitants inside the house. That there was a family of engkanto living also inside the house but they were the good kind. This was the reason they had a flourishing business and they shouldn’t be afraid because the engkanto kids just wanted to play with my aunts and uncles and my father. The ispiritista also said that there was a palace above the house where the engkantos lives. But there were also other spirits inside the house that were bothering them.
He explained that a bad spirit liked their maid and took her away, that’s why she died mysteriously . He also explained why her legs were not equal in length. He said that the body of the maid was taken by the spirit and that the body they found was only a branch of a banana tree. It was one of the powers of the bad spirits- the power to deceive human beings. The albularyo performed rituals to calm the house. Soon enough, the apparitions stopped. After a few years, my lolo died and my lola and her children had to move out from the family house because the business was not doing good anymore. They moved in to an old two-story house with big trees surrounding it. They had long forgotten the ghostly experiences they had. But soon enough, the sightings started to happen again. They believed that the family of the engkantos followed them to their new house. They would still hear and see these entities inside the house. But it no longer bothered them. During the 1990s, when all of the children of my lola moved to Manila, my lola was forced to stay alone in the old house.
My lola who was a brave woman, wasn’t scared of ghosts but what happened one night made her change her mind. She went to her room at about 10 o’clock in the evening. She usually sleeps at this hour and wakes up at 3 a.m. to pray the rosary. But at this particular night, she couldn’t sleep. She suddenly heard footsteps coming up the stairs. They were so heavy that the footsteps she heard made a creaking noise. At first, she thought it was a burglar. she then sat up straight in the corner of her bed and grabbed her rosary. She was listening intently to the footsteps. To her surprise, the footsteps stopped just outside her room’s door. At this point, my lola already wanted to scream but she kept quiet for fear that whoever it was outside her door would barge in and hurt her. The she saw the shadow outside her room move. The person outside her door seemed to be sitting now, as if guarding her from the outside. My lola couldn’t do anything. She prayed so hard that she was awake the whole night.
When dusk came, she opened her window and screamed for help at her neighbor who was a family friend. She asker her to look if the front gate was open because she believes that a burglar entered the house. Her neighbor checked the gate but saw that it was locked. My lola was still hesitant to come out of her room. When she finally came out of her room, she saw that no one was outside. She was all alone. All the doors were locked and there was nothing missing. She decided to move to Manila a week after the incident.