FAMILY REUNION

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 By: Lachian  Gow

My name is  Lachlan and I’m Scotland- the land of Braveheart. My wife,  Jasmine, is Filipina  and one of  our two children was born in the Philippines. You could  say that I’m modern man. My father, a Scotland Highlander,  has the ‘second slight’ of  his ancient Highland race, but I, in  contrast, have always  been totally blind to any supernatural phenomena.  My wife,  a Roman Catholic, has much more belief  in the  unseen, miraculous world.

The tale I’m about to  relate is all the  more wondrous as I witnessed these  supernatural events myself. This true story happened to my family and me in  1994 in  Sucat Paranaque .  In November of 1994, I was in  England working at my company’s head office  in London, and organizing the official UK documents  for my  family to  live  there. My wife  and infant son had moved with her parents from Pasay to a modern two-storey house  in Sucat, Paranaque. My son’s baptism was getting close and I made plans to be there.  I was  especially excited, as I haven’t  seen my son  and I wanted  his baptismal  to be special. I flew out on PAL and arrived in November. My wife met me and we rode a taxi  to Sucat . I was happy  to be with my family but I was  quite fatigued  from the trip . My wife  suddenly said. “Papa, we have  a multo (ghost in our house!”  The first thought in my tired head were, “Oh great -I’ve gotten here and  already we’ve  got ghost and ghoul  stories! I guess it’ll be an aswang next!”  My wife  told me  of nocturnal  voices  whispering her name and seeking  attention.  Her mother and younger sister her told me  of shadows and fleeting glimpses of people and also being spoken to. They said it was  a whole family- adults and children -and they often asked to eat  with my wife’s family. Everything  seemed normal  when I arrived . I settled in quickly in the room  I shared with my wife  and son.  It had  built-in  cupboards, a double bed, a baby-cot and    and oscillating  stand fan. Sitting on top of the cot was a baby ‘s exercise toy, with various rotating

parts  consisting  of rattles,  mirrors,  and other shapes.  During the  first night,  our son  slept  on our bed  next  to the wall,  my wife slept in the middle and I was  on the outside . I always  like sleeping with the lights off. I wasn’t sleepy yet since  the UK was  seven hours  behind and my  bio-clock was still  set on  British  time. It was just after midnight when the  voices started.

I heard  a Psst!” which was  repeated  several times. Then I heard, “Mina” (my wife’s name). The voices all seemed  to be from  inside the room. My eyes have adjusted to the grayishdarkness  and I saw black shapes move around the room . This was very strange but I felt  that there was  a rational explanation  that I’d work  out the next day. Meanwhile the voices continued  and only when it almost  daybreak. The next day,  I worked out a list of reasons  for the noises and shadows-noisy pipes,  insects,  wind effect,  and spiteful or mischievous neighbors. One by one logic and my investigation  wrote off each item until I was left with no logical explanation at all.  On the second night, we slept with the light on. I was reading to while  away the time  until I got sleepy. At around midnight, the voices  started  again.  “Psst, Psst, Psst” and  “Mina” again and again. I tried to concentrate  on my book, trying to ignore the sounds. After  a while I  could hear the sounds getting  louder and more insistent.  “Psst! Psst! Psst! I still didn’t look up.

All of a sudden the oscillating fan began making  a weird sound.  It had been making soothing rhythmic effects when the wind hit the baby-toy, a sort of ” chicka-chicka-chick” sound. Suddenly, the toy started rattling  continuously ” chicka-chicka-chicka-chicka-chick!” Yet the fan still moved around normally. I almost jumped out of bed  when I  heard that. I looked  up from  my reading, and the  rattling sound  returned  to normal.  Although, the voices still continued until dawn.

The next night,  my wife and I visited friends and came home just  after midnight.  As we walked  toward the house,  I glanced  at the way the streetlight illuminated  the compound, and I was  briefly  reminded  of street scenes in The Exorcist.  Back in our room, all was peaceful, We locked  the door as usual. We lay down  and did  what husbands and wives do in bed.  Afterward,  my wife slept and I read  my book. Then the voices started  again. Suddenly, I felt the  bed move- up and  down,  from  head to foot.  I looked  at my wife but she was asleep  and motionless. My son  was also  asleep.  I thought  it was an  earthquake but when I  looked at the bottle  of water  on our bedside table, I found that  it was completely still.  The bed  continued  to move  up and down,  not really shaking  but moving steady and rhythmically. I sat up  in bed,  looking at the  sheet that was  draped over my wife’s and my feet, trying to figure  out this  puzzle, I even  mused  that it was  the multo making  fun of  our earlier passionate  motions.  All of a sudden, beyond the  end of the bed, I saw  a black round  shape  start to appear in the gap between our feet, it looked  like black  hair on a small  head, perhaps  a child’s. I stared at  this vision, which rose up  then dropped  out of sight . As I stared  in amazement, the black shape  appeared again.  This time it kept rising, until  I could see  brown skin  below  the  hairline. As  it revealed  a forehead, I freaked  out and  started  shaking my wife  and shouting  at her to  wake up.  She awoke a little but she  fell  asleep again.  I sat  in bed rigidly, staring  at the where the head  had appeared, for it had disappeared  out of sight again.  How did  it get in? The door  was locked ! I thought about crawling  to the foot of  the bed to look  over the end, but I chickened  out. Instead,  I pulled my legs  towards me and  concentrated  on my book,  desperately waiting  for daylight.  The next day, I got a  sheet of paper and a pen,  and in my poor Tagalog wrote  “Pangalan mo?”  [Your name?] I then put  the paper and pen on the floor at the foot of the bed.  That night,  just before midnight, I chickened  out and took  away the paper and pen.  My wife  was asleep and I was again reading. Like  clockwork, the voices started again. I tried to  ignore them but as  if to attract my attention, a packet of Jack and Jill snacks on  the bedside table started to rustle for no  reason. The voices got louder. I couldn’t take  it anymore. In my basic  Tagalog, I demanded  that the voices  leave us alone.  I must have  been forceful,  because  the voices  suddenly stopped. After  that, no one heard  any voices at all during  the rest of my vacation.  We went  out the night  before I was to leave  for the UK. When  we got  home, locked the bedroom  door and put my  money into my wife’s  bag.  The next morning, my wife  said that she couldn’t  find the  P500 bills I had put there. All the  P500 bills had disappeared  into thin air! My wife said  it was the multo’s last  revenge for me getting  angry with them.

Before I left for the airport, I went alone  into the room and apologized to the  multos for my rudeness and bad temper. I was a little  scared for my family. I asked  the multos for forgiveness  and asked  them to return if they wished.  Once I was back  in England, I phoned the Philippines  and my wife  told me  the multo family  had indeed  returned.

Many weeks later, I was reading an article in a history magazine about events  in Manila in 1944.  During the assault by US forces to liberate the city from the Japanese,  over 100,000 Filipinos were killed,  many through Japanese atrocities and the rest in  bombing  and shelling by US  air and naval forces. Many of those  deaths occurred  in Sucat. Could it  be that our multo family  was one of those  tragically  killed by shells  and  bombs in 1944, their lives cut short  before  their time?  Could it  be that they just want  to share  smiles,  laughter, warmth,  delicious  food and  friendship with the living? I wish I knew more. Ever since then,  I have felt sad that I didn’t  try to  understand. But  maybe  it’s not too late.

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